7 Sins of Product Outsourcing….avoid them!

  1. Is cost saving the only reason for your outsourcing?  STOP, don’t commit this sin. If your fund burn-rate is greater than your productivity-rate, fix that problem. It is the wrong reason to try to move the goal post to hide from the real problem, face it, and solve it. If you don’t you will not only dig a bigger hole for yourself, but you will also be pulling the curtain aside on your organisation and everyone, including the holders of the purse strings, will come to know of the disaster waiting to happen or even happening.
  2. Do you want an experienced resource with excellent technical skill? Why are you settling for less? Saving money, AGAIN! Another sin to NOT commit. Having the best resource is beneficial for the product and its longevity, having a bad resource is… do we need to spell it out? For a given budget, it is far better to have one good resource rather than two average resources.
  3. Can you name your resources? WHAT you have signed-up with an organisation that controls who will be working for your product on any given day or is that even any given hour? STOP, yet another sin you don’t want to commit. You are building a product NOT executing some minor two-bit project. You want the team to be there with the product way into the future, they will become your knowledge bank, and you definitely don’t want them to walk out the door any time soon. Expect the effort you spend to get their buy-in to your product to pay dividends for a long time. Resources with no commitment to you are not what you want to build your outsourcing team with.
  4. Have you shared the product vision with your resources? WHY NOT? If you don’t do this, what you will end-up with is a 9-to-5 mind-set. Your passion for your product will never be a match to theirs, but it can asymptotically approach your levels of passion, albeit not in the near future. More than any other sin this particular one is committed most often by product owners, and yet they are surprised that the team doesn’t share the passion for the product. This sin, if committed, has terrible long-term consequences.
  5. Planning ahead is the most important part of managing the work of your remote resources. Of course, we all know this, but how far do you go to ensure this is done. You must NOT commit this sin. Typically, if you don’t want your remote resources sitting idle, you must be planning ahead your product catalogue by at least three to six months. This is also the toughest aspect of product outsourcing.
  6. Do you trust your resources enough to allow them the occasional mistake? Do you trust them enough with your product IP? If not, STOP, don’t outsource. There are many ways of achieving trust in both these cases; one is to use the full gamut of available technological opportunities, second, use the legal avenues to get contractual obligation from all the parties involved. REMEMBER, too much, and you will have problems building trust for the long term. TRUST, is a necessity if you want to successful product outsourcing.
  7. REMEMBER, when you decide on product outsourcing, you are in for the long-haul. If you think otherwise then STOP, you don’t need to proceed further. Else look for a partner, not a fly-by-night operator, preferably a partner who knows the pain of product development.  Don’t compromise on the quality of the partner or resources. A good partner will help a start-up and a mature product organisation with the same commitment and diligence. He will have the right resourcing partners to get the best people for you, he will have knowledge of processes best suited for product development, and will help you put them in place. What are you waiting for? The journey starts with the first step… so take your first step, and have a very profitable “bon voyage”.

About KM Mukku

Kick-start, build and manage teams in product development (particularly in the financial domain), and enjoy all in adaptive case management, business process design and business process improvement. Currently holding the position of CTO at coMakeIT.
This entry was posted in agile, process, product management, product outsourcing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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