The CTO Perspective: To Outsource or Not To Outsource?

This story was originally published in my LinkedIn blog.

A lot has been told and written about outsourcing experiences. The worst I have heard are plain and simple horror stories, at least from the client perspective. Prolonged projects, exceeding budget, misplaced functionality and more. It's not all bad, it can even be quite good.

When you hear some more details about each case, things start to fall into place and I recognize a recurring theme in most of them. Obviously it greatly depends on both sides and the nature of the project / engagement.

Why to outsource and what to begin with?

The following slides outline the different pros and cons.

While this is only a partial list, it touches the most crucial points usually raised when talking about this issue. I would like to address 2 specific points mentioned in the slides.

If you made it this far, you're at least considering the option to outsource, which is good.

There are two distinct patterns for outsourcing a project:

Which type is suited to your specific case?

We are all unique and there's no one size fits all type of solution. Nevertheless, there are still a lot we can learn from other experiences and decide what fits us. Some of the things that might influence the decision aside from your own preferences (in no specific order or priority) :

In general I would say that having a dedicated person to manage the offshore team is a must. Otherwise, be ready for more than bumpers along the way which leads to who knows where. At the end of it is the product you initially envisioned, or something completely different.

Another rule of thumb I usually tend to talk about is having a proper balance of in-house vs offshore team (remember that IP issue discussed above?). It might not fit everyone and might be time dependent, but surely I'd recommend this as a long term vision for team building.

Choosing the location and the right outsourcing partner is one the most critical decisions you need to make. So many options and everyone has their own good and bad experiences. Be willing to devote as much as needed to this process, it will be worth it!

Also read how FIDO uses offshore team in Ukraine to replace legacy software and build a Big Data solution.

CTO @ FIDO. A seasoned R&D manager with experience in various companies from small startups to large enterprises. Vast experience in building and managing software products and teams of SW specialists and translating business requirements into a full blown application. Feel free to get in touch on LInkedIn.

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