These are time-boxed efforts where a team is fully committed to the timebox, focusing on novel ideas, practices, or technology. It's really meant to be a proof-of-concept so the constraint of time, not quality, is the focus, but it allows the team to set an audacious goal and then try like mad to accomplish it. It can be a fun reset for how you think about your product, customer, or even yourself in relation to the work.
By focusing on system quality or refreshing practices and processes, the team is committed to advancing how they deliver value effectively. Oftentimes, friction creeps in and starts to slow us down. The baggage of past learning needs to be consolidated or even eliminated based on the evolution of our organizational context. Providing the space for this allows us to get better.
It can be hard to create the time and space for these types of labs, given the pressures we experience from the business. But, some of these investments right now can pay off much larger dividends in the future because they allow us to get better. Rarely do we get down the road and wish we had done less investment before in order to make today better.
When there's just more work than can be done with our current teams, we need to look for alternatives beyond our company walls. While there has been the option of off-shoring, the pandemic and volatile global economy have shown some drawbacks of going that way. One helpful alternative that we have found is near-shoring.
Many of us are familiar with off-shoring and some of the challenges it brings to the table. Lower quality, high team turnover, over-billing due to blocking issues and time zone differences, or even a lack of local market understanding or cultural knowledge. We have found that near-shoring, while not a panacea, has helped us to address many of these shortfalls. It does require a deeper investment and oversight as you build up teams and help pull the right work together, but the cost savings are there with the right engagement structure. We found Mexico to be an excellent blend of developed technical talent, cultural alignment, and creative capacity, helping us grow our ability to provide true savings while delivering higher quality. Plus, the timezone overlap is significantly more aligned than overseas and that helps to reduce the drain on all team members.
Looking toward what the rest of this year holds, uncertainty seems to be showing up in many areas. Given that, we believe that experimenting with one or more of these in a short time-horizon way can help you figure out what will provide the most benefit for you and your organization.