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Outsourcing paradox

The place I work has a lot of projects going and they are looking into outsourcing some of them to companies that will do the work for a fixed bid.  I am assisting on some of the internal workings.  There is a huge amount of documentation that must be produced by us just to get reasonable bids.

It occurred to me that the level of organization and management required to allow another company to do your project successfully is immense because you can't really expect to speak to them every day and tell them to change direction every week.  If you did it could violate the contract and the fixed bid would be invalid.  You need to really decide what you want up front in excruciating detail and you must be prepared to manage the project strictly every step of the way.  You need milestones and deadlines and public floggings.

It then occurred to me that if a company took this level of care in planning and managing an internal project, it could likely be done for the same cost, or even less.

Name withheld out of cowardice
Friday, January 9, 2004

There are many ways in which you can manage outsourcing.

One of the ways is to hire a remote team of a few people.

You asign them tasks, they send you daily timesheets.

You keep in touch daily via e-mail, IM, and phone.

Each month, you have to pay the company that legally employs the team.

I've seen it done, and it works well.

Friday, January 9, 2004

> There is a huge amount of documentation that must be produced
> by us just to get reasonable bids.

So, don't outsource. Invest your energy/budget in some more valuable.

Evgeny Gesin /
Friday, January 9, 2004

It's not really up to me.  I am neither for it nor agin it.  I just thought it was an interesting concept that a company has a problem with software development costing too much so it tries outsourcing but to outsource successfully they have to get organized enough that I think the same thing could be done cheaply in house.

I wasn't looking for advice.  I think to some extent this site is for programmers to perform intellectual masturbation in-between coding sessions.  I was just trying to provide some porn.

Name withheld out of cowardice
Friday, January 9, 2004

I tend to find the most successful outsourcing stories come out of companies with a ISO mindset. As they already document the living crap out of everything, it simply becomes an issue of where the coders work each day.

Friday, January 9, 2004

Another reason to hate ISO stuff. :)

Friday, January 9, 2004

The only successful outsourcing stories I have to tell involve companies with _outstanding_ technical architects and project managers in place who help manage the complex processes.

And these stories are few and far between.

dir at badblue dot com
Friday, January 9, 2004

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