We’ve been moving some of our ‘easy’ support to Off Shore in India, and for the most part, it’s working out great. The humdrum routine tasks of running a pre-baked script and watching output to verify it’s all okay can easily be done by our overseas partners, freeing us programers and coders up to actually write code. There’s a little bit of debugging that goes on with the job, but since I’ve always said the easy part of the job can be performed by a trained monkey, we have an extensive knowledge base, with articles with screen caps and everything, for the monkey’s to read and research. The biggest problem has been the language barrier.
When we upgraded a system for DST compliance, the interface changed, and I made sure to send out an email to detail what they would need to look for, and how to find old scripts in the new format. I went the extra step and detailed out, pictures and all, how to address the new issues, and I included the updated location for the scripts. The local employees tested out the system, and agreed my directions were fine. We worked out a couple kinks over three days of tests, and felt comfortable asking the overseas partners to go for it. This morning was the first time our overseas partners were using the updated system
Of the five overseas partners, three work perfectly on their own, with little support needed, one was fired promptly for lack of ability, and one, well … He claims to be a developer and a programer, with years of experience with Windows. The first thing he tells me is that he can’t find the script. He doesn’t see ‘Script – for doing foobar v 1.3’, he sees ‘Script for doing fo’. I end up having to send him a screen shot of how to scroll to the right and see the rest of the name. Then he asks me ‘I want to succeed the script. Should I pick the option to fail or succeed?’ Finally, he asks me ‘This script failed with a timeout error.’ Now, the error is listed in the knowledge base, it’s even titled ‘If Script X fails with a timeout error.’ and has a detailed explanation that this is acceptable and to move on. I tell him what to do at about 9:20 AM. At 9:30 AM he emails the support team to ask them what to do. I reply ‘As I mentioned on IM, just succeed it through.’ By 9:40 AM, he does this, and closes the request.
Five hours later, my boss tells me that the people who made the request were irate that ‘there was a problem with our script.’ At this point, I’ve forgotten it was a problem, and I have to dig around for almost an hour searching for a ‘problem.’ I don’t see anything wrong in the script or the output, and it dawns on me that they’re upset that it had taken 40 minutes for them to be notified of a job that normally takes five to fifteen. Of course, instead of calling my team about it, they went three levels up, got my Division Head in a froth, and I had to repeat to everyone that the oversea partner had taken a little bit of time.
They call it a training issue and move on.
And … how is he supposed to make my life easier and free up my time?