Readers weigh in on . . .

Re: Calgary sticks with PeopleSoft HRMS (April 7)

The hypothesis that recording someone’s competency via subjective analysis and placing this information in a system without training or

test data begs the question: Who is running the insane asylum? I can almost guarantee you that there’s no training architecture or materials with which to train. Plain text on a software program tree is far short of the mark.

If there is no record of a prior training environment on their processes, procedures and competencies, I don’t think they have fixed the core issue of today’s education.

Thanks for the opportunity to rant.

Ron Bruce

Re: S/360 comes full cirlce (April 13)

Just for your info, I was a computer operator with Goodyear in Toronto in 1966 for its IBM S/360 Mainframe computer system. I remember it well. Nice to see the article. Thanks.

Ken Haines

Re: PwC: Become nearshore or risk losing to offshore (April 15)

Over the past few months, I’ve been making a point of responding to articles and letters about offshore outsourcing since it’s my fervent belief that the value model for outsourcing software development is flawed.

Companies are indeed saving money by sending the development overseas, but that’s only in comparison to their existing processes. Offshore development is suboptimal at best. Research by the Standish Group has consistently shown that the software customer’s close involvement is a critical success factor in any development project. The moment the development is moved across the street or around the world, that involvement is adversely affected.

The offshore model typically uses prescriptive software development methodologies that require considerable up-front analysis and design work in order to “”nail down”” all of the system’s requirements and design before any coding is performed. As a result, it is months if not years before any business value is delivered to the customer in the form of a working system.

The use of agile development processes such as Extreme Programming focuses on delivering that value as soon as possible. These methodologies recognize that it’s impossible to have requirements that never change due to changes in the business, or that weren’t articulated very well in the first place. In addition, especially with Extreme Programming, there is an intense focus on testing the system from Day 1, resulting in much higher quality and reduced overall development cost.

Furthermore, these processes use smaller teams that could reduce the staff overhead costs on a project without using cheaper offshore labour.

The bottom line is that companies who are exploring the offshore outsourcing model could very likely benefit just as much, if not more, from using a different development process. If they are open to changing the way they develop software to offshore, why shouldn’t they be open to changing the way they develop software to agile development?

Dave Rooney
Principal Consultant
Mayford Technologies

Re: PWC: Become nearshore or risk losing to offshore (April 15)

Fawzia Sheikh’s article filled me with a great deal of hope. The lemming-like fashion with which businesses run to comply with current trends, in the process frantically downloading ideas, business models etc. because “”they work,”” has been, in my consulting experience, the biggest single danger facing the vibrancy/sustainability of our economy.

PwC, judging by Fawzia’s reporting, apparently evidences a balanced Êapproach to the outsourcing dilemma. At last a large organization is raising the issue of intellectual property (I have been predicting the loss of the same to Indian companies since 2001, but only now are people waking up to the fact.)

Interesting to read in recently that IBM and others are now buying into/up the larger Indian IT outfits –– and we wonder why we breed so much resentment around the world. In cleaning up our mess, are we about to hamstring Indian regional development? The concept of regional strength, ours and that of others, to my mind, ensures a balanced and contented capitalist global economy. It is greedy opportunism that will destroy it?

Rodger Harding

Re: Canadian firm creates IT industry action figure (April 15)

Although women are far and few between in the IT industry, I have been an active member of the Techno Geek Society since 1978. Will there be a GeekGirl?

S.Mic Michenfelder
Technical Manager, Information Systems
City of Waterloo

Letters to the editor must include the writer’s name and company name along with an e-mail address or other contact information. All letters become the property of Editors reserve the right to edit submissions for length and content.

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