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Right Outsourcing
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  • 1. Venkatesh Balakumar
  • 2. A word of caution Each organisation will have different culture and the suggestions in these slides change according to them. The suggestions here are based on my personal experiences and are based on some common symptoms of outsourcing. your experience may vary and you may need to handle them differently. Venkatesh Balakumar 2
  • 3. Some Definitions Vendor – A outsourcing vendor who provides service to an organisation. Resources – Includes not limited to capable people who are assigned to fulfil a task. Unqualified – Not fit for purpose, unfit. Organisation – A client to vendor. Internal Resource – An employee (full- time/contract) of client organisation. Middlemen – Offshore coordinators and managers who work for vendor. Venkatesh Balakumar 3
  • 4. Why Outsourcing Fail? Communication Gap Unqualified Resources Poor Planning Uncapped Flow of Requirements and Changes More.. Venkatesh Balakumar 4
  • 5. Venkatesh Balakumar 5
  • 6. In a Happy Outsourcing World Customer Manager „ABC‟ Onsite Coordinator ABC „ABC‟ Offshore Coordinator Delivers ABC ABC ABC Developer 1 Developer 2 Developer N Venkatesh Balakumar 6
  • 7. In a real Outsourcing World Customer Manager „ABC‟ Onsite Coordinator ??? „aBc‟ Understood as „abc‟ Offshore Coordinator Say only „a - 2‟ Say only „b - 2‟ Say only „c - 2‟ Developer 1 Developer 2 Developer N Venkatesh Balakumar 7
  • 8. What goes Wrong?(The below are from some of my personal experiences in India) Onsite Coordinator  Did not ask enough questions to understand what the customer wants.  Things were done in a hurry, because the vendor has promised a fake “quick turn around” time. Offshore Coordinator  Asks no questions to understand the requirement.  Communicate only a part of requirement to the Development team. Why? ○ Leadership and Gender Ego ○ Win a on-site trip quickly as “I” know everything the customer wants. (Onsite trips in India are considered to earn lot of money in a shorter duration and gives a possibility of settling down in a developed country) ○ Quickly move away from this project as it is too boring. Venkatesh Balakumar 8
  • 9. How to Fix this? Keep Onsite Coordinator as a internal resource rather than a resource from the vendor. No promises must be made to the vendor on a tour to onsite or onsite opportunities. This must be there from the beginning of the project. Customer Project Managers must Have periodic meetings with the Vendor Team members. Customer Architects must have periodic discussion with the Vendor Team members. No Project Managers or middlemen must be invited to these meeting and discussions. Know the team members and what they do individually. A once in 2 month video conference call will provide more visibility. Have a monthly communication news letter to all the team members of the offshore team. The letter must summarise what is happening in the project, how the project has progressed till now. No appreciation of individuals, always refer to the vendor as a single harmonious team. This email must be sent directly to the vendor team members, no forwarding through middlemen. The offshore managers and middlemen must be facilitators, the customer team must run the show. Venkatesh Balakumar 9
  • 10. What will happen after that? Customers will understand whether the vendor team knows what they want. Customer Architects will make sure that the prescribed practice is followed and if any suggestion is given by the vendor team that will improve the governance it must be welcomed. The Project Managers and Middlemen must be fed back with suggestions to improve the tasks they are assigned to do for the customers. Visible improvement in productivity. Venkatesh Balakumar 10
  • 11. Venkatesh Balakumar 11
  • 12. Resource selection Resource selection must be done by the Customers and not by vendors. Resource need to have a minimum certification or relevant experience in the expected technology. Each resource must be seen, interviewed afresh, no references or recommendations from previous know projects. Interview must test their technical and challenge their communication levels. Explain to the selected resource each and every aspect of the project, each phase, technology, database, requirements etc. Most vendor team members tend to say “yes” for everything, make sure that they can comfortably say “no” if they disagree to anything and give them time to explain why. Venkatesh Balakumar 12
  • 13. Venkatesh Balakumar 13
  • 14. Planning Involve fully with the offshore Project Manager to bring out a proper and complete plan. No outsourcing on this, try to make sure that you as a customer creates the plan completely and get suggestion from the offshore manager not the other way around. If there are any “If‟s” and “But‟s” remove it from the plan and keep them for enhancements. Get input from the offshore team members on the planning aspects. They will provide more ideas. Don‟t rush, otherwise you will end up gaining more Technical Debts. Give some extra time for planning phase. Keep a list of possible issues that may raise in the project and the possible contingency plans for them. Never deviate from plan, what so ever happens. Plan only for 7½ hours a day, Indian offshore companies tend to plan for 12 to 15 hours a day behind the scene to earn more money, never let that happen. Don‟t be lazy get involved fully, the outsourcing industry is not a machine to run automatically, they are all people who must be managed properly. Venkatesh Balakumar 14
  • 15. Venkatesh Balakumar 15
  • 16. Requirement Management We as a customer must be pragmatic in our requirement and must be specific in what we want from the offshore team. No more additions or modifications once the requirement goes for development offshore. Discuss with the offshore team (not the middlemen) on each requirement in brief before it gets implemented and make sure that they have the full requirement document with them. Don‟t be lazy get involved fully, the outsourcing industry is not a machine to run automatically, they are all people who must be managed properly. Venkatesh Balakumar 16
  • 17. More.. Human factor is the most important factor in any industry and it is also true for IT outsourcing. The more human interaction we have the more success we will have in the project. Try to manage humans as humans and not machines or not like herding Sheep. Involve in casual chats, may be once in a month a 1 hour discussion on books that will improve the offshore team‟s enthusiasm (business, technology, innovation, team spirit, self improvement) Venkatesh Balakumar 17