Friday, March 31, 2006

20 Questions To See If You Are Ready To Outsource

Some software development companies are jumping into software outsourcing before they are ready. They hire a team, sometimes the wrong one, and then expect them to start producing software right away. In their rush, they skip the planning, goal setting and careful evaluation of how outsourcing fits into their organization.

What does it mean to be ready for outsourcing? Is there a way to measure your readiness? Now you can answer a set of twenty questions on-line to get an idea of where you stand. The results will tell you if you are ready to go, if should proceed cautiously, or that you should seek immediate help. Here is the link to this free, no obligation, outsourcing readiness test:

One company I met with recently is already doing outsourced software development from their engineering group. "How is it going?" I asked. "It depends on who you talk to," I was told. The executives of the company thought it was going great. The company was paying less for engineering talent. Board members seemed satisfied.

But after further conversation, I learned the engineering department had never really bought into the concept of outsourcing. They resisted working with the outsourced team. Their results were actually less than spectacular. Clearly this was a company not completely ready for outsourcing.

And look at this email I received the other day:

We are looking to get started soon. I would like to get a quote from your firm for its services. I need an auction style web site to be built that could withstand up to 10 million hits per day. I need to know how fast it can be built and how much it will cost. I look forward to hearing from you...

I replied asking for more information about what was needed. At least a few additional details or some sort of specification are required to give any meaningful answer. If you do not have these details prepared, you are probably not ready to outsource.

And if you are not ready to outsource, you face the risks of extra costs, huge delays and the complete failure of your outsourced software development.

Why do people start outsourcing without planning? There are different reasons. Sometimes it is ignorance. Other times it is an intense desire to get the software developed as quickly as possible.

Before you jump into outsourcing make sure you are ready. Take this free test and think about your answers. Be honest. Then seek out advice and other resources to help in areas where you need improvement.

The on-line readiness test divides the questions into four areas - Your Previous Outsourcing Experience, Technology, Business, and Management Approach.

Even if you are not completely ready for outsourcing, you can get help to compensate for areas of weakness. That is the other benefit of the readiness test - just by answering the questions honestly, you can focus on areas where you may need help to minimize your outsourcing risks.

The help you need in these areas can come from several different sources. It might be books and articles that describe proven methods for outsourcing. It might be software tools to help you manage outsourcing. Or it might mean hiring additional resources that have outsourcing experience.

Don't get discouraged if you get a low score on the readiness test. Remember that one of the seven deadly dangers of outsourcing is not taking advantage of outsourcing at all. Learn from your test results and make the changes needed to make your outsourcing risk-free.

For details read here.