Last week I had a chance to connect with an old friend of mine – a serial entrepreneur, a pioneer of electronic commerce and outsourcing survivor. His first outsourcing initiative turned out a complete disaster and almost cost him the company. The human memory works in very peculiar way – we look back through pink spectacles – most of the negative events of the past do not seem nearly as painful as they felt at the moment. Yet John did not have any sentimental memories about his outsourcing attempt or anything good to say about the experience his team went through. He, as most successful business people, doesn’t blame someone for it, learned from it, and I am certain that if he ever goes through another outsourcing deal it won’t be anything close to the ordeal he went through. That’s if he ever tries outsourcing again…
So, what do you need to do to make sure that your first outsourcing project doesn’t become the last one?
1. Do your homework. You wouldn’t attempt to fly airplane without learning how to do it first? Outsourcing is a very sophisticated tool and using it without understanding is certain to backfire.
2. Start small. Was your first driving experience a trip around the country? Most likely not. Consider it when picking your first project.
3. Minimize risks. I do not mean to state blindly obvious. What I mean is that outsourcing is a risk by itself, so minimize every risk that you can. Learn about risks and cons of outsourcing and eliminate as much as you can. For example time difference introduces a high risk – so go with a nearshore vendor to eliminate it.