With the web erasing any sense of geographic distance among people, globalization is becoming the norm. And with the current economic state, businesses are looking to other parts of the world to leverage talent, infrastructure, and agility. So it makes sense that outsourcing web and application development has become a hot topic for anyone looking to continue delivering good product with more efficiency. I've been involved in off-shore outsourcing for almost five years, and if planned and executed properly, it can generate tremendous success on a number of levels.
Write a good RFP - Sadly, I can't count how many RFPs I've read cover to cover, only to wonder what the organization is actually seeking! Always include a brief overview of the project - could be a sentence, a paragraph, or a page, but you need to describe the engagement in simple terms before you delve into deeper details. Be clear about what you expect from your vendor. The RFP process shouldn't be a game of decryption.
Demand a thorough service level agreement - At the end of the day, regardless of what you thought you were getting, or what the vendor thought you wanted, the only thing than really counts is what's in writing! The SLA must detail the guidelines of the entire working relationship. many good examples can be found through an online search. Go back and forth with your vendor if you have to, but make sure the SLA is comprehensive!
Establish a contact strategy - How often will you speak with your vendor? On what days, and what is the purpose? Don't let the project get away from you. Stay in close contact with your vendor - participate in the project, and everyone will feel more of a responsibility to one another.
Commit to it - One of the classic fatal errors any organization can make is not fully committing to a project. Own it - understand it - stay on top of it. If you don't have the time or know-how, hire a reputable, specialized outsource management group. Make sure they have experience and will stand behind the work of the vendor, if they bring them to the table.
Learn from it - Whether the project is a smashing success, or left something to be desired, consider why. Discuss the project with your vendor and your colleagues to understand if you would change anything next time.
Outsourcing has proven a very smart alternative for many, many global companies. Although the prospect may be intimidating, a bit of research, and perhaps partnering with a management firm, will ensure you're on the road to success.