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Knowledge Transfer to Off-Shore Company

Matt Brown
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 26, 2004
Posts: 70
I have been working for a bank in NYC for about a year. After I successfully saved a very important project, I was told my position was off-shored to India.

Before letting me go, they are forcing me to transfer my knowledge to a group of people from an off-shore company.
People are saying that off-shoring saves company money, but it is not in my case.
There will be at least five pepole of the off-shore company to do exactly the same job I'm doing now.

How should I handle this knowledge transfer?


"I just use my muscles as a conversation piece, like someone walking a cheetah down 42nd Street." - Arnold Schwarzenegger
Luke Kolin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 04, 2002
Posts: 336
Originally posted by Matt Bad:
Before letting me go, they are forcing me to transfer my knowledge to a group of people from an off-shore company.


They're not forcing you to do anything. If you don't want to do it, then resign or find another job.

Cheers!

Luke
Homer Phillips
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 26, 2004
Posts: 311
I'd tell them I was quitting about 3:30 Friday afternoon. Just like you were getting sacked, walk out the door. Of course you need another job first. Mark says java people are scarce in NY, NY.
Eric Lemaitre
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 03, 2004
Posts: 538

Hi Matt !

In this case your company betrays you and considers you as a dumbass for teaching other cheap alien folks how to take your own job, so clearly quit as soon as possible, delaying at maximum this training so as not to process it.
There are many java jobs in NY where you are, so put your resume on monster, contact other similar companies (why not concurrents ?) and when you hold something quit immediately. As you arlready are about to be fired, you are not taking any risk. Assuming your name shows you have no labour visa issue, considering the real demand for valuable Java pros for NY banks, you should be in another NY bank within a week.
Why not contact Mark Herscberg too ?

Best regards.


Eric LEMAITRE
CNAM IT Engineer, MS/CS (RHCE, RHCX, SCJA, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, Net+)
Free Online Tutorials: http://www.free-tutorials-online.net/
Matt Brown
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 26, 2004
Posts: 70
HR told me that even I quit now, I still need to give them two weeks
notice. I must transfer the knowledge during that two weeks. Can they
hold my pay? Do you think Mark is helpful?

BTW, I'm a citizen.
John K. Smith
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 17, 2005
Posts: 5
Sorry to hear that the indians have stolen your job. Seeing as your employer has not really treated you well, offer sub-standard knowledge transfer (delay the writing of docs which could be incomplete/confusing/lacking info). There is only so much you can do in 2 weeks - 10 working days. You employer will then regret sacking you.

Funny how you need 5 indians to do a job which would only need one person in the US. It sounds like they are not highly skilled, and just a bodyshop.

Good luck.
Luke Kolin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 04, 2002
Posts: 336
Originally posted by Matt Bad:
HR told me that even I quit now, I still need to give them two weeks
notice. I must transfer the knowledge during that two weeks.


Unless you have an employment contract that specifically requires this, there's no obligation to give them notice. You are an at-will employee, no?

Cheers!

Luke
Eric Lemaitre
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 03, 2004
Posts: 538

Hi John !

Sorry to hear that the indians have stolen your job.

I know you didn't mean it, but please note that indians didn't steal anything, simply his Dilbert like pointy-hair boss sacrificed his job in the hope of a very uncertain short term profit (which should turn in average term loss after a while, like most others, for almost all outsourcing made on pure money saving terms without quality concerns turn to failure).

Funny how you need 5 indians to do a job which would only need one person in the US. It sounds like they are not highly skilled, and just a bodyshop.

Very true.

Best regards.
Eric Lemaitre
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 03, 2004
Posts: 538

Hi Matt !

Do you think Mark is helpful?

In this special case, I know I am not allowed to talk for him, but you should ask directly to Mark Herschberg authorization to send him your resume (not directly of course, only if he agrees) with reference to this post. As he stated earlier he lacked valuable Java resources, what you seem to be, he should agree.

Best regards.
Mike Gershman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 13, 2004
Posts: 1272
Matt said:
HR told me that even I quit now, I still need to give them two weeks notice. I must transfer the knowledge during that two weeks.

Unfortunately, HR people have been known to lie. Slavery was abolished in the US some time ago.

Just call in sick and start your job hunt. If you don't get paid for a few sick days, you'll have your self respect intact.

I would react differently if you were offered a decent severance package, but this is really abusive.

One precaution: be sure to keep copies of your last two performance reviews, or get a letter from your lead programmer, who probably lost his job as well. That covers the issue of a reference.


