Thursday, January 14, 2010

How to build the communication between customer and vendor for successful outsourcing?

Even if there is enough budget, resources and time to fulfill the project, still one problem can arise between customer and vendor when outsourcing - it is the process of communication. Especially the complexity of Agile Development process (constant changes in requirements) in contrast to building a product from a set of requirements (Waterfall). The communication in this scenario adds more issues and one can’t ignore but have to give highest priority to the process of communication between parties. Here are some of the points to implement that can improve the communication process
  • The key point: people should co-invest time in building a successful cooperation and work on effective means of communication. It is not 'throw your projects over the wall' but 'make a strategic decision to outsource' and 'invest time to build a strong partnership with your supplier'. The processes of client and supplier have to become interwoven and both sides have to work hard to create a balance in the cooperation
  • The communication should be frequent, weekly meetings are to be changed to multiple meetings a week. That results in keeping everyone's connected and updated with the ongoing process
  • People should try to use phone or skype calls frequently to avoid communicating everything through chat or email. And there should be an online system to document everything that is communicated (also the summary of a phone call)
  • Involve engineers in the meetings along with leads and architects
  • Think through what is to be communicated, just like planning an effective meeting it requires thought and structure.
  • Don't be afraid of communicating bad news - but make sure you have a way of resolving any pains you may encounter. Try to present more than one option when dealing with problems. We always call them "opportunities". It is an opportunity for change with a positive result.
And remember, all of the items on your list can be organized and planned; it's the people part that needs to be taken care of too. First, a little chit chat, the personal touch, can go a long way.
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