Monday, January 05, 2004

In this article (linked from /.) Outsourcing Programmers is Bad Strategy for Software Companies, Michael Bean argues that "the offshoring fad is bad for companies not because of the short-term programmer layoffs but because technology companies will lose their capacity to innovate."

Whilst I like chocolates, I'm not sure quite what this piece tries to say. I'd say that there's a more over-reaching trade-off that gets touched upon, between quality/innovation, and mass-production. But, as Phil points out, some barriers that exist today with regards to off-shoring may well not exist in the future, as advances in communications and educational/working methodologies make labour location less and less important.

From this, I'd say that the point the article misses is that off-shoring doesn't necessarily lead to lack of innovation - that's quite possible by simply having a company consisting entirely of under-imaginative and/or under-skilled drones that only know how to pump out code in a particular way. Innovation is much more than simply location and resource management.

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