This guest article was written by Stefanie Kahls of twago, an outsourcing provider based in Berlin, Germany. I’ve written about outsourcing here before and I have used asian developers from time to time with great success. But there are right ways and wrong ways of doing it and here Stefanie lays out her modus operandi.
More and more, the big, wide world is not that wide anymore. Distances remain the same, but the speed and ease in overcoming them increases constantly. The internet is connecting nearly every single point of the world. People living on different continents can communicate without any time delay. The age of working across borders without moving physically has begun – the age of Outsourcing and Offshoring.
Internet and globalization have changed the job market. Flexible working hours, freelancing and international cooperation are all features of the present not the future. Working together with people you have never met and you never will meet sounds absurd but is reality. Big companies, small firms and even the normal person in the street can delegate tasks to people outside their normal work-area. “Do what you do best, outsource the rest”. In short, concentrate on ones expertise and delegate other duties to increase speed, efficiency and profits. That’s what outsourcing is about.
Adam Smith knew about the efficiency of the division of labour. And nowadays the online-market is taking advantage of this phenomenon more and more. Online platforms that act as an agent to bring employer and employees together are being established all over the world. One example for such a platform is twago. It is the biggest German online-platform for global outsourcing and offshoring. Graphic and web designers, programmers and translators can find employers who are searching worldwide for experts for temporary project work. In the future the outsourcing and offshoring market will not just grow but nearly explode. McKinsey published a study which says that by 2020 the outsourcing and offshoring market will reach a market share of more than 500 billion US$ -up from roughly 80 billion US$ in 2008.
To jump on the bandwagon of outsourcing and offshoring there are a few things you should keep in mind to make it a successful process.
1. Communication, communication, communication
It doesn’t matter if you like to be engaged in national outsourcing or international offshoring, communication is the one key to success. Virtual working relationships require intense communication. Make sure that the employer and employee understand what they want and how they want to have it done. Otherwise, there could be misunderstandings and at least one side of the party will be disappointed and unhappy. Communicate often to avoid conflicts and to ensure a smooth working-process.
2. Make new media your new best friend
Communication is usually done via modern forms of communication. Skype, MSN, or Dropbox shouldn’t be foreign words for you. Make yourself familiar with all necessary communication media for the internet. They are easy, fast, and efficient.
3. Open up your mind
Working across borders includes working together with people from various cultural backgrounds. You have to keep in mind, that people have different attitudes and understandings of work. Be open to new ideas and welcome them as an inspiration. Be tolerant without insisting on things being done your way. Be open and patient as Rome wasn,t built in a day and your way may not necessarily be the best course of action.
4. Control and be controlled
Besides communication, virtual teams need close supervision and constant control. When working “normally”, which means on site, control happens automatically. You come to the office in the morning, everybody around you is working, your boss drops in and out. All these things create a pressure to work. However, when having a team based around the globe, it is much harder to motivate everybody. Therefore it is advisable to create milestones and goals that need to be achieved within a certain timeframe. With milestones you will be able to identify problems or time delays immediately.
Keeping in mind the above mentioned tips and tricks, outsourcing and offshoring can help you to profit from a changing work market. Regardless of whether you are a service provider or an employer, outsourcing and offshoring can mean real money and advancement for you. On the one hand you can access a job from all over the world whilst staying at home, and on the other hand you can find experts for your project worldwide. Through outsourcing and offshoring you can be sure to have the best experts for all of your jobs, and all for a reasonable price.
If you would like to find out more about outsourcing and offshoring check out twagos’ magazine. If you are interested in finding freelancers from all over the globe, or to find jobs as an expert, see twagos’ job page.
Thank you, Stefanie, and I would like to echo Stefanie’s ideas on creating “milestones” within certain projects. Outsource little pockets of work at first and build them up as your experience and offshore contact list grows.