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Outsource It!: A No-Holds-Barred Look at the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Offshoring Tech Projects


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Outsource It!

A No-Holds-Barred Look at the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Offshoring Tech Projects


If you need to expand your business but not your budget, if your group has an intense but short-term project, if you don’t have the skill set to get a job done-it’s time to think about outsourcing. Starting from the first step (should you outsource part of your tech work?) to the last (how can you protect your intellectual property?), you’ll learn everything about setting up projects overseas.

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About this Title

Pages: 264
Published: 2013-01-10
Release: P1.0 (2013-01-09)
ISBN: 978-1-93778-505-5

Offshore outsourcing can reduce operating expenses, decrease time to market, and provide access to a flexible workforce or hard-to-find skills. To get the most from your outsourced project, you need to know how outsourcing works—what it can do, what it can’t do, and what you can expect from it. You’ll discover:

  • A pragmatic, step-by-step guide for setting up and running outsourcing engagements
  • Proven techniques that will maximize your return on investment and minimize risks
  • Handy checklists and easy-to-use tools for every step of the outsourcing life cycle
  • Common offshore outsourcing traps—and tips on how to avoid them

Outsource It! tells you how to estimate your potential savings, how to figure out what, how, and where to go—and how to find that vendor magic. You’ll learn how to use metrics, reduce turnover, and perform technical due diligence. And you’ll never miss a beat, because the checklists will keep you and your project on track.

Outsource It! is written by a seasoned technology professional with more than 20 years of experience working all sides of outsourcing. Nick’s book takes the lessons he learned the hard way and turns them into an easy-to-read, practical guide for technology professionals.


Contents & Extracts


  • Decide If, What, and How to Outsource
    • Make an Educated Decision
      • Get SMART: Defining Outsourcing Objectives
      • The Risks of Outsourcing
      • The Rewards of Outsourcing
      • Understanding the “small print”
      • Cost Savings: Expectations Versus Reality excerpt
      • Ability to Scale
      • Quality of Deliverables
    • Define—and Refine—Your Action Plan
      • What—and How Much— Should You Outsource?
      • Working Together: Finding the Right Outsourcing Model
      • A Sample Outsourcing Action Plan
    • Select the Right Sourcing Model
      • Multi-Sourcing: Tame the Risks by Diversifying
      • Micro-Sourcing: Outsourcing to Freelancers
      • Out-Tasking and Crowdsourcing
      • Outsourcing Your Life
      • Best-of-breed Sourcing Strategies
  • Find the Right Vendors
    • Start with a Broad Search
      • Golden Rules of Vendor Selection
      • Selecting the Destination excerpt
      • High-level Vendor Selection Criteria
      • Generating a List of Prospective Vendors
      • Detailed Vendor Selection Criteria
    • Move From a Long List to the Chosen Few
      • The RFI Process
      • The RFP Process
      • Evaluating Proposals
      • It’s PowerPoint Time
      • Watch out for Warning Signs
    • Choose the Right-Sized Vendor
      • The Large-Vendor Selection Process
      • The Small-Vendor Selection Process
      • The Individual Provider Selection Process
    • Find the Personality Magic
      • The Impact of Personality
      • Understanding Vendor Personality Types
      • Matching the Engagement to a Vendor’s Personality
      • Identifying the Personality of the Vendor
      • Managing Personality Differences
    • Finalize the Selection
      • On-site Visits
      • Technical due diligence
      • The X-Factor
      • The Final Decision
  • Negotiate Solid Contracts
    • Negotiate for Long-Term Success
      • Basics of Negotiations
      • The Forces that Influence the Outcome of Negotiation
      • Navigating the Negotiations Process
      • Negotiations Walk Through
      • Getting What You Need with Win-win Negotiations
    • Learn Contract and Rates Essentials
      • Offshore Contract Basics
      • Controlling the Total Cost of Outsourcing with Your Contract
      • The MSA Invisibility Cloak
      • Rates and Total Cost of Outsourcing
      • The Enigma of Rates
      • Researching Offshore Rates
      • Negotiating a Fair Rate
  • Lead Distributed Engagements
    • Control Your Engagement
      • Communicating with Your Offshore Team: Practical Matters
      • Communicating with Your Offshore Team: The Squishy Stuff
      • Managing Project Execution
      • Accepting Deliverables
      • Setting Up Metrics
      • Outsourcer’s Toolbox
    • Build and Lead Distributed Teams
      • Laying the Groundwork
      • Staffing Offshore Engagements
      • Choosing Candidates: The Personality Factor
      • Maintaining your team
      • Team Morale: Motivation and Rewards
    • Adjust Your Development Model to Fit Your Situation
      • Offshore Waterfalls
      • Agile Offshore
      • Outsourcing Quality Assurance
      • Outsourcing Code Development
      • “Black Box” Outsourcing
  • Keep Risks under Control
    • Mitigate the Risks of Your Engagements
      • Using Contracts to Mitigate Offshore Risks
      • Protecting Data and IP
      • Joint Responsibilities
      • Dealing with Internal Risks
      • Minimizing Team Impact Risks
    • Minimize the Cost of Failures
      • You are more dependent than you think
      • Benefits of Disposable Outsourcing
      • The Path toward Disposable Outsourcing
      • Intermediaries in Disposable Outsourcing
      • Moving towards disposable outsourcing in QA
      • The complacency trap
    • Maintain the Spirit of Partnership
      • Watching the Pulse of the Engagement excerpt
      • Investing in the Relationship
      • Fixing what’s broken
      • Terminating an Engagement
      • Closing Remarks

