Service Outsourcing has been a valuable strategy from day one of its existence and has played a crucial role in aggressive and structured growth of Software or IT industry across the world. It is very important for developing countries such as India, Ukraine or China to understand that service outsourcing is not only improvising the IT industry, it is also improving the economy and thus it our responsibility that every active participant of this industry should do a good job and make it a successful and stress-free process.
My current article/blog is useful for all those business owners who are looking for a software development companies and have struggled to get quality deliverables and software development companies who are offering their services. Being associated with an IT industry for more than a decade as a client engagement consultant, I’ve seen many outsourcing engagements getting failed on minor and major issues and have seen business owners losing their confidence in outsourcing.
There are certain things which every business owner and service provider should keep in mind before getting into a business engagement to avoid losing the charm of working and learning together. These pointers depict my industry experience and feedbacks which I got from my clients/mentors.
1. Project Deliveries are must: This is most important thing which defines the success of your partnership. Delivering the solution ON TIME and ON BUDGET is what every business owner wants from their solution providers, however delivering the product or solution which meets or better, yet Exceeds client expectation is what service provider has to aim for.
2. Communicate and Communicate: Another most important factor which defines whether your partnership is worth or not. Transparency is a key here and any side which is not communicating may or will result in deliverables which are either not expected or buggy.
• As a service provider, if you notice that deliverable is getting late, let client know as soon as you are aware instead of waiting for the due date or any pre-scheduled meeting.
• As a business owner, if you notice something which needs to fixed, changed or can have an impact on deliverables then let the service provider know to avoid delays.
3. Client is not a Google or Wiki: As a solution provider, if you come across any problem while executing the project (late deliverable, requirements which are not met, etc.), don’t just assume that client will know the solution for it. You have to reach out to client but with few options/solutions that can address them and hopefully fix them.
4. Consistency and Quality Assurance: Missing client reviews, untested solution are big reasons for frustrations. No one likes to see half-cooked solution or waiting for feedbacks or stuff to review.
• As a solution provider, you got to make sure that you are delivering a quality solution each time, not just at the end of a project. Client reviews are must and shall be taken very seriously. A thorough QA is must on each module which goes to client for review and confirm whether solution is as per expectations.
• As a business owner, you should give the honest feedback considering that module as a milestone. If something is missing, you should report that and if any changes are must then you can update the CR’s form.
5. Game of Project Plan: Most projects fail to adhere to the timelines defined in it. Project plan, created by a service providers which includes work break down structure, resources allocated etc. and to make sure that deliverables happen on time. Both business owners and service provider’s needs to make sure that:
• Timelines mentioned in project plan should include time for thorough QA and time to make any fixes as a result of the QA
• Project manager should review the solution, no matter whether a QA member is working on the project or not. PM hours defined in Project plan should cover it.
6. Over Commitment kills: Client is getting mad, team is getting frustrated and hours are increasing like price of petrol. Companies are missing deadlines, tasks which should have taken XX hours are taking XX days. This is another reason outsourcing partnerships don’t work.
• As a service provider, your PM’s should carefully commits on timelines to business owners and then should stick to it and get back to the client when they say they will. It is advisable that Project Managers should consult with their teams and understand what client is asking is possible to carry out and if yes then in what time duration.
• As a business owner, you should cross check with project managers on timelines and understand that sometimes it’s not possible to discuss and start all the Change requests on a go.
7. Client is a King: One who pays for the project is always right, provided as a service provider you understand what client needs.
• No matter what service provider says, result of each activity and tasks has to make client feel that they are your top priority and you are working towards exceeding their expectations.
• Business owners should also understand that they don’t take things for granted. If something has not been addressed by team, try to get the details before thinking otherwise. It’s true that you are paying for team, but few things cannot be purchased and they too are human!
These are very common things and we might come across many of them on daily basis, however if you observer closely they are quite major and important. It’s surprising to see how easily you can remove your stress and make a successful engagement. We just cannot ignore all of them especially when we are one of the active players in outsourcing industry.