The role of people in the success of offshoring

About Hugo Messer

Hugo Messer is a Dutch entrepreneur, distributed agile team specialist, and author. He is the founder and owner of Bridge Global, a software services provider, and, an agile coaching agency. He has been building and managing teams around the world for the past several years. His passion is to enable people that are spread across cultures, geography and time zones to cooperate. Whether it’s offshoring or nearshoring, he knows what it takes to make global cooperation work.

5 thoughts on “The role of people in the success of offshoring
  1. Hugo, I fully agree with you and would take the impotance of people even a step further. I believe that people are in the centre of offshoring. Treating offshoring as a spreadsheet activity, or just an agreement between two companies is guarenteed to fail.
    It is the people that make the difference. I therefore fully believe in the approach that the key people of both parties (supplier and client) should be selected to be able to work together. and key people include management roles but not only management roles. Although people are from different backgrounds, different companies, different cultures it is stil “working apart together” that makes the difference.

  2. To be able to get as much value from the outsourced development/operations as possible, the client company should tend to engage with its IT services supplier so as to have as much control of its project teams as possible, including own PM’s relocation to the supplier’s office, 100% involvement / decision making in the hiring process and ability to manage costs (as incurred actual costs of outsourcing unfortunately often exceed the contracted ones, as the practice shows). The supplier should be regarded as a space and resource provider and administrative issues solver rather than the “project conductor”. Companies who think they’ll outsource their project to a 3d party (either offshore or nearshore) and then “wash the hands off” and wait for the vendor to do the whole job and then skim the cream are doomed to fail and stay dissatisfied with their decision to outsource. But those who’re ready to take extra efforts, hire a competent consultant and/or manager to lead the outsourcing process and monitor their project on a 24/7 basis will be able to save significantly from their outsourced development due to reduced/eliminated delivery delays, vendor’s staff turnover and hidden agenda. The client should be able to control and manage every single penny spent on the project and create, enhance and grow its own outsourced team and outsourced culture. I believe this is going to be the philosophy of outsourcing of the future. In short, people do matter on the outsourced team, but it is the outsourced services buyer who should manage them rather than the provider.

  3. Hugo,

    I too, fully agree with you. The people make the difference. Companies who engage with off/nearshore suppliers should indeed never approach this solely as a cost saving tool. It can be an very nice side effect and in the long run it will pay off literally. However, the main goal is to accomodate a need for capacity/growth. Companies should ask themselves, how would we satisfy a need for capacity here in the home country. You would be very careful who you select to be a member of your team. Not only should this new person be very capable and knowledgeable on the things you want him/her to be doing, but also you want to be sure this person will have a good soft skill set which matches with the current members of the team. Why would it be any different when you off/nearshore? Just because there is a fysical difference between the teams? This point alone makes it even more crucial you have people in your foreign team who understand your goals, values and culture. Talking of culture: when engaging with an off/nearshore team there will always be cultural differences, no matter how you slice it. That will only be a problem if you do not recognize and/or accept it. Embrace these differences, make sure you know how to deal with it, make sure your home team knows how to deal with it. It will make everyones work much more interesting (and I do not mean this in a cynical way…. ;-)) People make the difference, not only close by but also far away.

  4. Dear Erik, Viktor and Hans,

    thank you very much for your feedback, I believe all your comments add to the content of my article. It’s always nice to see that people agree and have the same vision!


  5. Pingback: How do you prepare for offshoring? | Bridge-Blog

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