From cost savings to freeing up company resources, from shortage of talents in specific fields to strategic focus on core business, there are many reasons why businesses choose to outsource.
Whatever the reasons for outsourcing, it can be easy to make mistakes that turn into big pitfalls.
Fortunately, we have gathered here-under the 11 biggest and most repeatable mistakes that everyone neglects.
Here they are:
1/ Not kicking off the project by a face-to-face meeting with developers!
Before you start working together, you should take the time to make sure you’re on the same page about tasks that need to be done, timelines, payments, and other key details. Making the assumption that all of your expectations, systems, and deadlines are clear could lead to some big setbacks. Also, misunderstand mutual commitments may lead to painful collaborating experiences.
2/ Not asking in details about previous portfolios before hiring
Whether you’re outsourcing content, graphic design, or social media, or mobile app development, it makes sense to review the work of anyone you’re considering working with. Not only will you know that they’re capable of quality work, you’ll get a feel for their working style. Don’t hesitate to ask them about some past experiences and see how they react in hard situations. Most of the time, failure comes from differences in working attitude, not from their working capacities themselves.
3/ Not communicating enough while working together
Communication needs to keep going beyond that initial meeting; providing a detailed process, making yourself available for questions, and setting up checkpoints to make sure that the project is going in the right direction are also important steps.
This is especially crucial with complex projects, where a minor miscommunication can add up to big problems. To avoid those miscommunications, and subsequent finger pointing, it’s better to keep an open dialogue while the project is going on.
For offshore outsourcing team, the best practice that we always apply with our customers is to fix a regular check-point even when everything goes smooth. Keep your communication channel open and easily reachable in case the developers need a quick discussion.
4/ Being slow to pay what you owe
A surefire way to run off talent is by leaving them hanging when it’s time to pay an invoice or an installment. It’s not good business practice overall, and it’s also not going to get you good results. Encourage them nicely with on-time payment to receive back great results.
5/ Expecting top notch work for minimum wage prices (or prioritize cheap over cost-effective)
Labor rates vary from country to country. But assuming you can pay the lowest price negotiable, no matter where you’re hiring from, and still expect premium work is a mistake. You will need to pay remote workers a fair compensation if you want them to do a good job. And remember, good developers don’t sacrifice the quality for money.
6/ Prioritize freelancers over outsourcing companies, assuming this option is much cheaper and more controllable
Many customers run to us after very bad experiences with freelancers. Most of the time, they thought that freelancers might be cheaper in cost and easier to controlled. However, the underlying risk is that individual freelancers are also human, with their own personal/familial/health-related issues, they work on their own so when there are unexpected events arise and affect the project deadline, they don’t have immediate back-up. Their working process may be not clear and standardized, so when they feel a project is hard to overcome, they tend to easily drop off the customers and go for better remunerated ones.
7/ Not confirming changes or updates of requirement by written emails
Sometimes the customers have a quick change or an idea that arises at certain moment, they chat with developers and think that developers know what they mean. At the end, the outcome is totally different from what customers expected. This situation is not rare. For professional companies, every detail, change in requirements or new features must be confirmed in written email, net and clean. This step in our process ensures that both customers and developers understand the same thing and plays as the base for the delivery of results later.
8/ Failing to predefine the measurements of performance and to put them in place
Outsourcing naturally takes processes out of sight. Without measurement systems, those processes are also out of mind. Determine how you will measure performance to standards, diligently measure performance to standards. Failing to define the measurements often leads to later disputes between customers and developers. In outsourcing companies, they will provide you a checklist of delivery features so both sides can follow up the advancement of the project.
9/ Outsourcing all functions that are direct touchpoints to customers
Quick definition: Fulfillment “touches” a customer, but indirectly; resolving a customer complaint, for example, directly touches a customer. Some companies outsource their customer service functions with less than outstanding results. A small business can’t afford anything less than an outstanding result. If it touches the customer — sales, customer service, answering calls or emails — keep it in-house. The touchpoints between the company and their customers are also their assets and their business advantages. Never outsource these parts to outsiders.
10/ Going all in
Do you only have one vendor or supplier for a critical supply, product, or service? Of course not. Treat outsourcing the same way. What if your outsourcing partner unexpectedly goes out of business? What would you do? Or what if your activity spikes and your partner can’t handle the workload? Always have redundant capacity in place — or at the very least, a concrete plan to back up this situation even in short time.
11/ Ignoring an exit strategy
Every agreement should include criteria for disengagement: Failure to meet standards, failure to maintain sufficient capacity… or simply how and when you can disengage if outsourcing hasn’t paid off in terms of cost or time savings. We don’t expect this clause come to effective, but always foresee the last resort to protect your business and your budget. At this point, working with a legal structure is always ensuring than an individual. Ask your lawyer about this statement. We believe they will say the same.