3 must-have skills for both clients and vendors in outsourcing
You’ve a great idea or serious need… you’re trying to outsource the development part of it. You go the usual route to find an outsourcing vendor and they don’t work. Now what? What are the skills you should be looking for in a vendor?
Working with a number of clients over the past 11 years, we’ve learned that there are 3 characteristics that make an outsourcing engagement successful. These are proven skills and attributes that form the foundation of a successful engagement. The 3 skills are:
Transparency – you need a vendor that can keep everything from the work process to delivery, work assignments to the project progress, and expectations to outcomes. We’re not discussing a micro-management scenario; we are demonstrating the need for a complete transparency to keep everyone in the project on the same page. There should be no scope for “you didn’t ask”, or “need to know basis” for information flows.
Collaboration – your vendor should be as enthusiastic as you are about your project. Software projects are no longer run on a clear bound-script specifications. Business challenges evolve, get discovered, refined for finer details and find you in the “pivot” points. You must have a vendor that is able to and have strong belief in collaboration throughout the development process. If your stance is to just select the vendor that offers the lowest price, you’re ruling out the possibility of any potential collaboration!
Accountability – there is a difference between performing a task versus taking ownership of a task. The former is more of an obligation, where as the latter is a responsibility. Obligations are subjected to compromises based on events or contingencies… responsibility knows no compromises. Do you have a vendor that feels like they own your business challenge and feel like their skin is in the game to solve it?
You should introspect how well is your due diligence in these 3 areas. On the surface, it might look like this is real common sense… however, we’ll know that common sense is really not that common! The usual questions to references such as “did they deliver on time” don’t really scratch the surface with these important characteristics.
We must note that these 3 skills are must have for both the client and the vendor. The need for display of these characteristics are equally important from the client side. You cannot be expecting your vendor to be transparent when you’re not; collaboration has no meaning if it’s one-sided and people follow the leader when it comes to accountability (or the lack of it).