Q&A with Outsource It! author Nick Krym

Q: Why did you write Outsource It! ?

A: Outsourced projects have been a big part of my professional life for more than 20 years, and I’ve seen countless failures. In the vast majority of the cases, the failures were due to the buyers’ lack of knowledge—and these were smart, well-intended technology pros. I hope Outsource It! will prevent some of these failures and help readers make the most of their outsourcing engagements.

Q: What elements of outsourcing do you concentrate on in your book?

A: Outsource It! covers the entire lifecycle of outsourcing, from making the decision whether to outsource to terminating an engagement. Some of the most important topics the book covers are vendor selection, contract negotiation, running distributed engagements, mitigating risks, and communication strategies.

Q: What are the most common outsourcing mistakes?

A: If I had to name only one, it would be going offshore when better alternatives are available right in your own backyard. Another common mistake is treating outsourcing lightly. Offshore outsourcing is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal, but mishandled, it can misfire, creating a lot of direct and collateral damage.

Q: Is there a secret sauce to your outsourcing strategies?

A: I really don’t think so. Outsource It! is based on simple, down-to-earth techniques that most of us can easily implement. I do cover a few topics that are “voodoo” of a sort—for example, vendor personality—which could be a critical element for engagement success.

Q: What the minimum and maximum sizes for a project that one should consider for outsourcing?

A: There are no high or low limits for outsourcing. Ridiculously small tasks such as cleaning up PowerPoint presentations can be outsourced to freelancers. Huge tasks such as implementing ERP systems for multinational corporations are commonly outsourced, as well. The key is to match the vendor to the task at hand.

Q: Is India the best place for outsourcing IT projects?

A: It all depends on the needs of the projects and realities of the organization. For some engagements, outsourcing to Latin America could be more meaningful; in some cases, China presents a great alternative to India; in other cases, Eastern Europe can offer a lot of advantages. Even North America offers great options with rural outsourcing or outsourcing to Canada.


Nick Krym is a technology professional with more than 25 years in the IT industry—20 of those in offshore outsourcing with companies and freelancers from Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. His experience spans a broad range of technologies in delivering mission-critical systems to Fortune 500 clients, commercial off-the-shelf products, and applications delivered under an SaaS model.