Mike Gershman
SCJP 1.4, SCWCD in process
Pat Peg
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 04, 2005
Posts: 194
Originally posted by Matt Bad:
HR told me that even I quit now, I still need to give them two weeks
notice. I must transfer the knowledge during that two weeks. Can they
hold my pay? Do you think Mark is helpful?

BTW, I'm a citizen.


It is illegal to hold your pay. They can try but as soon as you call the Labor board in your state you will have your paycheck. I believe the law protecting you in this case is a federal one. I don't know for sure, I'm not a lawyer but I did work in management before going into the tech field. Another manager tried to hold someones check once because the person refused to turn over company keys and some documentation. He nearly lost his job over it. We were told by HR that we absolutely must pay him or we would as a company would be in some very deep poop. We had to re-key the entire place and just live with the loss of documents.
Sania Marsh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 12, 2004
Posts: 469
Matt, you are not obliged to anyting, in worst case play dumb and teach them something else or as less as possible.
It's very unfair what they did to you, why should you help anyone?
Also, I know couple of companies in NY and close to NY that are hiring, PM me if you are interested I will send you their contacts. I don't know your level of experience, companies I know are mostly hiring junior and mid-level developers. There is one that might hire seniors also.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
1) You are not being forced
As others have pointed out, you are an employee at will--unless your contract specifically requires two weeks notice, and even then, I'm not sure they can hold you to it. You can also be "slow" in the transfer process over the next two weeks. Keep in mind however, that neither tactic will go over well if you hope to get a reference from them in the future. (It really depends on your relationship with the reference giver and how sympathetic they are to your situation.)

BTW, are you getting severance. I wouldn't start the knowledge transfer process without a severance agreement in writing. Perhaps they'll give you three months severance (for example), in which case you can transfer the knowledge and have a decent parachute. If they are going to give you less than you think you deserve, and you can give up the two week pay plus severance, you threaten to walk.


2) Nothing has been stolen
As Eric wisely pointed out, nothing has been stolen. A business decisions has been made, possibly even the right business decision. We cannot know.


3) Cost benefit
With all due respect, I doubt you are in a position to know the costs-benefits of the situation. To give you some ballpark numbers: if it's a large project, they might be paying $1500/head for a developer (that's on the lower side, but quite possible) or $7500/mo. With "overhead" costs of outsourcing that might be $7800/mo. If you are making $75000 annually, that's $6250 per month. But benefits are typically about 25% of base, putting it about $7800 a month. Then throw in the IT cost of your systems, the office space, etc. and you are more expensive than 5 developers. Of course, these costs do not take productivity into account and I cannot know how you and they compare, but from an accounting standpoint alone their rationale is probably sound.


--Mark
Jim Baker
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 10, 2002
Posts: 177
Matt, Check this

http://www.rescueamericanjobs.org/action/index.php?activism=what-to-do-if-when-you-are-laid-off-be-prepared
Prem Khan
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 30, 2005
Posts: 189
Make sure you steal alot of source code before you leave, I would recomend using a USB storage. And maybee some prodect keys to IDEs and tools.
Dharam Singh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 04, 2005
Posts: 162
Originally posted by Shawn DeSarkar:
Make sure you steal alot of source code before you leave, I would recomend using a USB storage. And maybee some prodect keys to IDEs and tools.

If he does that,what is the difference between you and him?


Powered by Sonia
Dharam Singh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 04, 2005
Posts: 162
Originally posted by Eric Lemaitre:
Hi John !
Funny how you need 5 indians to do a job which would only need one person in the US. It sounds like they are not highly skilled, and just a bodyshop.
Very true.

. Bank is offshoring this,Indian company must be reputed.Please disclose the name of this Indian company.
Aditya Verma
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 28, 2005
Posts: 7
Some observations -

1) Matt's job is being outsourced to a groups of 5 indians doesn't means that Matt's employer needs 5 indians to match one US programmer. It only means that Matt's employer can afford 5 indian programmers in place of one US programmer.

2) I feel really sorry for Matt but take strong offence to comments like "indians stole his job". No one stole no one's job. Its a business decision made entirely by Matt's employer.

3) "..steal alot of source code..", "..be "slow" in the transfer process ..", "..play dumb and teach them something else or as less as possible..". Grow up, guys!! I would advise Matt not to leave a 'bad' lasting impression. Its very unprofessional and immature.

Best of luck for the job search, Matt!
Sania Marsh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 12, 2004
Posts: 469
Originally posted by Sampige Malleswaram:

. Bank is offshoring this,Indian company must be reputed.Please disclose the name of this Indian company.


