Let’s continue with the assumption that it doesn’t matter where the knowledge workers (the development team) are. You’re using teleconferencing, videoconferencing, web conferencing, instant messaging, screen-sharing and all sorts of tools, all running on the powerful Internet backbone, right? Information back-and-forth with a snap of our fingers, all connected, instantly, anywhere. And with our devices, iPhones, iPads or iWork-All-The-Time, nothing can escape us. Terrific!
But here’s the critical question: do you answer emails while you sleep? It would be a nice oneiric capability, but so far I haven’t met anybody that does this. So, what if I e-mail you while you’re asleep, asking an important question that’s preventing me from moving forward with my work? Perhaps I don’t want to wake you up in the middle of the night, so I’ll have to wait until you find my email on your inbox – the next morning – and respond to it.
Yes, but what if when you respond to my email it’s my turn to sleep? It’ll take another 12 hours for me to continue. And what if your answer actually doesn’t actually resolve the issue? Another e-mail might do it, but darn, as soon as I e-mail you you’re sleeping again. The cycle repeats itself, and nothing gets done.
That’s the problem when there’s little or no overlap of working hours.
But wait a second – we just need to put somebody onsite, a liaison that connects both worlds, right? We already have a local leadership team anyway, since the client (and the vendor, for that matter) needs to have the safety net of face-to-face relationships. So, can’t we just use that team (maybe with a few additions)? Yes, and that’s the model that you, me, and everyone in the IT world know. And what about figuring out how the liaison communicates with the rest of team? Well, that’s their problem. The thing that really matters is that you won’t have to wake up at night. Yes, but is that so?