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IT Outsourcing

Powering up our software information system


I just returned from a 2 weeks trip to our Hanoi office with Iulia, the head of the software team of our IS department, where we established a new development team for the Pentalog information system. Frederic has already discussed this project in past blogs, I would like to give you a few extra details.We have reached the third stage in the cycle of our information system. For each of these steps we PRIORITIZE the means & resources as follows:1. Implementation: Infrastructure, Applications, and Service2. Development: Applications, Infrastructure, and Service3. Maturity: Services, Applications, and InfrastructureThis translates in fact into the following:• The establishment of a more detailed data collection service that the ISD will put at the disposial of its users.• Better communication services through newsletters.• Paying more attention to our users by adding new communication channels including satisfaction surveys (4 per year).• The establishment of skilled professional committees dedicated to monitoring internal projects and a strategic steering committee.• The deployment of a permanent team for software department.We arrived at this information system, first with temporary resources (bench time, incubator…). Only maintenance and the software helpdesk were given permanent resources. With our continued growth and the opportunities it has brought, it was time to improve and professionalize the software department. Since this summer and with the confirmation of Iulia to this position we launched this project to establish a development team in our Hanoi branch.In 2010 the team with will have gone through 3 stages of development. We finished the first stage with the deployment of a team composed of:- Cuang, the team leader- Hieu, the .Net developer- Nhu, the tester- Quang, the PHP developer- Yoann, the BPM developerEventually the team will need to increase to 10 or more people in order to meet our growing needs for our internal / external communication tools, tools related to management (production, finance) and our production (improvement of the eco-system of the development environment). The help-desk software, business intelligence cell and management will remain in Europe.The direct consequence of this change is the working language will pass from French to English. So gradually the content of our documents, in the wikis and other tools will gradually switch to English. However, Yoann will represent the French speaking people in this team.As with all outsourcing projects, we dedicated these past 2 weeks in Hanoi training the team in our practices, needs and their evaluation. After a few days back home, I must confess that I am not disappointed with the way it was conducted nor the level of the people we recruited. Through Cuong, Hieu Nhu Quang and Yoann, we have a solid foundation which will enable us maintain the right balance between the ISD and the company’s objectives.It is with all the experience that we have gained in past projects for our clients that we can now deploy this project. The pitfalls are well known:• Communication: it exists through technical discussions, weekly follow-up meetings and a monthly steering committee.• Proximity Management: Cuong, the team leader is responsible for meeting the demands and the quality deliveries and improving team performance.• Human relations: we repeat this constantly to our customers, that these relationships are essential in order to maintain the team cohesion in the project despite the distance. Three or four times a year, Iulia and / or I will make on-site visits for an update of ongoing projects and new projects. It will also be necessary to maintain better visibility in the future.• Mastering start-ups: everything that can be deployed at the beginning of the project will help development further down the road. So we deployed from the beginning, our development processes and maintenance (those applicable to the customers and certified ISO 9001-2008).• Precise Methodology: our recent successes in the deployment of the agile method encouraged us to implement this methodology for this team. This will allow us to have a faster understanding of their needs.• Monitoring individual performance: we are building a basic work unit for our technological environment. Producers and managers thus will have a benchmark to measure performance and the progress of everyone.The recruitment for the second phase has already begun and it will be completed at the end of December. After the integration of these newcomers, we will begin the third phase after the Tet festival (feast & traditional family event, which is much awaited). Obviously, these recruitments have been orchestrated by People-Centric from their Hanoi branch. The process also worked there, and the results are there to prove it.We could not complete this project without sharing a friendly dinner together. So we went to the “Highway 4 (exotic specialty restaurant) instead of the snake restaurant (Iulia promised to go there next time). We really had a good time around dishes of grasshoppers, shrimp and other delicious exotic dishes.This team, under the responsibility of Iulia already knows that its production will help support the company in regards to meeting its objectives. The challenge is enormous but accessible!

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