Sampige,
too many people have already taken advantage of the originator of this thread, it is probably not the best time and place to ask such questions.
Sania Marsh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 12, 2004
Posts: 469
Aditya,

Company could have hired him on contract basis to implement this project, his salary would be doubled in that case, instead they chose to save money for offshore folks, feeling of someone stealing his job is normal, of course it is not the offshore team, it is his company. They could have told him of outsourcing plans couple of months before(outsourcing is not done in two days), so that he would have time to find new job, but his project wasn't completed and they chose to screw the guy and make sure project is safe.

After all they have done, they are now asking him to teach others. If company had to put the offshore team through training it would cost them much more, than one employee's salary. they are still thinking of saving money.

someone is being so inhuman, and you are suggesting to be noble? for what?

If he doesn't want to do it, he doesn't have to.
Aditya Verma
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 28, 2005
Posts: 7
Few more observations -

1) Companies are out there to make profits. Plain and simple. As long as they do not do anything illegal, they are within rights to do so. There is nothing we can do about it!

2) Its necessary in job market to leave a "good" final impression while changing jobs. If you have performed well during the course of employment then there is no point in destroying your reputation at the very end. Whatever is lost is lost. Emotional reaction is not going to bring it back!

3) There is difference between being noble and being practical. Be practical!

4) We live in an unfair world. Deal with it!
Prem Khan
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 30, 2005
Posts: 189
If they are oursourceing there work to India, you should outsource your work law to India. In india, there is no copyright law in practice, I saw people selling burnt CD's right in front of the police.
Jay Ashar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 13, 2002
Posts: 208
Originally posted by Shawn DeSarkar:
In india, there is no copyright law in practice, I saw people selling burnt CD's right in front of the police.


I see that in NYC too, although those are DVDs about movies just released, it is still illegal.


SCJP 1.4<br />SCWCD 1.3
soniya saxena
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 18, 2004
Posts: 300
5 Indians would complete it faster!

Originally posted by John K. Smith:
Funny how you need 5 indians to do a job which would only need one person in the US. It sounds like they are not highly skilled, and just a bodyshop.

Good luck.
soniya saxena
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 18, 2004
Posts: 300
People are saying that off-shoring saves company money, but it is not in my case. There will be at least five pepole of the off-shore company to do exactly the same job I'm doing now.
5 people will do it faster....product will be out in the market earlier...company makes more money.

How should I handle this knowledge transfer?
Fact of the matter is, handovers rarely happen properly, but still the show goes on. people in software are used to this. so irrespective of however you do the knowledge transfer, the offshoring will happen. Success or failure will depend on other factors.
Sania Marsh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 12, 2004
Posts: 469
Originally posted by soniya saxena:
5 Indians would complete it faster!



5 indians in US or in India?
Sania Marsh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 12, 2004
Posts: 469
Originally posted by soniya saxena:
Success or failure will depend on other factors.


True, will depend on factors like developer-user communication, quality of design and code.
Usually one skilled on-site developer (Indian too) beats any number of offshores in that.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Aditya Verma:

3) "..steal alot of source code..", "..be "slow" in the transfer process ..", "..play dumb and teach them something else or as less as possible..". Grow up, guys!! I would advise Matt not to leave a 'bad' lasting impression. Its very unprofessional and immature.


Aditya,

You raise some very good points. I do not condone stealing (source code or anything else) from employers. To be fair, my suggestion is in the grey at best. Below are my thoughts.

On the one hand, you are hired as an employee to do what your employer asks (within ethical and legal bounds) to the best of your abilities. That includes knowledge transfer and so you are obligated to do it.

On the other hand, you and your employer are in constant negotiations; some, perhaps many, of the dimensions of the negotiations (although not all) are a zero sum game. For any employee, even if you're not asking for a raise or promotion today, there is some of your motivation, e.g. make yourself too valuable for them to lose. You work for money (this of course is the basis of the Theory X model of employement). There is nothing *inherently* immoral about this. At various times in employer-employee relationships, renegotiations occur. In our field these are typically bonuses, raises, and promotions. In other fields, it can include the reduction of work, responsibility, status and/or money. Such a change just occured. If you view this as a renegotiaion, you've just been offered no work and no pay, and now you must use the tools at your disposal (again within legal and ethical boundaries)to put yourself in a better position.

