Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Follow The Sun Model for Global Workforce

If the tasks are passed on from one team to another working from different countries around the World. The workflow is setup in such a way the teams start getting to work. This workflow model is called as ‘Follow The Sun’ model. Since the work is following the Sun, it never stops.

The model is excellent for Global Technical support or any support which has to work 24 x 7 all 365 days of the year. This model is also used by Corporate Software Companies to some extent. While working with IBM, I was working with team members from Brazil, Different Time Zones from US and India. It is a big challenge to work with team members from different times zones but the same can be used very effectively also. The United States has Six Time Zones (Hawaii, Alaska, Pacific, Mountain, Central, and Eastern). Fortunately, India has only single time zone.There are Seven primary time zones in Europe, so going from East to west around the World, there are 24 different time zones at 15 degrees longitude intervals. Interesting, isn't it?

Based on the spread of your Project Team, you will have to implement the 'Follow The Sun' model. A quick example is a Company working in US can handover the work to someone in Europe and this team can do a hand-over with India team. The India team can pass it again to the US team. Consider eastern countries like Japan, where you can take more advantage of the different time zones.

Unfortunately, this model is not implemented very well well in most of the Global Companies as some dominating management member will always ask other people to follow his / her time without following the Sun. Changing this culture and taking more efforts on Project Planning and scheduling can implement this model effectively.

The model implementation has many challenges like work-day timings in each country, availability of the right skilled people in each country, different holidays in different Country, etc. The most interesting part is setting a conference call including team members from various Countries. Still we should know that the model is working for some of the Organisations, which means the model can work for others also, considering all these factors in your Project planning & getting the top-line support.

If this model is implemented effectively, all employees can work as per their work day and the work can be completed much earlier, as someone will be working on the task 24 hours a day. Also, it is a good model from an employee perspective, as the employees will have more work-life balance. For Global support, this model is being followed to some extent and people can provide 24 x 7 support throughout the year while working in their daytime. I hope, the Tech Blog section readers will find this post useful.

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