I think we just killed offshoring!

How do you think a team in Chennai feels when they are constantly referred to as ‘offshore’ by colleagues in Sydney? If you were in that team, would you feel that you had an equal voice and permission to contribute with new thoughts and ideas? Our talk tells the story of how the ‘walls’ between teams working across many miles and cultures were broken down to the extent that concepts like ‘onshore’, ‘offshore’, ‘client’ and ‘customer’ became things of the past replaced by a team of humans deeply connected by a vison and purpose to feel safe to bring their best selves and contributions to the team regardless of location or company. By the end of the session you will better understand the why and the how of our story and three key practical takeaways to a more successful distributed agile partnership

 
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Outline/Structure of the Case Study

0-5mins : Hook – we start with an interactive exercise on stage using the audience where people understand the importance of being able to see each other face to face rather than just over the phone. It’s fun and gets people connected with the topic.

5-30 mins: The Story

The actors in our story are Sam who leads the Agility Practice for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and Siva who leads the Agile Implementation in HCL-CBA Chennai. The story is broken down into three components, why we did it, how we did it and what did we learn that others can benefit from.

The Why: We set the scene and introduce the characters in the story, and talk about the problem we were faced with. CBA has been offshoring for many years yet the only person to visit India regularly had been the auditor and there was a feeling that there was more value to get from the teams in Chennai. HCL had become order takers and ‘yes’ people, and they didn’t feel at all on a equal footing with colleagues in Australia and didn’t feel they had a right to contribute beyond the delivery of what was asked

The How: We start with the catalyst, Sam’s initial visit in Oct 2017 and tell amusing stories from weeks of wasted powerpoint prep at the start to the first ever game of cricket on the HCL campus on the day Sam left! This moves on telling the stories of how many team members travelled from Chennai to Sydney and from Sydney to Chennai for short periods of time and how the relationships built up and the walls between us started to break down. Using photos and story telling we bring to life the 12 months, the impact on us all as people and companies and we share how we are working together now with the amazing change in behaviour from the team members previously known as ‘offshore’ now called our colleagues from the Chennai office.

What we Learned: We chunk the learnings into 3 big areas and give some more detail behind each so people walk away with some practical tips they can use. The three areas are 1. Connecting as humans 2. Opening a safe space 3. Delivering value together.

30-40 mins: Q&A

Following any general curious Q&A, we will ask the audience to share stories around distributed agile partnerships and things they have done to overcome similar challenges

40-45 mins : Wrap

To wrap the session we will summarise the 3 key learnings again to re-inforce them before closing the case study

Learning Outcome

The key learning outcome is some practical tips on how to improve your distributed agile partnerships and overcome the many challenges of both distance and culture

Target Audience

Anyone working in distributed Agile teams, and leaders of these teams

Prerequisites for Attendees

Nice to have rather than essential: an understanding of the basic set up of arrangements that typically exist between large Indian outsourcers and clients

schedule Submitted 7 months ago

Public Feedback

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  • Tathagat Varma
    By Tathagat Varma  ~  6 months ago
    reply Reply

    Sam, Siva - this has to be probably the most common scenario given the high number of offshore teams in India. So, I would expect most people to be intimately aware the issues, and must have figured out multiple ways to address them. What is unique in your situation, and what is the novelty in your solution that could be used as a learning point(s) by the audience?

    • Sam Bowtell
      By Sam Bowtell  ~  6 months ago
      reply Reply

      Yes, agreed that this is a common scenario with lot of offshoring that has happened. Most of these transformation exercises focus on implementing agile as a process between client and vendor. When it comes to bringing agility in our environment the focus was to achieve true connections and deep relationships between individuals across physical boundaries. This involved a major mind-set & culture change from HCL and CBA to break the multiple walls that needed to be broken through together.

      Some paradigms that we shifted were the concepts of customer-vendor (now colleagues and friends).  onsite-offshore (now Sydney office and Chennai office), delivery-coaches (now combined coaching and training strategies). Over and above the face-to-face connects and frequent travels that were employed, unique techniques like gamified learning methods, agile leadership mindset coaching for HCL and CBA, guild set-up covering coaches from CBA and HCL, inception workshops happening in Chennai with all key stakeholders including POs and Business Sponsors travelling to Chennai for a couple of weeks were some of the unique aspects that we would talk about and we believe these would immensely benefit the audience in their engagements and models.