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5 Tips for Project Managers to Successfully Outsource to India

As a project manager, it may come as no surprise to you that 2.6 million jobs in the United States were outsourced in 2013 – and the top rated outsourcing country was India, which boasts a workforce of more than 1.4 billion individuals.

In fact, outsourcing has become a key to successful project management in several industries, including manufacturing, IT services, research and development, distribution, and customer support centers.

Some of the most commonly cited reasons for outsourcing a project to India include:

  • Reduction to expenditures
  • Abundance of IT and management resources
  • Corporate restructuring
  • Reallocation of internal resources
  • Reduction in time to market and project completion

That is not to say that outsourcing is easy, though. If you are a project manager responsible for overseeing a project outsourced to India, there will be a number of challenges to overcome.

The Challenges of Offshore Project Management

Given the geographic distance between your on-site and offshore teams, project management can be tricky. The most commonly cited challenges in offshore project manager include:

Cost risksOutsource your project to a team that provides services with no hidden maintenance or training costs.

Communication barriers – Work with a team that encourages direct communication with those responsible for your project.

Ineffective knowledge transfer – Productivity will be strongest when work documents and materials can be easily shared between your on-site and offshore teams.

Missed deadlines – Outsource your project to a team that can punctually adhere to timelines outlined at the onset of the project.

Lack of experience – Thoroughly vet any offshore team prior to outsourcing your project. Does this team have experience in providing offshore services? If so, can this team provide references?

While the challenges may seem daunting, a diligent approach to project management can help you not only choose the right vendor, but to successfully complete your project.

Tips to Successful Offshore Project Management

To successfully manage a project outsourced to an offshore team, you will need to consider:

  • Team dynamics
  • Culture gaps
  • Process efficiency
  • Language barriers
  • Deadlines and productivity

And several other factors, as well.

Here are five tips to help you successfully outsource your project in part or full to India.

1. Treat Your On-Site and Offshore Team as a Whole

It is important that both the on-site and offshore members of your team are tied into the main objectives of your project.

Many project managers make the mistake of treating the offshore part of the team as hired help – which is poor for morale, and it can discredit the value that both teams bring to the project.

2. Foster a Culture of Success, Teamwork & Synergy

Taking an interest in Indian culture can go a long way to fostering positive morale on your offshore team. Get to know your individual team members, and try to take an interest in their work.

Whether you are speaking to face-to-face with a team member, communicating over Skype, or simply sending an email, be generous with compliments and make sure every person involved with your project knows his or her importance to its outcome.

3. State the Obvious & Don’t Assume Anything

Repeat everything – as often as possible. Language barriers can make communication difficult, and variances in culture may discourage offshore team members from vocalizing their concerns.

When it comes to successfully completing your project, make your expectations clear, state them often, and probe for feedback frequently.

4. Make Information Easily Accessible

Both your onsite and off-shore teams will need regular access to information and project files – oftentimes, they will need access to the exact same materials and documents.

Ensure that you have a system in place through which your global teams can easily have access to view and modify information as necessary.

5. Make Communication a Priority

While all successful project managers make time for meetings and regular communication, this is especially important if your team is divided by significant geographic distance.

Schedule regular teams meetings by taking advantage of overlapping time zones. Further, leverage technology to get as much face-to-face time with your team as possible.

Conclusion

Outsourcing to India can mean a massive return on investment, but certainly it can be a challenge as well.

If you are a project manager with experience working with offshore teams, what tip you would add to this list? Be sure to let us know by leaving a comment below.

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