Bits & Bytes
The Monthly Newsletter from Outsource2india
May 2009, Volume 15

10 Tips to Make your Outsourcing Venture Successful

  1. Define project and schedule requirements: Your service provider needs to know your exact requirements, if you want a successful outsourcing project. Tell your vendor your exact project requirements. This will help your vendor provide you with a realistic proposal and a reasonable price. Ensure that you tell your vendor about the specific deliverables that you require. Be realistic about schedule requirements as project schedules are directly linked to project costs. Provide your offshore vendor with in-depth information about the process you want followed and the exact requirements of your deliverables.
  2. Choose an experienced service provider: While hunting for the ideal offshore vendor who could handle your project, choose the one that has experience in the work that you are going to offshore. The more experienced a service provider is, he will be better able to handle your project even if it is complex. If you are planning on outsourcing software development, look for a vendor who has had sufficient experience in this platform. On the other hand if you wish to outsource market research or CAD, it is best to contact a vendor who has been providing these services.
  3. Don't go by the price factor: Never decide on a service provider based only on price. Several companies who have successfully outsourced their projects, have advised never to go for the highest-priced or lowest-priced vendor, but to choose a vendor who offers quality services at a nominal price. Finding a vendor who can meet your requirements is more important than a low-priced vendor who will provide you with low quality work.
  4. Asses your offshore vendor in the same way you would assess a new employee: While choosing an offshore vendor, ask questions in the same way if you would be hiring a new employee for your company. Ask your service provider for references and testimonials from customers who have previously used their services. In case you are worried about a few specific concerns, discuss them with your vendor.
  5. Ask your service provider for samples of their work: Before finalizing on a vendor, ask them for previous work samples. This will give you a fair enough idea if their work can meet the level of quality that you desire. If you are still not convinced after reviewing the work portfolio of your offshore vendor, you could ask them for a trial, where you could give them a small portion of your work and measure their level of quality, accuracy and turnaround time. Most offshore vendors provide a free 5 day free trial that you can easily avail of. A quick mock-up will give you a fair enough idea whether to choose a particular vendor.
  6. Start by outsourcing a small project: If you are trying out a new service provider for the first time, it would be better to first outsource a project that is small and not very complex. After your vendor works on the project, you will get a better idea about your service provider's capabilities and you can decide if you want to outsource a critical or complex project to the service provider.
  7. Define your project milestones: Create a clearly defined work plan with milestones for the project that you are outsourcing. Schedule reviews, wherein you will review the status of your project at regular intervals. This is an easy way to ensure that your deadlines and product standards have been met consistently. The next step is to tie your offshore vendor's payments to these milestones. At the onset of the project, ensure that you pay only 20% - 30% of the total price. Tell your vendor that the rest of the payments will be made on the successful completion of the milestones that you have set.
  8. The ownership of your work: Ensure that your vendor is clear about the ownership of the final product or the completed work. Tell your offshore partner how you exactly plan to use the deliverables that they are going to work on. This is very important especially if you have outsourced the development of a software application that you are planning to sell.
  9. Ask for support after the project is completed: Ask your vendor for warranty so that you are sure of getting support from the vendor after the project is completed. It is easier to ask for a support clause before the work begins, rather than after the project is completed. Asking for free support or a discounted price for modifications can help you save on time, money and effort.
  10. Acquire all your agreements in writing: When you communicate the scope of the project, the payment or the schedule, ensure that you give everything in writing and insist on a written confirmation, agreeing to your terms, from your vendor. In case, your vendor requests for agreement changes, later on, keep a record of the changes and your confirmation. Ensure that you save copies of any important email exchanges that you have with your vendor.

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