The Software Offshoring Sherpas

Kiran Madhunapantula By Kiran Madhunapantula on February 4, 2015

“When Western mountaineers first set their sights on the world's highest peak, they found in the Sherpas a people ideally suited to the rigors of high-altitude climbing; unfailingly positive, stout at altitude, and seemingly resistant to cold.”

Brian Handwerk, National Geographic

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"For ages, we didn't know if it was humanly possible to reach the top of Mount Everest. And even using oxygen as we were, if we did get to the top, we weren't at all sure whether we wouldn't drop dead or something of that nature." On May 29, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and a Nepalese Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, set foot on the 29,028-foot (8,848-metre) summit of Everest, the highest point on the Earth. They had succeeded where others had failed, and had survived a journey that had taken the lives of great explorers before them and many since.

A fascinating reality of the Mount Everest expedition of Hillary and Norgay is the bonding they developed to accomplish the mission combining Sir Edmund Hillary’s compassion and love for the region with Norgay's strong experience and adaptability. It’s a partnership that helped a mountaineer achieve his mission and in that process ignited humility in him that never left Tenzing Norgay behind as an unsung hero.

In many ways, a right offshoring partner for software product companies is actually like a Sherpa. A Sherpa who is experienced in the job, native to the environment, familiar with local dynamics, eager for partnerships to scale new heights together. A Sherpa who can weather the uncertainties and scale the uneven terrains of software development arena with confidence and commitment.

An offshoring Sherpa has a humble attitude to actually help his partner succeed by applying his own core competence. Sometimes even taking his partner by hand, even in the unfamiliar situations but willingly and unconditionally staying in the background of his partner's success.

The do-how element: Most of the times, proven capabilities are worth a cent more than the unproven possibilities. An offshoring Sherpa brings along a wealth of experience and knowledge in doing things together with his partner. The ability to accomplish goals for others is much more concrete than having it just as an intention. This is the do-how element that creates jump start for a product development company by just focusing on their vision rather than spending time and energy to figure out other things.

Professionalism: A mountaineer perhaps has an ambition to climb the Everest but the Sherpa has made it his business to help people achieve their ambition. Doing his part as best as possible will mean, more and more people will scale the mountains. A Sherpa actually makes mountaineering an achievable task! This is the same level of professionalism needed in an offshoring partner; it is his business and passion to make companies achieve growth and market leadership.

An attitude of service: An attitude of service is very important in a partnership that involves dealing with intellectual property research and development. While the software product owner has an uphill ambition to conquer a market, the offshoring partner enables him with the do-how skill and the required resources.

Collaboration: Staying put is an important trait to have but staying together is even more important. A product's life travels alongside the changing demands of the market, so is the need for an offshoring Sherpa to offer that flexibility and skill as a part of the partnership. Over a period of time, both partners condition themselves to face the changing market conditions, be it related to labour, technology, time or price.

It is a perfect blend of core competence of a Sherpa in his familiar terrain and the ambition level of a mountaineer that helps them embark on  such an exciting journey. Same is true about the partnership between a software product company and an offshoring partner; they combine their individual core strengths and help each other succeed.

Isn’t this how many software product development companies achieve incredible levels of success, teaming up with their Sherpas, who help them reach their highest peaks?

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