Making Sure Your Outsourced Project is on Track
 
Making Sure Your Outsourced Project is on Track

When you offshore a project or a task of a project to an external agency, one of the biggest concerns is control. One of the biggest mistakes, then, that companies make when turning over an IT project to an outside company, whether than company is local or as far away as India, is not maintaining the same level of diligent control over the project that they would keep if the project were begin done in house.

It is important to use the same project management methods to assure that offshoring freelancers or companies are held accountable to a strict set of standards and that their work is being checked that it is on track with what the company needs and has asked for. If you turn over a project to an external vendor and walk away for a month or two without any review over what they are doing, you have a high probability that you will not get what you asked for when the product is delivered.

Local control over the work being done by offshoring companies is critical to assure the business is getting what they are paying for from the company doing the work. This is just as important whether the job is a two week long documentation project or a three year project development process. There should be a single management individual assigned to keeping tabs on the vendor or vendors to whom the work was offshored and to hold them accountable on a at least a weekly basis.

There is no substitute for maintaining a tight adherence to project management standards even if the tasks of the project are being offshored. That means that the project must go through a strict requirements definition and specifications development so when you turn the project over to the offshoring company, they have a clear mandate for what they are being assigned to do. Before the freelance contractor or offshoring business is given the contract to perform the work, they must participate in the project definition phase and sign off that they understand the ENTIRE project and the expectations and deliverables for the phase they are accepting.

Further, it is important that the contractor understand the interfaces they must be able to support and the business needs of the project itself. There are no IT projects that exist in a vacuum. They all are justified by the needs of the business. And just as internal IT departments are held accountable to those business needs, external vendors doing the work in an offshoring mode must also understand those requirements so they can deliver a product that fits the need of the project in the first place.

Projects being done in an offshoring mode must also participate in routine project team meetings, even if that participation is by conference call. These weekly meetings are crucial for assuring the project is on track and to surface any problems, questions and follow up tasks that must be done both internally and by the vendor to assure the project is not drifting away from the scope and the specifications of the definition documents.

Vendors performing work for the IT department must also be prepared to submit weekly status reports and to undergo routine reviews of the work they are doing by internal management. These communications tools can be used by the internal project coordinator to monitor that offshored project steps are being conducted in sync with what the company asked for and that the project is on target for completion in accordance with the project schedule drawn up before development gets underway.

If the offshoring company balks at being held to a standard or auditing and communication about their project progress, that is grounds to eliminate them during the RFP process. Early in the process of selecting the company to receive the contract to perform the offshored work, you must determine that the vendor understands the project development method and that they will be compliant with the process and answerable to management's questions and concerns.

They must also be aware that change to the project specifications are not to be tolerated without the formal process of going through change management to assure the changes are in step with the project goals. If the vendor is able and willing to abide by these constraints, you will have a productive and fruitful business relationship with them.



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Articles
Appropriate or Inappropriate Offshoring

Backing Into the Project Plan

Cyber Programmers

Finding the Right Offshore Software Developer

Help Staying Cutting Edge

How to Make a Mess of Offshoring

It's All in the Offshoring Contract

Know Your Contractor Inside Out

Living up to the Contract

Make Your Contractors Work for You

Making Sure Your Outsourced Project is on Track

Managing a Diverse Team

Minding the Store

Offshoring Testing

Offshoring Out of the Country

On Sending Your IT Work to India

Protecting Yourself in an Offshoring Situation

Selling Management on Software Development Offshoring

Taking the Teeth Out of Offshoring

Taking Your Web Development Elsewhere

The Contractor's Attitude

When NOT to Outsource

When the Contractors Leave

Who Can- Give You Great SEO?

Why Not Let Writers do Your Technical Writing?

 

Disclaimer: The Publisher has strived to be as accurate and complete as possible in the creation of this website, notwithstanding the fact that he does not warrant or represent at any time that the contents within are accurate due to the rapidly changing nature of the Internet.

This site is a common sense guide to Making Sure Your Outsourced Project is on Track. In practical advice websites, like anything else in life, there are no guarantees of income made. Readers are cautioned to reply on their own judgment about their individual circumstances to act accordingly.

This site is not intended for use as a source of legal, business, accounting or financial advice. All readers are advised to seek services of competent professionals in legal, business, accounting, and finance field.

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