To this second point, I cannot know your thoughts. You could certainly transfer something in two weeks. You might, however, believe two weeks isn't sufficent. As many engineers do, rather than try to convince your managers it's not enough time, you do it the right way and then they discover it's not enough time. I cannot say whether or not this is ethical in your situation. But if you feel it is, it may be an option.

--Mark
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Sania Marsh:

Company could have hired him on contract basis to implement this project, his salary would be doubled in that case, instead they chose to save money for offshore folks


Sania,

I do not believe you have access to the HR policies of Matt's employer. We cannot know a) if they can hire him on contract and b) how much they could pay him.

You suggest that saving money is a bad thing. In fact, his CEO and other corporate officers are legally (although "charged with" is perhaps a better term) obligated to try and make money, including through the use of cost reductions.

We also don't know that they are savings money. There are other reasons to outsource (e.g. risk reduction, flexibility, speed). While they all are ultimately financially driven, in terms of P&L it may not be cheaper.

--Mark
Matt Brown
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 26, 2004
Posts: 70
I want to give you an update on this knowledge transfer story.

They let me go at mid August and I'm busy to find my next job now...

Recently, the manager called to accuse that I did not tranfer the
knowledge well enough to bring the Indians to the same level as mine.
They are having problems now, and he wanted me to help them to resolve
the issues.

BTW, I did use the manager's name as a reference for my job searching.

I think I have following options:

1. Help them to resolve the problems to keep a good relation with the former employer even they fired me to move my job oversea.

2. Help them to resolve the problems, but charge a fee. Is it legal to work for a bank w/o asking them to pay?
I know this bank is very profitable.

3. Pretend to help, but actually not.

4. Ask they to hire me back as a contractor or part-time empolyee, but I think they will say no.

5. Ignore the request. It will hurt the relation between me and the manager so I can no longer use his name as a reference.


What's your suggestion?
Anand Prabhu
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 19, 2003
Posts: 299
Originally posted by Matt Bad:

Recently, the manager called to accuse that I did not tranfer the
knowledge well enough to bring the Indians to the same level as mine.
They are having problems now, and he wanted me to help them to resolve
the issues.

You mean to say that your manager let you go thinking that the transition was an on-off switch? Guess he is not too intimate with the risks of firing a knowledgeable employee. Any person, especially managers, ought to know that firing a person on such grounds can be insulting, humiliating or sometimes traumatic to the person and the person can hardly be motivated to transfer any knowledge.



I think I have following options:

The bright side is that your thoughts are still clear and you are considering your options.


What's your suggestion?

My suggestion would be for you to move on and consider this to be a closed chapter. You are still clinging to that shut window and ignoring the many open doors. Once you are let go, you are under no obligation to be charitable to your old company. If you feel that your manager will not give you good reviews, consider other managers or technical leads or senior personnel who would be sympathetic to you and know you and your work culture well as a reference. If pressed upon by your future employer, you can say that you did your best to transfer the knowledge despite the lack of motivation due to the impending layoff.

All the best in your job search.
Vladas Razas
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 02, 2003
Posts: 385
Hey, what's the difference why? The company left you. I have my life theory: even bad things are happening for good. You don't want to work in such company anymore, right? Then transfer or not transfer your knowledge in those 2 weeks. That is answer their question or whatever. No need to make enemies. That will do you no good. Just leave the company peacefully (though don't forget the paycheck) and start looking for another job immediately. That's pretty much it.

Good luck!

P.S. And yes The communication with those people will cost them as much as your salary anyways
Jason Cox
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 21, 2004
Posts: 287
Recently, the manager called to accuse that I did not tranfer the
knowledge well enough to bring the Indians to the same level as mine.
They are having problems now, and he wanted me to help them to resolve
the issues.


Boy, that's the second funniest stupid thing I've heard since I entered IT.

They're not considering the other alternative why their new help isn't performing up to spec?
Manish Hatwalne
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2581

Matt, I feel sorry for you, but your inference is incorrect!!!

Originally posted by John K. Smith:
Sorry to hear that the indians have stolen your job. Seeing as your employer has not really treated you well, offer sub-standard knowledge transfer (delay the writing of docs which could be incomplete/confusing/lacking info). There is only so much you can do in 2 weeks - 10 working days. You employer will then regret sacking you.

Funny how you need 5 indians to do a job which would only need one person in the US. It sounds like they are not highly skilled, and just a bodyshop.

Good luck.


If this is not offensive then I wonder what is?
Is 5 Indians for 1 man's job absolutely factual? how many man months are they calculating for thsi work now? Maybe 5 ppl are trying to complete that work in lesser time than what 1 person would have taken.

