Saturday, November 23

The Importance of Communication in Outsourcing

When outsourcing some people think that it's as easy as giving the offshore company the requirements and letting them do their thing, and then come back some time later to pick up the finished product. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Outsourcing a project to an offshore company can meet failure due to several reasons, the most common one being lack of communication between the buyer and the seller.

Many buyers do not consider the importance of regular communication on all stages of the project development until it's too late. Many barely talk to the company between the moment they award the project and the end of the deadline. And this is a big mistake. Like in-house employees, offshore companies need someone to manage their work and keep them on the right track.

When you do not communicate, you waste time which you could have applied fixing problems … and ever you start losing money if you're dependent on a deadline. Remember that when you outsource a project, you are working with people who may be on the other side of the globe: that means time zone differences, language barriers, and communication technology limits.

Ultimately, however, poor communication can start as soon as you submit your project. On GetACoder the buyer is in charge of opening a public project with clearly-stated requirements. Many projects fail because the buyer does not write down these requirements well enough and just assumes the coder has understood him. Truth is, most coders just want to win projects and will say anything to convince you to give them, including claiming they know what you want; they will also waste a lot of your time while pretending that they have a clear idea about it until they confess they're clueless and abandon it, leaving you have to start over.

It might look like outsourcing projects is just not worth it. That's not so: thousands of outsourced projects are completed every year, from the smallest application to the most complex website. All it takes is keeping in some important points:

1) Start with a good project description of what you want. You can take advantage of message boards: use them to discuss the project with the companies during the earlier stages. Make sure they're on the same wavelength as you are. Ask them questions about how they plan to develop it, ask them to restate your objectives, and encourage them to ask you questions too. Companies that do not seem interested in your project may disappear in the middle of it, leaving you stranded.

2) Choose companies fluent in English. Yes, they should just need to have the technical know-how, but you'll need to discuss unforeseeable matters with them, ask for updates and suggest revisions, so you'll want their representative to understand you without problems. Beware misinterpretations born from cultural differences.

3) Consider how much time you can develop to your project on a daily or weekly basis; then set out a schedule and follow it with your chosen company. Keeping a regular schedule, once a day or twice a week, is essential. Make sure the company keeps you updated on the project's developments. Do not be away for too long, and do not let the company go silent either: this is a bad sign.

4) It may be better to break down your project into smaller tasks, each with their own deadlines; that way the project is easier to control and if problems of interpretation arise you can start ironing them out at the beginning instead of letting them grow uncontrollably.

5) Before choosing a company, make sure they have means to keep in touch with you. Sharing e-mail addresses may be good at the beginning, but soon you'll need to be communicating in real time. Fortunately there are lots of cheap, internet-based tools, like Skype, to keep buyer and seller within reach. Ask them how they plan to keep in touch with you during the development phase and see if their methods suit your needs.

Outsourcing projects can be an easy, cost-effective and time-saving solution to your business needs, but never forget that like everything else in the world, it requires commitment from your side.

Source by Madelyn Spencer

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