5 strategies for outsourcing success

Seth, the VP Engineering at a fast growing IT firm, carefully evaluated a number of firms that provide outsourcing services and selected one as partner.

He was excited about the prospect of getting more work done for his engineering budget, getting new product to market faster, and beating the competition in the product feature war. But after several months, it became clear that things were not going well

Quality was sub-par, at best, and critical employees ended up hand holding the offshore team, having to re-do much of their work. Costs exceeded the budget in a big way. It was a fiasco.

Another outsourcing partner stepped in turned things around, and helped Seth and his firm understand 5 critical elements needed for outsourcing success:

1) Walk before you run.

Far too often, lured by the savings in engineering cost, executives sign on a substantial offshore team and with limited training, provide them a significant chunk of work to complete with little management oversight.   The effort to come up to speed with product knowledge, domain knowledge and client engineering practices and tools is underestimated

2) Consider sending a Senior Engineer or Manager offshore.

Send a Senior Engineer or Manager offshore for three to six months to train the offshore team on product design and functions, their use cases, and engineering policies and practices used by the company. At the same time, the company culture is transmitted and the offshore team comes to feel part of the team.

3) Send Tech leads or Architects from offshore to the onshore location.

This can be done either on a long-term or shorter term rotational basis. This person can be the liaison and manager for the offshore team, reducing the management effort from engineering employees. They also return to the offshore location equipped to train those working in their teams. The rotational opportunity for offshore engineers can also be treated as a reward for hard work and success on projects, providing incentive and motivation for the offshore team.

4) Grow the team to its full size in stages over several months.

To avoid risk, it might be tempting to bring on only a few offshore engineers at first. However, there is a significant drawback in this approach. The initial training and ramp-up in such an approach is focused only on a few engineers, so engineers joining later will need to be trained once again. A several person team can learn from each other in the initial ramp-up phase, enhancing the ramp-up period.

5) Think carefully about the nature of the work provided to the offshore team. 

To improve the “on the job training” for the offshore team, provide initial work which will enable their understanding of your company. Start with QA and maintenance work on core products. As the team becomes more familiar with the products and your engineering processes, create sub-teams of more senior and talented engineers to work on enhancements and core product components.

Bottom line

Be sure to engage an outsourcing partner that encourages your business to pay considerable attention to establishing and continually enhancing work processes, strong communication and quality reviews to measure the productivity and overall success of their outsourcing relationship.

Menlo Technologies offers managed offshore development services from our Offshore Development Center in Hyderabad, India. Our methodology ensures that you can count on offshore development savings without delivery management hassles.

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