Don't jump to erroneous conclusions based on auto-confirming beliefs. Likewise are you aware how much water and other resources americal companis screwed up and india in the name of globalization in last few years, do you know how many trees in the third world countries are cut so tat US can use huge amount of paper and tissues. When it was all beneficial for them, they didn't complain!!!

- Manish
Roger Chung-Wee
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 29, 2002
Posts: 1683
1. Help them to resolve the problems to keep a good relation with the former employer even they fired me to move my job oversea.

Ask them to make you an offer as compensation for helping out. And you are still job hunting, right? This keeps your options open.

3. Pretend to help, but actually not.

Don't even think of this. Either work for them again (and get paid for it) or stay away from them.


SCJP 1.4, SCWCD 1.3, SCBCD 1.3
Joe Richard
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 15, 2001
Posts: 76
Matt, I agree with Roger.

If you are afraid of damaging the relationship with your former boss, definately try to get paid for the work.

You can try this job board for New York. (www.thingamajob.com)

You probably already are but try using a headhunter for your job search. With your talent in NY you should find a new position soon.

This situation isn't what you wanted, but stay strong.

Best of Luck.


Persistence equals goals
SCJD (In Progress), SCJP
Theodore Casser
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 14, 2001
Posts: 1902

I agree with Joe and Roger.

Fact is, knowledge transfer - even under the best of circumstances - is going to have difficulties. Look at one employee (not in a termination situation) in an office trying to get another up to speed with a project to hand it over... you're going to have problems anyway. Distance is going to make that all the more complicated, much less emotions wrapped up in it, so your manager should have seen this coming, frankly. (I should note at this point that I went through something very similar with my last job. It did not... end well, but then again, that wasn't anything new at that point.)

Turn it into a positive - offer to your manager to come back and help (if you do have time and it's not hurting your job search) but ask to be compensated for your time. After all, even if you didn't carry out your job responsibilities when you were under contract, this situation wasn't covered by that agreement. But be rational and polite about it - don't bring up the other issues wrapped up with your termination, but just remind them if the balk that they did end your services, and you're not obligated to continue to assist them.


Theodore Jonathan Casser
SCJP/SCSNI/SCBCD/SCWCD/SCDJWS/SCMAD/SCEA/MCTS/MCPD... and so many more letters than you can shake a stick at!
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Matt Bad:

Recently, the manager called to accuse that I did not tranfer the knowledge well enough to bring the Indians to the same level as mine. They are having problems now, and he wanted me to help them to resolve the issues.


I would be curious as to why he wants you. He didn't think you did a good job before (and from your message seems to think it's your fault) and yet wants you to work for him again (paid or otherwise)?



Originally posted by Matt Bad:

BTW, I did use the manager's name as a reference for my job searching.


Hopefully with his consent.


Originally posted by Matt Bad:

1. Help them to resolve the problems to keep a good relation with the former employer even they fired me to move my job oversea.

2. Help them to resolve the problems, but charge a fee. Is it legal to work for a bank w/o asking them to pay?
I know this bank is very profitable.

4. Ask they to hire me back as a contractor or part-time empolyee, but I think they will say no.


Legally you cannot work for them for free. Realistically, if it's you stopping by for a few hours to give advice, I don't think it's a clear violation. (Usual disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer.)

How are 2 and 4 different?

Realistically, you need to consider the future value of a positive reference from your manager and its availability under the two options. If it's 2 hours of work then for, say the $200 you might earn, it's probably worth helping them. If it's for another month of work, then we're taking real money, and you need to ask yourself if you'd rather have the cash instead of his reference.


Originally posted by Matt Bad:

3. Pretend to help, but actually not.


Unethical.


--Mark
Luke Kolin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 04, 2002
Posts: 336
Seems to me that the manager is busy blaming others for the failure of the knowledge transfer, and I'm puzzled why anyone would want to use him as a reference, or why our original poster would even consider going back.

I'd remove his name as a reference, and let him sleep in the bed he made.

Cheers!

Luke
peter wooster
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 13, 2004
Posts: 1033
Personnaly, I'd ask the ex-manager for a contract to assist the now outsourced team. Get to know them, fly to India, meet them and do all I could to help them succeed. Of course I'd try to negotiate a fee that was about double my previous salaried amount and I'd include "outsourcing consultant" on my resume afterwards, the opportunities are boundless.
 
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subject: Knowledge Transfer to Off-Shore Company