Lessons in outsourcing

Today’s lesson for entrepreneurs, how to do outsourcing right. Our site has been outsourced to an Indian company. We don’t have any in house resources. (we are looking for a great programmer working on equity initially, any takers?) It has been pretty successful, we got our beta web site up and running in 3 months. So, here are the lessons I learned from this experience.

1. 1.The biggest gap to realize is not the language gap but cultural gap. Often when things get done over there, it’s done by Indian culture, not based on American culture. I had to explain a few times why we can not do certain things, like using copyrighted material on the site as our own design. 

2. 2.Explain exactly how you want things done. Do a mock up in Photoshop and send it out if you have to, which I did often. What kills you in development is the iteration process. For example, you ask for something, they deliver, you have to make changes then they redo it, etc. That’s why project overrun. During our project, we only had to do that once on a major project.

3. 3.Watch the hours carefully. I found that they tend to underestimate the work and need more hours to complete. So you are have a choice of getting nothing or have to spend more hours to get things done.

4. 4.Engineers will be engineers. They can be brilliant coders but terrible managers of time, information and other resources. Their communication is often erratic, even after sending out an emails to remind them, I have to do it a few times to get it done.

5. 5.Keep your expectation at the right level. Don’t expect it to be perfect all the time. Take what you can, as long as it’s functional, and fix it later. That’s what beta is all about.

Well, there are other lessons but those are the important ones.

On August 12, 2007, posted in: Uncategorized by
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