Outsourcing work overseas is common practice to save money. Sometimes, you get the most out of your work by sending work to low-cost resources. You can utilize saved money to put into various initiatives like infrastructure, hiring skilled reviewers for code review, etc. Sometimes sending work overseas can be disastrous for your company too and you can end up either incomplete project or wasting all money with no result. You may have placed all the checks at every level to make sure that the project complete successfully, but later you will start noticing some unforeseen events, those you never expected, and you will pay a high price to overcome those situations. While making contracts, outsourcing companies’ salespeople over-promise you for your project with the lowest cost, and you decided to go for that. Later they start giving some genuine excuses that you cannot ignore and you pay more to fix that. As a result of that, your outsourcing cost increases and it is a kind of a never-ending process.
For a successful outsourced project, you need to take care of many things, beginning from selecting the outsourcing company to getting the project delivered.
Check the background of the company you are outsourcing:
The moment you let your vendors know that you are looking for work to outsource, you will start getting proposals. Sales managers will give you presentations that they have the experience and expertise to handle this kind of project. They can do the work quickly on the lowest budget possible. Do not get into the trap of such promises. You will get what you are paying for. It doesn’t mean that you need to pay a high price to get good quality work. There are many good companies where you can get quality work out of them at a lower cost. You can find about them with your reference. Ask vendors to provide their client list where they have done are currently working on the same nature of projects. Try to find some link to that company. LinkedIn can be a good tool to find some references. You can contact references to understand the vendor’s work commitments and their experience with the vendor. Go through their client-vendor agreement. See if they have any certification or affiliation needed for the project. There are many more, checkpoint which can help to Choose right vendor. s
Double-check with resources for the project:
Along with selecting the right vendor so you need to finalize suitable resources for the team too. Usually, project demo or proposals are prepared by pre-sales engineers or dedicated resources for new clients. They are quite the experts in doing that. Do not judge working resources and vendors based on the demo. I am not trying to be cynical, but you have to accept this truth. Ask vendors to provide the detailed resume of each resource who is going to work on the project. Check their skillset if these are meeting the minimum needed requirement. Make sure they have done similar work in the past. You may not need all resources equally skilled. choose resources considering many aspects like every aspect of technical skill, teamwork, work ethics, etc.
Pro Tip: Interview at least 5 candidates before finalizing one unless you have worked with someone with good results.
Select the bridge between you and the sourcing team:
Selecting a coordinator between the team is equally important as selecting vendors and resources. You may be sending your work to another country where English is not the first language like India, China or Ukraine, etc. where you can find qualified people but not experts in English. There may be some cultural differences too. You need to select someone from either side who has experience working as a coordinator in the past or has a better understanding of the culture. This will help you in the long run for the project. You should consider having at least one trip to the site if the budget allows or bring someone to your location for a few weeks. This will help them to understand your companies work culture and expectations from them. The coordinator can help the team based on past experience to explain the problem. Sometimes it’s difficult to explain some critical project strategy and you need to reiterate a number of times where your coordinator can explain them on your behalf. If the vendor is working in another time zone then your coordinator needs to be involved in handling this time zone difference and keep the flow regardless of any time zone difference.
Cross-Cultural Training for outsourcing team:
If your budget allows then have some money aside to have cross-cultural training. As I said in the previous section if you are outsourcing our work to another country with a cultural difference then this kind of training will help you on a daily basis. They will understand how you want them to respond in any situation. Office culture in India is different as compared to the US. The way of responding to email is also different for the same situation. It is very important to understand the culture of each other and these things increase the chance of success of the work. It’s not necessary if resources have good experience with working on a similar project.
Consider outsourcing team as a part of your team:
Treat your new team as your own team. Sometimes we outsource monotonous kinds of work, which your employees do not want to do like running regression tests suites on a daily basis. If this work is monotonous for your team then it could be the same for them after a month or so. Try to send some interesting work too. Like every other employee, they are also looking for some interesting work and learn new things. Give them a window of learning new and working on interesting things will encourage them. These will help to increase the productivity of the team. Many managers feel that they outsource the project for a low cost means that they can use contractors to get the maximum work out of them. That is really a very bad strategy. Give them the opportunity to learn and welcome any kind of improvement they are offering. Consider their proposal and ask them to implement it if they are capable of it. Let them feel that they are equally important to another team in your company. Research shows that happy employees are more productive.
Have Contingency Plans Ready:
Attrition is the biggest problem you should be ready to deal with. Most vendors are facing this problem with their employees. Many managers experienced a 100% turnaround in their team within a year. Some will not give you enough time to do knowledge transfer to replacement members. You need to prepare yourself for any unforeseen situation. Make sure you have work rotations in your team to do various kinds of the task to avoid any boredom. Make sure each one of your team can do all kinds of tasks in case of any situation. Do not try to make a dependency on one person. Distribute the work. Periodically conduct cross-functional training in the team. In case of a sudden resignation by someone, will not be impacted severely to the team.
Well defined process:
Make sure you have defined all plans in his place. Have a well-defined project process. Document points of contact that may require any kind of involvement in the project. Defined proper checkpoints for review. Have best practices and lesson learned documents ready so you can save time to review? If possible, before the start of the project conduct training about the process. Go through all documents and explain to the team how to follow the flow and how to define work-completed criteria. Try to conduct various kinds of reviews each delivered work. Have a lessons-learned meeting.
Overall, outsourcing work is not that easy as we think. You should consider these points as initially thought before taking the decision of outsourcing. There are many more points you should consider which are actually not given here but exist and that depends upon the process you defined in the past.
Please share your experience with outsourcing. Do not forget to share.