Outsourcing in Running Successful Projects

Almost every project has some form of outsourcing. It may be bringing in a contract laborer, a programming team, or someone to build the entire product. The reasons are varied and include staff augmentation, acquiring a specific talent, risk mitigation and more! Regardless of the situation, project managers need to understand the outsourcing process from all angles to ensure each party gets value from the partnership. Creating the correct business agreement is crucial to attaining the best results for your project.

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Cousin Itt, from the Addams Family

The most common form of outsourcing is to hire resources through a staff augmentation firm. Staff augmentation firms, better known by their less polite nicknames of headhunters or pimps, provide anyone from project managers to developers and testers to fulfill a projects' temporarily needs. These firms match your requirements, based on level of experience in a skill or trade, or talent in dealing in specific situations such as overseas deployments, military contracts, etc., to the people in their database. The challenge remains in getting the correct person, who can ramp-up quickly and integrate into the team.

The system integrator is the magical troupe that works with the customer and the software vendor to deliver a project's desired functionality. They cut through the vendor's promises while controlling the customer's expectations to create a successful deployment. Mike Krigsman refers to this triad as the Devil's Triangle; all three parties are culpable in the failure and share in the success. However, the system integrator is responsible for holding the three together to achieve successful delivery. The cornerstone to this relationship is a thoughtfully built contract.