Software businesses in Mexico should go agile

A while ago, a very close friend told me he was planning a Hackathon in Monterrey, Mexico for the first time. My first impression was, what the heck is that? By that time I never heard about Startup Weekends, Hacker Garages, or anything similar. He tried to get me into the point that doesn’t matter to expose your idea, but is about leveraging the moment and place provided and turn great ideas into something tangible. To be honest, at first sight I didn’t believe that much in such thing, but when I started to realize the main objective, I decided to support the event as a staff member, position he asked me to be in.

It took me couple of days to open my mind, and remember when I was in India how people answered a brief question within software factories. The question was: Do you like your job? They answered with a disappointed face saying, “it’s OK”. This wasn’t a one-employee answer, but a many-employee answer. I was curious about the culture and the way they made it to tie Information Technology in schools and people’s mind with government support. Even they have lot of great companies over there, getting into the technology field studying a technical degree is just the best way to have a decent life in such a poor country. Many people don’t like it, they don’t have the passion to wake up everyday and do great things. Is not about the companies, is about a good way of living. Companies provide soccer fields, cricket tournaments, pool tables, bikes to ride inside the campus, pretending to keep motivation on employees, and it’s a good way of doing it, nevertheless, lot of people are there because of social pressure, trying to achieve an enviable way of living.

Many companies in Mexico have tried the same model, the Outsourcing approach of a Software Factory. Lots of work, projects, teams conformed by 100+ poeple, and vast hierarchy growing inevitably. Making a simple idea being heard would be like spend an entire life, and then implementing such idea in the company would take another life. Putting this in contrast comparing Mexico and India, ¿is Mexico capable of being a competitor in the Software Factories Industry?, ¿can Mexico deliver projects requiring more than 1,000 software engineers, in time and budget? As a reference let me tell you that in Mexico the population is about 110,000 million people, and only 30% of graduates who can afford universities become Engineers. In India population is 10x times Mexican, and 70% become Engineers. The questions are still on the air. Softek at some point tried to compete agains Infosys, the second largest Outsorcing company in the world, which has 130,000 employees. Softek has less than 10,000.

People in Mexico has lot of creativity because of our cultural background, and as a nation there are many advantages for the closeness with the most powerfull country around the globe:

  • Obviously, and already mentioned, closeness in terms of kilometers to USA.
  • Growing economy with less costs in terms of production.
  • Shared time zone between both countries.
  • Cultural affinity not only with North America, but also Europe.
  • Great beaches and food.
  • The infrastructure and necessary environment to develop technology as a deliverable.

We don’t have lots of computer scientists or software engineers, but for sure a great quality product can be done. This type of products are of course those developed in an agile way, where customer can be involved in the whole development process, and employees can participate giving ideas and feedback for a project and for the company itself. Why spend such great characteristics into software developed as a manufacturer, without feelings, without passion.

It’s time for Mexico to realize we are not made to develop very huge software, there’s enough talent to make great quality software though. Next March the 6th StartupBus comes to Mexico departing from San Luis Potosi, to gather the best talent and cross the border with a bunch of entrepreneurs, ready to show the world what ideas can be done.

Small people talk about other people, average people talk about things, great people talk about ideas, but awesome people talk about executing ideas. It’s time for us to demonstrate the world what Mexico can do.