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Outsource - Russia

So I decided to share the article, the original of which I published on my blog right here ...
- To begin with, the usual warning: I do not pretend to the ultimate truth and what I am saying is based only on my personal experience. Surely in Russia and the CIS there are firms that recruit other people and work quite differently than those with whom I happened to encounter. In order not to go far, I will cite as an example a company headed by my research supervisor at the university, Professor Andrey Nikolayevich Terekhov. Now he heads a completely successful firm specializing in the implementation of software projects for the order, including a fair share of offshore projects from Western customers. So, I am sure that he has got everything exactly as it should be and the guys are correct and everything is fine. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to work with his company, but with those I’ve been working with, they worked like this ...

Individual Contractors

I will begin with the impressions of working with individual contractors - what is called “free spear”, “freelancers”. I had to work with both Russian and US individual contractors, and I have to admit that American ones are also not honey. Let's say. with them, too, happens to be gone for a week, and then to make excuses with medium confidence. Of course, at the same time, not a single American contractor went to hard drinking for a month. And not a single American contractor began to cooperate with the assumption that I was going to throw him, and did not finish with the conviction that I was a sucker and a moron.
It may seem incredible, but American contractors usually know how to do what they undertake. And this concerns not only the development of software, but also other activities, such as graphics or text editing. And if the American contractor is not a “star” in his profession, he is fully aware of this. And at the same time, still able to do the work. Once I had to work with an American contractor who edited my book. Yes. He did not work before as an editor of newspapers and magazines. He graduated from the liberal arts college plus some additional courses, plus being a natural American, he completely owned his native movo from birth, plus he wrote writing little by little, and editing was just a way for him to earn extra money. He did not puff out his cheeks, didn’t bother me with how cool he was, and he was quite happy that his pay wasn’t as high as that of a pro with a long track record and reputation. And I was completely satisfied that he was not clever and did not try to rewrite the book for the author, but simply conscientiously cleaned the unfortunate-sounding places. He honestly did his job, I honestly paid off and wrote brilliant recommendations to him, after which we disagreed with the result.

I promised to tell something about what the Russian contractors are doing, and in exchange, they began to talk about what the American do not do ... Did you find this strange, or did you understand everything?


Well, okay with them, with individuals ... And how does it work with Russian and CIS software companies?

Once again, I’m not trying to make generalizations about the entire software business in Russia, I’m only talking about my own experience. So make a correction. So, based on this very experience, my feeling is that the main problem of software development in Russia and the CIS is ... fundamentalism. No, no, not religious, although, of course, how to say. Very many programmers in Russia have a really good basic education, including in computer science. And this is undoubtedly wonderful, unless it turns into a religious fad.

The Russian programmer is ready to lick the database schema for days, explaining to you why you are a complete idiot in this matter, even if the entire system has ten users and you have a deep database performance. The Russian designer will diligently take the time to make the anti-aliasing of the pictures on the screen better than if they did it in Adobe, even if the picture was displayed with Ostap's lecherous hand and should be replaced in two weeks. The Russian programmer always writes the sorting himself, and then debugs and optimizes it long and tediously. A customer who does not understand why it is needed is just an idiot. The Russian programmer always knows what the customer needs better than the customer himself. Because he, the Russian programmer, is smart, and the customer - see above. And forget the user interface, which requires two Ph.D. in non-adjacent fields of higher mathematics and nuclear physics, this is, of course, cool. And the user - he is also an idiot, he will interrupt.

On the other hand, routine testing of a Russian programmer is simply “zapadlo”, even before the delivery of the project. In the end, the customer himself knows what he wants, so let him check! And if the Russian programmer cursor jumps from the first field immediately into the third, bypassing the second, then it is generally not clear what is there to worry about. And the mouse on that ??? In general, when you report this defect for the first time, you are not read at all. And if they are reading, they pretend that you simply have not noticed such discomfiture. If you continue to insist, the Russian programmer raises his eyebrows in surprise and continues to play his bagpipes. And in general, such trifles as missing minor functions or inconsistency with the specifications of a Russian programmer are of little concern.

By the way, let me make a hypothesis about one of the reasons for the shortage in the field of testing and project management. During my visits to Russia, I had the feeling - correct, if I am wrong - that the computer book publishing industry in Russia has pretty much become numb. There is a very small number of publishing houses that have practically captured the market, which are themselves controlled by people with some fixed and fairly academic views on the development of software. I had to meet people who believed that project management is UML, and testing should be automatically generated from this very UML. I realize how crooked it sounds, but they really did say something like that. And it seems that such people have authority in computer publishing environment. So, for example, when my wife published a book on testing here in America, we didn’t even try to offer it to Russian publishers, because none of them would likely take up translation and publication, even though nothing like on the Russian shelves, I have not seen.

In fact, many people write about this, and many of these observations criticize, as if the eye’s criticism will begin to see something else ..., but few are trying to understand the root cause of such problems. Personally, it seems to me that at the root of most of these problems lies what I jokingly called "fundamentalism", and in more strict terms is the fundamental difference in the value system of American customers and Russian performers.

The customer wants a product that will meet the needs of users, which will be sold. The customer will still do the product “according to science” or not, he just needs him to do it. This is what the customer pays money for.

The Russian artist, on the other hand, is trying to engage in art and “create a nettle”. It seems that the general view of things is that working for money is generally unworthy, even stealing is even more noble. Therefore, the Russian performer creates the "eternal" and works for glory, and the money to him is so glorious, just by concepts, and so must. And those who do not understand this are just idiots.

Such a fundamental difference in the value system leads to the fact that there are many artists and few masters in Russia, at least in the development of software. I myself do not understand how in the impoverished post-perestroika Russia there is an oasis of such a “Robin-Goode” attitude to work. It is possible that the reason for this is a serious shortage of programmers. It is possible that it is connected with the fact that many sensible programmers simply leave for the West, where they are quickly taught to create the eternal in their free time (like, for example, I now do sitting in a bookstore with coffee and a laptop), after which the Russian programmer is indeed superior to both the Chinese, and the Indian, and the American programmer, often combined. Due to what he acquires a good salary, a house, a couple of cars, and in Russia he is one less programmer of a draft age. By the way, I suspect that the draft age is also present in this equation.

In general, if we sum up, the main problems of software development in Russia in my experience and my observations are as follows:

- Lack of business focus, lack of interest, attention and experience in important areas that are not in the “fundamental” circle, such as platform stability, intuitiveness and usability, just attention to detail.

- Weak experience, training and testing culture, Quality Assurance and Quality Engineering. No, honestly, is it really so difficult to check it yourself before joining a customer?

- Weak culture of IT / software development management. It is, of course, great when the industry is filled with bright outstanding personalities, but there are clearly not enough managers capable of coping with these bright outstanding personalities. By the way. This part of the problem has recently begun to noticeably improve, although it is still far from perfect.

In fact, nothing terrible in all this. Learn. The Chinese are harder, they still need to learn how to program, and then they will cope with time, and business will force management and attention to detail. But for the time being, dealing with Russia in the development of software is, as they say in America, a fair “challenge”.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/10566/

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