[Little perspective: For the last 7 months I'm working in a certain project.]
[The project is full of unimaginative, non-creative devs with 0 initiative and poor technical background.]
[And they're almost all from one country which you all can figure out.]
[But I'm not going to mention it here because I don't want to come up as a racist]
[So there's US (Europeans) and THEM. 3 of US and about 10 of THEM. And we're doing 90% of all the heavy lifting]
D (Dev from THEM): Hi S, I have a problem with my task
Me: (sighing) Ok let's have a call
* on the call with D we were checking some stuff loosely related to task *
* code wouldn't get invoked at all for some reason *
* suddenly I realize that even if the code would invoke, D's probably doing everything wrong in it anyway *
Me (thinking): I need to double check something.
Me: I can't help you now, I'll get back to you later.
* call ended *
Me: Hey J, I need your help, I need to clarify the work package in my mind, because I am no longer sure.
J (my European TL): Ok, fire away.
* call started *
Me: Is it true that [blahblahblah] and so D's task depends on me completing first my task, or am I losing my mind?
J: That is correct.
Me: Well she's trying to do this in [that] way, which is completely wrong.
J: You see, that's how it is in this project, you do refinements with them, split these work packages to tasks, mention specifically what depends on what and what order should things be taken in, and in some cases all tasks from given user stories should be done by one person entirely... But they do it their way anyway, assign different people to different interdependent tasks, and these people don't even understand the big picture and they try to do the things the way they think they understand them.
Me: It's a fire in a brothel.
J: Yup.
Me: I fucking love this project.
J: (smiling silently)
* call ended *
Me: Ok D, you can't do your task because it's dependant on my task.
D: Oh... so what do I do?
Me: I don't know, do something else until I do my task.
A (THEIR TL) (Oh, did I forget to mention that there are 2 TLs in this project? THEY have their own. And there are 2 PMs as well.)
A: Hey S, I need to talk
Me: (sighing, getting distracted from work again) Ok let's have a call
* call started *
A: S, we need this entire work package done by Friday EOD.
Me: I can't promise, especially since there are several people working on its several tasks.
A: D's working on hers for 3 days already, and she's stuck. We want you to take over.
Me: (sighing, thinking "great"): Ok.
* call ended *
Me: Hey D, A instructed me to take over your task. This is actually going to be easier since you'd have to wait for mine after all.
D: Oh, ok.
* I switched the Assigned Person on D's task to myself on Azure *
This morning, email from D.
"Hey, I completed my task and it's on [this] branch, what do I do now?"

Me, hesitating between 2 ways to reply:
(and take note there are people in CC: A, J, P - the last one is THEIR PM)
1) "Hi, Unfortunately you'd still have to wait for my changes because your task is dependent on my task - the column to be changed is in the table that I am introducing and it's not merged to develop branch yet. By the way I already did your task locally, as I was instructed to do it, I'm wrapping things up now."
(y'know: the response which is kind, professional, understanding; without a slight bit of impatience)

  • 4
    There seems to be communication gap between your team and theirs. I get that you think you're being very clear and they think the same of themselves but you people aren't.
    Other than the communication gap, regardless of where your team is situated, the US vs THEM mentality is clearly not working out for you guys.
  • 2
    @dr-ant TBH I wasn't thinking like that at the beginning. I was quite open and hopeful. Trying to understand, be patient, explain stuff etc. For some reason however they simply don't learn, or do that really slowly. Asking the same kinds of questions over and over again, where an average junior dev would only ask 3 times maybe. Making the same mistakes. Following some thought patterns leading to a mess in the code, or completely misunderstanding their tasks, but not asking what should they really do. Not being able to grasp the big picture, even after the hours of refinement, drawing diagrams, having each of those elements explained. And they don't raise any issues when I explain stuff and ask them 3 times: "Is everything clear?". "Yes yes, everything's clear". And then time over time they prove that nothing is actually clear. If I made them a detailed bullet list, they'd be able to follow, maybe. But I don't expect any independent thinking anymore. Not after all those months...
  • 4
    @Sushmaster I get what you're saying. If it's a certain South Asian country I can relate to your frustration.
    What I have learned is that they don't like to say no. If you ask them a direct question they'll always answer positively. A big part of it is the work culture. A lot of them were not shown big pictures when outsourcing started and they got used to doing what was asked and not asking too many questions and now they are too set in their ways.
    You're right in thinking that you can't expect any independent thinking.
    I fear that someone way above your level and hr will have to drive the culture change but no one would bother with the headache and fairly, it's nobody's obligation.
  • 3
    You cannot say „just go home”, when in practice they have to fill in timesheets and there are 3 asshole bosses checking these reports.
    That’s the problem with outsourcing by the hour - efficient work is not in the best interest of the provider.
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