Offshore outsourcing has become a business tool every organization turns to at some time or the other, for different reasons. While offshore outsourcing has benefits, it is not a cakewalk to get your work done through a company that operates from a different country and culture. Given below are some tips for successful offshore outsourcing.
Proper documentation is vital to a good outsourcing deal. It is integral at every stage of the outsourcing process, right from the agreement between the two companies. The buyer company also needs to hand over the processes properly documented to the vendor. This cannot be overemphasized- just consider that workers from the same country and language environment as the buyer find it difficult to understand your requirements. Things can appear far more confounded to workers from a different location and different culture.
It is important to train your offshore outsourcing team. These people need to understand how the product works. Ideally, they should receive orientation from the buyer company and also be able to view things from the end user’s perspective. If the buyer has the software developed across multiple sites across the globe, they need to set up a clear understanding between these various sites. It is also important to have a well defined change process, so that only the changes the buyer needs are incorporated into the final product.
Quality is a crucial issue in offshore outsourcing. Ensure that the vendor you choose has proper domain knowledge and is also financially viable. The contract should also safeguard your intellectual property interests.
What is Outsourced?
A company that considers outsourcing has to give a lot of thought to what is being outsourced. The outsourced project should have fairly non-volatile requirements to make it successful. On the other hand, outsourcing a project where requirements change often and the product evolution has to be frequently checked is much harder.
Contrary to common perception, time management is not the concern of the vendor alone. It is very important for the client to have its concerned personnel accessible to the vendor when they need feedback. Thus planning time and priorities of the in-house staff associated to the project is necessary for the success of an outsourcing relationship.
The clients have to ensure that they are placing their best project managers to handle an outsourced project. It is not sufficient that the vendor has a project manager on their side. A good in-house project manager helps to ensure good relationships and smooth progress of the work.
One of the most important steps in planning for offshore outsourcing is to anticipate delays. The same applies for costs too. As a rule, you can expect a 30% increase to the estimated time when you are outsourcing the first software project. You will need to monitor the progress to see if this will need a further extension. Ensure that the vendor engages the same team for the entire duration of the project, as changing personnel in a major way results in further delays.
It is also a sensible approach to have some placebo support at home. This means that you have a back up system of tools, information systems and processes, just in case. The offshore team will need access to the source code, defect tracking systems, database, platform applications and so on, that are being used by your in-house IT team.
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