Tips and Tricks for Outsourcing Research and Development
want you to have the best experience possible, even if it's not
with us. Make sure to keep these factors in mind when setting up your
outsourcing / consulting relationship.
Be prepared for "scope creep":
Scope creep is the gradual introduction of unanticipated requirements
or work. The most common complaint we hear when people come to us from
other groups is that scope creep makes everybody unhappy. The client is
unhappy because they see expenses rising and the outsourcing team is
unhappy because they see more work and know they will face a skeptical
There are two main defenses against scope creep: project definition and task based management.
is best used when there are clear goals and tasks that need to be
completed. The challenge is to make sure there is maximum clarity
around the scope of service. The term "design review" can mean very
different things within different organizations, for example, and the
experience is unpleasant for all involved if the service provider
discovers that extra work will be needed. Any customer specific
documentation requirements should be defined up front with examples and
the customer needs to understand that meetings and documentation
require time. A project definition document can easily reach 10-40
pages in length. Project definition is often not feasible for agile
research and development tasks.
Task based management, the second scope management technique, is often more suited to an R&D effort.
One can break down the initially targeted effort into tasks and price
by task, then include arrangements for adding tasks as they arise. As
task needs become clear they can be individually discussed and
approved. This requires a bit more communication but is often far more
flexible and attractive for research and development work.
Have an exit strategy: Many customers come to us after trying another group first.
We recommend that for any contract you have considerations of how a
transition will work if the effort is brought back in house or moved to
worth asking your service provider how they deal with the "end of
outsourcing" if the project is successful. At Ardent Research we pride
ourselves on frequently helping customers findfull time replacements
for ourselves when a project reaches a maturity level that warrants
building an internal organization. We often help by placing calls to
our industry contacts and for full time staffing needs we endorse MEMStaff.
contents copyright Ardent Research corporation