George Kimball’s Tips for First-Time Outsourcing Buyers

Over on Horses for Sources, Phil Fersht recently ran a great piece on practical outsourcing tips over a pint which contained advice from George Kimball that is definitely worth your time.

The article contained nine essential tips for first-time buyers which can determine the difference between success and failure, including these too-often overlooked tips:

  • Get good advice.

    Don’t try to do it all in-house, and, definitely, don’t just “turn it over to the experts”. No outside advisor will know your business as well as you do. You need to find an outside advisor you can work with who will work with you to create the best agreement for your specific situation, as there is no one size fits all agreement for outsourcing.

  • Prepare to manage the contract and relationship.

    Weak governance — too few people, without sufficient clout, and accustomed to managing operations, rather than relationships — remain the single, most common, avoidable error among customers. A team needs to be built before the contract is signed and needs to be involved in the deal making process.

  • Tone matters more than people suspect.

    Not only does collaboration require good working relationships built on candor, civility, and trust, but you need to remember that the people you will be working with not only come from a different culture, but, likely, one that is much older than yours. (For example, civilization in China and India goes back thousands of years. They don’t want to deal with “children”.) Furthermore, the world is changing, and in just a few years, the “low cost” countries of today will be the economic powerhouses of tomorrow.

For the other six great tips, check out George’s practical outsourcing tips over a pint and if you really want to dive in, he recently published Outsourcing Agreements: A Practical Guide.

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