To win in the world of offshoring, focus on strong project management.
BY PEDRO SERRADOR, MBA, PMP
Web conferencing can be another useful tool, especially for demonstrations or seeing progress, but may
not be worth the hassles of setup. Recapping and issuing meeting minutes in writing is always good practice—and even more critical to offshored projects.
Culture: Crossing borders means crossing cultures—
and that can impact project communications. For
example, offsite team members may be hesitant to
highlight problems on the project or to give bad
news. Instead of saying “no” directly, they may say
“perhaps” or not say anything. Team members may
also defer to authority when perhaps they should be
IT offshoring is big business these days. Yet many companies have tried shipping projects to far-off lands, only to abandon the attempt when faced with the difficult reality of what’s actually involved in
running an offshored project.
It does sometimes seem like you’re running an obstacle
course when you consider:
Experience: You’ll probably be working with people
who might have less experience than your regular team.
And with business booming at most offshore vendors,
expect cut-throat competition for experienced staff—and
lots of turnover. Make sure your offshore team, especially
those people in senior positions, have backups.
Infrastructure: Project managers cannot underestimate the
difficulty in getting the infrastructure set up between the main
Time Zones: Part of the sales pitch for offshoring projects
is that the team can work while you sleep, translating to a
24-hour workday. In reality, time differences often result
in an offshored team waiting for answers while a local team
checks out for the night. That can make for some off-hour
meetings. When I reached a critical point on a project I was
working on from Canada, for example, we had daily meetings at 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. EST with the team working in
India to ensure issues were addressed.
Communication: Team members working halfway around
the world may not be speaking in their native tongues. And
regardless of the number of language courses they may have
taken, misunderstandings and communication difficulties
It sounds basic, but investing in high-quality conference
phones with multiple microphones will prevent headaches.
Don F. Perkins found some advice he could put to
use in a post by Lynda Bourne, DPM, PMP:
Great post—I find a lot of crossover from your tips
into the sales engineering realm where the same
three principles apply in regards to identifying power
(level of influence), pain (real issue in need of solving)
and persuasion (receptivity) of customer contacts.
Improper selection and weeding out of these
important roles can end in lots of wasted time and
effort, and sometimes even break a deal.
Looking forward to hearing more from you on this.
>>For more Voices on Project Management,
check out the blog at PMI.org/voices.