When it comes to off-shore development teams, for example outsourcing to India, it’s easy to get excited by the perceived low-cost, but it’s important to keep the total cost of ownership in mind.  At Freestyle Source, we take over quite a few projects which just haven’t been able to get across the line, mostly due to a stalemate between the customer and the off-shore team.  For off-shore projects, the payment terms are heavily weighed in the favour of the off-shore team so there is often little incentive to take on any rework or fix-up final tweaks. A real frustration when you feel like you’re so close to finishing a project but just can’t wrap it up!

A recent article gives a nice overview of this perceived saving, factoring in the cost of labour with other ‘hidden’ costs, such as communication, IP (intellectual property) risk and time.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, and there’s certainly a case for using an off-shore team with the right project. In fact, the specific nature of a project is likely to have a direct impact on it’s outsourcing success.

So keep in mind these guidelines when outsourcing:

1) Clear deliverables – set clear deliverables, unambiguous and measurable.  Make sure that there’s no ‘grey area’.

2) Small is better – smaller units of work tend to work better. So either a small project or chunk a larger project into smaller pieces.

3) Keep it short – short time-frames, and short projects have a higher rate of success. So keep it tight, keep it short.