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New position formed?

Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Dear All,
Over the weekend, my boss and I discussed about the new position forming in respond to three continents development team. He said creating a position that situates between quality team and operation team, a person could play a role of management team member also plays a role of developer. I try to mimic the hardware people have done by creating a Technical Support Engineer position.
I want my developer team deliver a product that closer to the spec as possible and let the local Technical Support Engineer modifying the project so it fits with the local customer. Is is sound like a System Integrator? I don't want this engineer be involved too much into developing just a final phase. Help me out guys.
BTW Who said accountant jobs is dead in US? My gal lands a new position just one week on bench. She says probably people meant accountant working for accounting firm.
Regards,
MCao
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Sounds most like a liaison between teams in different countries.
Quite a useful and possibly vital position in the project's success, be prepared to have this function involve heavy traffic.
I've always had serious doubts with handling communications through email and phone only, meeting face to face with others is often the only way to show them you mean business.


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Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi,
I have people fly in-out previously, but it wears my people out because they fed up with the imbeciles handling screening at the airports.
I try to look for the negative sides of the new position such as folks from Call Centers also using Technical Support Engineer. Those people are Technical Support Specialist not Engineer. They are not even close to Technician. But corporations political slab the hard earned Engineer on to it.
Now, I have to craft the description, budget, and legal protocols for the position.
Thanks,
MCao
Pourang Emami
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 21, 2002
Posts: 127
Although my suggestion may sound some how odd or too academic, but it's a serious approach specially after the new policy of offshoring the projects:
Try to utilize a predefined robust Project Management methodology like TSP (Team Software Process) by Humphrey(IBM, Carnegie Mellon University).
We are experimenting large projects applying Sotware Engineering approaches with considerable paybacks. You will save a lots of time, money,
and ofcourse nerve in communications and specially tracking your projects.
Best Regards,
Pourang Emami
Msc


Best Regards,<br />Pourang Emami
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi,
I haven't look at the book yet, I will try. But the problem I face is more of a culture thing. It influences the way users think and approach to the software. A Taiwanese see a problem is different than a Dutch or American. It plays a major role in logical bug. Logical bug will report to big-wig as operational bug. Saliva will fly and head will role because of it.
For example, someone reports to me that a major retail companies have an online application. After all the hoola-hoop of credit and background screening, it shows the illogical of the in-house operation such as you must be laid-off from one branch in able to rehire by different branch or worse no-promotion to the headquaters. It has been tracked out the development was done in South Asia. In able to function properly, most candidates will call and track the name of store managers and snail-mail resumes. The whole online application system just sitting there on the net tracking unwitting investors or some candidates with never have any experient.
I use retail operation because it is the easiest operations model.
Regards,
MCao
Bela Bardak
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 02, 2004
Posts: 179
Originally posted by Matt Cao:
Dear All,
Over the weekend, my boss and I discussed about the new position forming in respond to three continents development team. He said creating a position that situates between quality team and operation team, a person could play a role of management team member also plays a role of developer. I try to mimic the hardware people have done by creating a Technical Support Engineer position.
I want my developer team deliver a product that closer to the spec as possible and let the local Technical Support Engineer modifying the project so it fits with the local customer. Is is sound like a System Integrator? I don't want this engineer be involved too much into developing just a final phase. Help me out guys.

It sounds a little like a systems integrator, but I have to wonder whether you're looking more at what people call a professional services consultant?
What are we talking about here, Matt? Real development or configuration or integration? A single product or a suite of related products or deploying anything and everything? A entire huge range of software products?
If you are thinking about professional services, be aware that without a helluva lot of work and communication between the central development staff and the PS people, doing professional services can be an impossible job.
I took a job doing professional services once with a company which was expanding internationally rapidly. I would never do so again because I ended up going out ignorant half the time and having to fix things not remotely related to my training & background. To be honest the people whom I saw succeed in the role fit two profiles.
1) Experienced ex-developers on the central development team who had the source code to the product and all the little hacks people had developed. And who had great information networks obviously. Or people directly trained by the development team or the ex-developers for a long time.
2) Bullshitters. People who go in early, do 'architecture', draw nice boxes, make the promises and then are long gone when it comes time to deliver a working system. One chap I knew took the credit for what some of the people listed under #1 above had done, which led to losing several critically important people in a short time.
Understand that this kind of role can be an impossible job unless you either severely limit what you are asking them to do OR the central development team invests time and sweat on great documentation AND developing serious close professional relationships with your local people. They have to be regarded as part of the core team, not just someone to dump the stuff developers don't want do do on.
I did nine months as an on-site customer liason & support for an Italian company whom I'd worked as a developer for before. The idea was that I'd support a single product but I ended up supporting everything they did. Because there was a revolving door beside me. They hired and shipped over at least four people to handle the other system(s) during that time and all of them were fired or quit. In the end they sent a developer from the core team. That worked until he had to go back.
The only reason(s) I survived is that I had an information network. I knew whom to call to get answers and downloads. The second reason is that I had worked directly for the two managers above the product team managers and had strong credibility with them. So when the product managers complained about my 'incompetence' they were told to go back and try again because the upper management wouldn't believe it.
It was an incredibly stressful job even so.
[ January 22, 2004: Message edited by: Bela Bardak ]
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi Bela,
Your POV give me another way to see my problem. I may have to reorg the Central Development Team, try to create a different operation architecture.
Were you Alfred & Al Newmann? I recognize the similar logic or trend of though? Stick with this name sounded like Italian & Iranian...=)
Thanks,
MCao
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
 
subject: New position formed?