Outsourcing Does Not Mean Handing Over Control!

…. That is if you do it right, of course. Many times the objection to outsourcing a particular part of your product development or a support service sounds like this:

“If we outsource XYZ then we will [risk the level of quality / may get a late delivery / risk our brand image] and therefore we prefer to do it in-house.”

While this is all true it ignores the fact that you face the same risks if you decide not to outsource a process your current team is not capable of handling properly. You still fail, you are just more immediately responsible for it. Why this might make someone feel better is an interesting question for the field of psychology but beyond the scope of this post.

Instead, it is interesting to look at ways to avoid agency conflicts between you and a service provider you consider outsourcing a service to. The list below is by no means complete:

  • Due Diligence: Research the company profile and service package, ask for references, check the background of key employees, check company records if available, look at the website – does it look professional and trustworthy?
  • Meet: If you have the option of meeting the team, do it – this can answer many questions. If they are too far away, have a Skype conversation. If you feel they are hesitant to have this conversation, the likelihood is high that something is wrong.
  • Structure: Once you decide you want to go ahead, make sure targets and milestones are clearly defined. If they ask for payment in instalments, only pay for each milestone that has been reached.

These are just a few examples of things you could – and should – do before outsourcing a service, and they are by no means a guarantee that you have eliminated all your risks. You still have to be a diligent project manager and monitor the progress closely throughout. However, if you take these three steps you have a much bigger chance of turning your outsourcing project into a success!


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