Outsource It! A No-Holds-Barred look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Offshoring Tech Projects

Nick Krym

Published by

Pragmatic Programmers, 2012

ISBN

978-1-93778-505-5

RRP

£23.50

Reviewed by

Kawal Banga, MBCS, CITP, CEng

Score

10 out of 10

I wish this book had been published when I was involved in offshoring and outsourcing projects - it would have saved me lots of time and grief! Nick Krym brings his 20 years of offfshore outsourcing experience to full effect in writing this book.

The book is useful for both outsourcing novices as well as seasoned veterans.  It is equally useful for companies on the receiving end of outsourcing as well as outsourcing vendors. 

The book consists of 16 chapters and 7 appendices divided into 5 sections: 1) How to Outsource; 2) Finding the right vendors; 3) Negotiating contracts; 4) Leading distributed teams; 5) Keeping risks under control. The book is also interspersed with some serious, but amusing cartoons.

Every chapter and every appendix is a gold mine of nuggets for those intending to outsource IT services to an outsourcing vendor. The author frequently cites examples of the gap between what the outsourcers tell you, and what actually happens in practice. 

The author classifies vendors into 5 personality types (process focussed, customer-focused, technology focussed, ideals focussed, hybrids) and suggests that you find the right personality for your organisation. He provides detailed step by step advice for selecting vendors, negotiating the contracts and then managing the vendors. 

According to the author there are three fundamental laws of outsourcing: 1) Nothing is as easy as it looks (Murphy's first law); 2) Entropy always increases - manifesting itself as a deterioration of processes, performance and environment; 3) If an order can be misinterpreted, it will be - any ambiguity in any communications, documentation, specifications etc will be (innocently) exploited!  He provides tools, approaches and checklists to overcome these and to make your outsourcing effort successful. 

The first three appendices consist of 30 pages packed with advice and guidance on selecting outsourcers based in Asia (India, China, Southeast Asia), Europe (Russia, East Europe, Ireland and Israel) and The Americas (Brazil, Mexico, Latin America and Canada). The remaining 4 appendices are 20 pages of very useful checklists for selecting and managing vendors.

A must have book for anyone involved in outsourcing in any shape or form. 

Further information: Pragmatic Programmers, 2012

March 2016