Revisiting the How to Outsource Webinar

Recently, I was privileged to facilitate a webinar by two of our senior partners about outsourcing. Brian Estep and Barnaby Sheridan discussed the challenges to outsourcing and the benefits it can provide. It also highlighted some of the things that matter most when selecting a partner. This is just a quick recap. A link below will provide information about how to access the presentation and slides.

Outsourcing Guide
Outsourcing Guide

Challenges Companies Face Today

Some companies struggle with one or more challenges:

  • Capacity Limitations
    The adage that “any system running at 100% capacity will fail” means that companies can’t ask more of their teams. To work on these additional efforts, companies will need more staffing to meet those needs.
  • Skillset Gaps
    Sometimes teams don’t have the skills needed to address the specific needs the business has. A partner may be the right choice to fill those gaps.
  • Stale Methodologies
    Companies sometimes need to add new technologies to their products that their teams don’t possess.

Why To Outsource

Obviously, the biggest reason to outsource will be to address one of the main shortcomings listed above. There are a couple of other reasons that companies may want to outsource.

  • Reduce Costs
    Many companies want to meet the additional needs their teams can’t deliver because they’re already doing too much. Finding a good cost-conscious way to do this usually means looking at an outsource provider rather than hiring normally higher-cost local talent.
  • Shorten Time to Market
    The biggest thing we want to achieve in agile development practices is shortening the feedback loop for delivering to our customers. With longer development times, we fail to get the fast feedback that helps us vet our ideas and our assumptions about value.

How to Outsource

Three Step Approach to Outsourcing
Three Step Approach to Outsourcing

We recommend that companies look at three possible avenues of determining how to approach outsourcing. There are three steps you should explore:

  • Pilot or Partnership
    Determine if you’re looking at trying something new by creating a pilot or test project or if you want to explore partnering.
  • Partnering and Productivity
    When looking at your options, consider the productivity and costs associated with different models of partnership.
  • Sprint Zero
    Make sure you get your project started off properly by setting expectations with you and your team. Sort out your working agreements and technical needs – technology stack, source code control, automation, etc.

Picking a Partner

If you’ve decided that you want to work with a partner, not just a firm that can provide staff augmentation, your next steps are going Finding the right partner is more than just finding the cheapest provider. Partners are important to help you build the right products with quality and maintainability.

Also, you’re going to want a partner whose culture matches or at least aligns with your own. Having a high-performing agile environment is going to be less effective if you partner with a company that prefers waterfall-style work methods. Getting a good match can do wonders for making your teams highly productive.

Closing Thoughts

There is obviously much more detail than I’m providing in just this simple discussion, so I’d recommend checking out this link to listen to the entire webinar and see the slides. It has a lot more information about determining when to outsource and how to pick a good partner rather than just a provider or a company that provides staff augmentation. The right partner can not just help you build your products but also help build better products, faster.

Feliz entrenamiento, mis amigos! (Happy coaching, my friends!)

Have questions?

Bill DeVoe