Project Management

How to Avoid Outsourcing Issues

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Outsourcing is a powerful word. Depending on the experiences than an individual has with outsourcing, it can make people angry, frustrated, worried, relieved, confident, happy or any number of other emotions. It’s a word that immediately makes people imagine the future and think about what might be happening--good or bad (maybe even good and bad). It seems as though the only people who don’t have a strong opinion on the subject are people who haven’t yet experienced outsourcing; if you have been through the experience, it seems to stay with you.

So why is that? From an operational standpoint, it can be seen as having negative connotations, translate to job losses and the perception of risking quality to reduce costs; but in project execution, outsourcing is a valuable tool that we can’t live without. Not every organization has the skills that are needed to execute every element of every project, and if those skills aren’t needed beyond the duration of the project, then it doesn’t make sense to hire the skills into the organization. That leaves outsourcing in one of its forms as the most effective and efficient solution.

The reason that many people have strong (often negative) opinions of outsourcing is that it is routinely handled badly, resulting in damaged relationships, failed projects and a considerable amount of finger …

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