Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Off to China

Anyone who has been a regular visitor to my humble blog has probably noticed that the globalization of software development has been a frequent topic of mine. In particular, I have been heavily involved over the last 3-4 years with software development in India. Whether you or I like it or not, it looks like I am going to continue to be immersed in the topic of globalization. I started a new assignment with a new client recently and this client has very strong ties to China. I could not believe my good fortune when I was given a golden opportunity to travel to China for about two weeks of meetings. Wow! A chance to observe the technology sector in China firsthand! I arrived in China Monday night.

Because of all the language and cultural issues, IBM has made a conscious effort to locate consultants who speak Chinese. Someitmes it seems like every Chinese speaking IBM consultant in the US and Canada is on my project! Not that this is a bad thing either. Its great to be able to hop in a taxis with a co-worker and have a co-worker act as interpreter.

Then around 10 AM this morning "it" happened. My client got passionate about a particular topic and switched from English to Chinese. Within about 10 seconds all my co-workers had joined in the discussions in Chinese too and "it" hit me. I was the only non-Chinese speaker in the room and there were three different Chinese conversations going on. I didn't take it as they were trying to exclude me. I think it was just easier for the client to express their thoughts clearly in their native language. I chose to just let the conversations go on without my interruption. My co-workers updated me later with a summary of their concerns. I have a feeling it won't be the last time either.

If you're interested in reading more about my trip to China, see my posts on China on my "Phil's Folderol" blog.

Copyright © 2007 by Philip Hartman - All Rights Reserved

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Phil, glad to see your blog being updated all the time. It is a pleasure reading them. I got to know it because I happen to be in the same practice as you and among the distribution list. I skimmed the book "The world is flat" last year and have the same feeling about how globalization could affect our career and daily life. Recently, the message from our CEO mentioned "the globally integrated enterprise", which has reinforced/extended this concept to an enterprise. However, I always wonder what could be an essential “middleware” to integrate the cultural and political difference from country to country, as we can pretty much assume now we all have the equal access to the information. Your thoughts?

Wish you have a great experience in China! Please let me know if you have questions regarding China. I was nurtured in that culture!