Outsourcing Checklist: 5 Steps for a Smooth Project
Relying on an external team for your IT needs can be highly rewarding, as long as you follow certain steps.
As an IT outsourcing company, we have plenty of experience in understanding what makes an outsourcing project work. Unfortunately, we have also heard plenty of stories from new customers who have run into all kinds of trouble getting involved in outsourcing projects in the past, which has made them hesitant to give it another try.
So, in this article, we’re going to present our knowledge – gleaned from years of experience seeing projects through from start to successful finish – on some of the simple yet important steps needed in order to ensure your outsourced project is a success.
1. Get all team players to ‘own’ the project (by agreeing on it)
This is number 1 on our list as it’s both the first step and also one of the most important. IT development is an industry that is about turning dreams and ideas into functional realities. However, there is always some kind of limit to what is possible, and that limit is defined by aspects such as time, budget, and technological capacity and capabilities.
For these reasons, it’s important that both customers and the IT development providers are absolutely transparent in the planning stages of a project. The IT development company should not present technical possibilities to a client without first having the technical team agree that those features are actually possible.
The technical team should have an active role early on in the project’s ideation and planning stages, so that they can shape expectations for what will be delivered early on in the process. In this way, bad surprises can be avoided for all sides.
2. Foster Communication
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: communication is key. It’s also a concept that is obvious in theory, but actually realizing it is a bit more difficult.
To put it simply, communication between the various stakeholders in the project (the customer, the project manager, project owner, outsourcing management and the technical team members) should not be left to chance. The allocation of a dedicated project owner (PO) whose role is to understand the project inside and out, and represent the technical team’s views and approach to the customer, is very important.
Formalized, pre-agreed communication channels (such as a dedicated Slack channel) between the outsourced team and the customer should also be set up, so that any complications can be expressed and resolved quickly and efficiently.
3. Regular meeting times
Leading on from the last point, communication also means having set, pre-arranged meeting times between all the stakeholders so that the project’s status can be presented, and any obstacles that require the agreement or the input of the different parties can be overcome.
The question of how often meetings should be held is a bit of a difficult one, as it all depends on the context and complexity of the project. However, a general rule to follow is that they should be regular, but shouldn’t be so frequent that they end up becoming a distraction and waste of time.
A good approach is to start by holding weekly meetings, and then evaluate how long those meetings take. If they are stretching on beyond two hours, it will probably make sense to have them more frequently. If all issues get covered in less than an hour, and people run out of things to say and start repeating themselves just to fill the time, then it might make sense to spread them out a little more.
4. Choose the most appropriate collaborative software
Last month we wrote an article presenting some of the best collaborative software suites for remote work arrangements. There are plenty of them out there to choose from, and the best each have special advantages that suit different situations and projects.
The collaborative software used for working on each project should be an issue that is agreed on by both the customer/client and the outsourcing team.
5. Promote honesty as a virtue
Of course, we all know that honesty is a virtue.
However, when it comes to remote work arrangements, it becomes an essential ingredient in the success of the project.
Now, we are not implying that lying is a common problem in remote work environments. What is a problem is the failure to properly communicate problems such as dissatisfaction with a delivery or technical obstacles, which in the long run can build up and create bigger issues later on.
In this way, it is important for both the customer and the Project Owner/technical team to be absolutely transparent about the status, satisfaction, and technical limitations of a project.
Do you have an IT project you want to turn into reality? Get in touch and find out how Bocasay can make it happen.