Posts tagged project management

Managing the Risks of Offshore Outsourcing

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Risk management is critical for any company interested in undertaking an offshore call center outsourcing project. After all, you’re dealing with a company on the other side of the world, with a vastly different culture, so you need to prepare your firm for many of the potential pitfalls that may arise in a project. You can effectively mitigate risks by adhering to the following practices.

1. Simplify Your Project

First and foremost, you will need to establish your project methodology by carrying it out all by yourself. This will help you get a better understanding of the obstacles that may be common. All too often, companies quickly blame the outsourcing company or virtual assistant for difficulties that may be experienced by anyone trying to perform a certain function. By familiarizing yourself with the actual work, you will be able to create some workarounds should the project fall into a rut. Doing it yourself first will help you refine and sharpen the job activity until a layman can easily go along with the outlined directions to carry out the procedure. You want to uncover the right way to consummate the assignment in a straightforward and easy manner so your outsourced staff seamlessly perform the function without confusion.

2. Set Clear Goals

Undoubtedly, you really need to determine targeted objectives well before you can successfully outsource the project. The types of goals you will set will be determined by the nature of the project you are outsourcing. If you are outsourcing a marketing project, your goals might have something to do with traffic volumes to your website, conversions, or search engine rankings.

3. The Outsourcing Contract

The obscure nature of offshore outsourcing is one of the primary risks that must be mitigated. Once you have determined an appropriate call center with which you want to work, the first step in launching an outsourcing project can be to create an effective agreement or contract. Ideally, you should create a unique contract for each project you wish to outsource. This will help protect oneself and avoid the risk of being scammed by second-rate companies, or suffer should there be any possible disagreement involving the two parties. Clearly and concisely compose the details you expect your workers to adhere to in simple English. Request that your assistant or team give you a brief summary of his day to day task accomplishments to ensure that he or she is on the appropriate path. Also, make sure that both you and your provider are more than happy about the terms and conditions of the payment arrangements. If you aren’t comfortable giving your credit card info to an offshore company, you can easily find a service that will allow you to process the payment through an escrow service. In these cases, an independent third party agreed upon by both companies will receive and disburse the money come payment time.

4. Effective Management

Your position as the outsourcing project manager is to see to it that your worker can get the job done quickly, and within the boundaries you initially defined. It is always helpful to train your staff by offering assistance, teaching materials, and training brochures that correspond to any obstacles you may have uncovered when trying the work yourself.

5. Observation and Follow Up

To ensure proper risk mitigation, you should stay on top of your employee as much as possible. This may sound difficult when dealing with an offshore call center, but there are many tools and methods that can make the process easy. Use instant messaging or conferencing software to check in on your employee throughout the day. Ask for daily reports and spreadsheets detailing progress. However, be careful not to appear too overbearing. The key takeaway at this juncture is that you want to build and maintain excellent rapport with your assistant and outsourcing company. By coming across as a friend, rather than a foe, you will help avoid the risks that come with disgruntled employees.

Offshore Project Management Essentials

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Project Management CommunicationMany project managers face serious complications when outsourcing projects to offshore providers. While everyone is constantly trying to find new opportunities to cut expenses, it is easy to fail to recognize exactly which project components impact the productivity of of the workforce, and clearly share successes and failures with management. Some managers have difficulty presenting their overall project goals in a clear and concise manner. Offshore project management success requires communication above all else. Project management is complicated in person, but can become a daunting process when handled across multiple locations spanning the globe.

When kicking off an offshore project, there are many important things to keep in mind. You must think about how you want to structure your project, the team you have in place, and what is important for your project to survive. These basic guidelines can help see to it that your offshore outsourcing experience is a positive one.

1) Strategically coordinate your projects. This can include deciding which project should start first. Successful project managers with whom I’ve spoken have generally agreed that it is best to start with smaller, less important projects. This project testing phase will allow you to define your basic project tools, framework, methodologies, deliverables, benchmarks, deadlines, and expectations. Trying to bite off more than you can chew can come back to haunt you, so get a feel for your team’s abilities by outsourcing some of the most basic tasks at the outset.

2) Solicit feedback from your team immediately after outlining your project. This can help you uncover what components might pose a significant challenge, as well as give you a better understanding of your team’s mood and thought processes. Most teams are usually full of opinions regarding what appropriate steps should be taken. By taking the temperature of your team’s level of commitment, you will start out with a good idea of the task at hand.

3) Focus on the partnership. By cultivating your relationship with your outsourced team, you can establish trust and credibility with your agents. People like to work for those who genuinely care about what they have to say, so by establishing your sympathy with your workforce, you can help ensure that they will go the extra mile.

4) Find any chinks in the armor. True success rarely occurs overnight. By starting slow and small, you will be able to focus on minor issues that can stand in the way of big-time success. If you try to do everything at once, small issues may be overlooked, and turn into lingering complications. By addressing any problems right away, you will help clear a path to success for your most important projects.

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