Infosys is India’s second largest outsourcing supplier, employing more than 60,000 employees. ComputerWorld described some of the systems and processes the company uses to manage large projects successfully. From the article:
“It is like managing an assembly line spread across many locations, and to do that effectively, processes are critical,” said B.G. Srinivas, senior vice president and head of the company’s European business.
The company insists that every stage in project implementation is documented, to ensure there is no gap in communication among teams working in multiple locations.
In an industry where staff turnover is a fact of life, outsourcing companies like Infosys need to plan for attrition. Infosys has developed a knowledge-management system and tools to retain knowledge of the customer’s requirements and business if employees leave, Srinivas said.
Project staff work as a team, and within each team there are core people who are perceived to be less likely to quit their jobs. Even if one or two employees working on the project quit, the rest of the staffers can continue the work while the team is being restaffed, Srinivas said.
The company hires people by the thousands every year. Its processes and experience play a key role in recruitment. Based on its experience, Infosys has a model for staffing projects that includes fixed ratios of employees for different roles, such as programmer analysts, software developers and quality auditors. “These ratios also determine how many experienced staff we hire and how many freshers we hire from the campus,” Srinivas said.
On average, about 30% of project work is done close to the customer, and the balance of it is in India.
Infosys employees are assigned to one project at a time: The company’s economies of scale do not come from deploying the same individuals to multiple projects, Srinivas said. Instead, they show up in the large number of reusable components and tools that the company builds.
Employees are, however, rotated between projects and between sites in order to give them expertise in many technologies and vertical markets, Srinivas said.
At any moment, between 76% and 80% of Infosys staff are assigned to a project, with the others forming a “strategic bench” of staff waiting to be assigned.
Although some comments in the article are self-serving, it’s interesting to hear about their systems nonetheless.