Here’s the Way to Manage Outsourced Projects

Sunday, September 4, 2016, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

Outsourcing of project work is more common today than ever. However, even though you outsource the work, you cannot outsource your obligation to make sure the project is progressing smoothly.

If all goes well with the outsourcer, you do not have much work to do.

Unfortunately, in many instances, the outsourcing vendor does not perform against expectations. If that happens, you want to know about it as soon as possible.

Many people are not sure what they should be doing when they are asked to manage outsourced work. With an outsourced project, the vendor takes on the direct management of the outsourced work.

The client project manager (you) needs to perform more of an oversight role to make sure the vendor project is progressing as it should.

Manage Outsourced Projects

Up-front questions

Some of the up-front questions to ask include:

  • Is there a contractual agreement that spells out the expectations of both parties in terms of deliverables to be produced, deadlines, payment schedule, completeness and correctness criteria, etc?

  • Has a comprehensive project schedule been created?

  • Is there a Project Management Plan the vendor will use to manage the project?

  • Has the vendor been clear on what resources will be needed from your company and when they will be needed?

  • Have a number of agreed-upon milestones been established to review progress and validate that the project is on-track for completion?

As the project is progressing, you must continue to ask questions to determine the current state of the work.

You may have status meetings weekly, but there should be a formal review at the end of every agreed-upon milestone.

Questions at every milestone

The types of questions you would ask at every milestone include:

  • Have the appropriate deliverables been completed and approved by your company?

  • Can the vendor clearly explain where the project is vs. where it should be at this time?

  • Are issues, scope, and risks being managed as stated in the Project Management Plan?

  • Is the vendor communicating proactively so that you feel comfortable you understand the state of the project?

Once you understand your monitoring role on the outsourced project, it is easier to ask the right questions to make sure that everything is progressing as it should. They are the same questions you would ask a project manager in your company to validate progress.

Managers don’t need detailed training to actually manage outsourced projects. But they do need a high-level understanding of projects and their role in the project environment. Buy this two-hour e-class and start learning the basics immediately.

Courtesy of…

This column is © copyright to and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.

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