Out-sourcing and Risk Management

A recent project was a real learning experience about the risks associated with out-sourcing. Not that it would stop me from out sourcing any other work, but rather it taught me how to manage the risks of using someone outside your company.

The project began with everyone positive and upbeat, but then things began ton deteriorate. The schedule began to slip, and the quality of the project began to slide as well. Once this was realized, action was taken to remedy the situation, but it might have been too late. Trust with the client had begun to falter, and action was needed.

As part of the effort to rebuild trust, I drafted up an outline of the things that went wrong in the project, and how I might avoid at from happening in the future.

  • If you cannot see the person working, then make sure that you can communicate on a regular basis, and that you are seeing their handiwork often to ensure that progress is being made.
  • Never assume anything about the project. Always ask about every little detail, so that you truly know where the project stands.
  • When budgeting, make sure that you use a buffer sufficiently large that were things to go severely downhill, you could still deliver within budget.
  • Use milestones to cap the amount of work that needs to be done at any one point in time. That way, if any pArt of the project falls bend, there’s a limit on the amount of damage to the entire project it can cause.
  • A tiny percentage of projects in IT finish both on time and on budget. Don’t stick to one to the absolute exclusion of the other.

There are other lessons, but theism I feel, real get to the gist if what can go wrong. Sometimes you need to sacrifice part of a project to meet a successful conclusion, and sometimes, the decisions that need to be made are tough.

That’s why not everyone is cut out for this kind of work – you can become a pretty unpopular person at times, but if you’re patient, the reward will come.