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Can outsourcing project support help?

Can outsourcing project support help?

Can outsourcing project support help?

I'm a PS Manager for a smallish solutions company and we're considering using a third party company to outsource all P2 project support/admin work to on a project by project basis.
We are hoping to free up internal PM resources and cope better with the erratic arrival of projects.

Does anyone have any experience of doing this and any lessons that were learned?

Did it work and actually increase the PM's capacity and capability without increasing costs?

Who did you use and how much?

All help will be appreciated, Thanks.

RE: Can outsourcing project support help?

Stuman - its obviously working quite well considering that at $150 billion+ it constitutes some of the fastest growing sectors of the economy in developing countries. If the offshore team is well integrated, and the hand-off of processes well managed, your teams productivity can be increased significantly. If you are venturing into this for the first time, it may be better for you to work through some local industry references. It will also help if you initially "own" the offshore resources, that is, they are dedicated to supporting you and you own the capacity (including bench).  

RE: Can outsourcing project support help?

Stuman - what do you mean by PS and P2?

RE: Can outsourcing project support help?

Hi BNPMike,

Sorry for the acronyms!

PS = Professional Services (Consulting, install, dev, test etc...)
P2 = Prince2

Hey procygnus, thanks for the advice although just to clarify are you talking about generally outsourcing IT Dev work? I am referring to just Project Support such as project control/admin/reporting functions. We are pretty used to dealing with contractors for development.

kind regards

RE: Can outsourcing project support help?

Stuman - its applicable for any type of work. IT services received all the hype (and flak). At the low end of the spectrum (in terms of pricing - $10-25 per h) you have medical transcription, math tuitions and inbound call processing and such stuff. The mid-tier ($40-150 per hour) comprises IT support, software services to CAD/CAE design and engineering services, market research and analytics. And at the high end ($400+ per hour) - drug discovery, molecule development,actuarial services and all kinds of financial wizardry! It is a very vast spectrum of service offerings.

Project support is a typical back-office function that can be effectively outsourced. But do not underestimate the initial pain (and duplication of effort)until processes are streamlined.

RE: Can outsourcing project support help?

Prince 2 isn't a task, it's a structure for doing things. You can outsource the things (and mandate P2) but I'm interested in what you think you can abstract under the P2 umbrella.

I have to say I think Prince 2 is a complete waste of time so I'm biased, but if you think it is of so little consequence you can send it abroad, might you not consdier just forgetting about it altogether?

RE: Can outsourcing project support help?

Thanks Mike but I never said anything about sending work offshore, procygnus introduced that aspect. P2 Processes have an Administrative overhead which I would like to free the Project Managers from the burden off. Moving to an alternative methodology or tailoring the processes are also being looked at. We have a substantial investment in the methodology and its not something to just walk away from easily.

I appreciate your comments


RE: Can outsourcing project support help?

OK - outsource/offshore: it's the same thing. You're implying there is something about what a project manager is doing that can be separated out and given to someone else. I can't think off-hand of anything in Prince 2 which is an overhead, and would be interested in an example.

Large companies all have project management offices. Project analysts are the people who do all (well, a bit of) the admin bits of project management.    

RE: Can outsourcing project support help?

Outsourcing can be very helpful if you plan and analyze it well to make sure it really will benefit your company rather than an extra spending. If you decide to do this just make sure you have an effective communication with everyone involved, which is the main issue when you are not within the same area. Establish weekly goals and have meetings every so often so you are both updated and on the same page on the project. This is crucial to avoid any mistakes, and this way you will take full advantage of outsourcing.  

(b)(color=red)(size=3)(url=http://teambox.com)Project Management(/url)(/size)(/color)(b)

RE: Can outsourcing project support help?

Managed properly, outsourcing some PM/PS Tasks can raise productivity exponentially. Whether onshore, offshore, or a combination. Key to success is outsourcing to industry experienced people. The last thing you want to do is pass critical objectives to someone without the business skill

RE: Can outsourcing project support help?

Based on experience, when you decide to outsource work or utilize offshore workers, you need to be clear of their work description with all the requirements and deadlines leaving no questions asked.

It's easy for them to not perform as expected because they may be out of your supervision. But, you can still use tools to be able to monitor their work and their performance. Use a time tracking tool. Have a good system for you to know that they are doing their job.

I once had an offshore employee that quit in the middle of the project because the roles and responsibilities were not clear. You could just imagine how much of a hassle that was.

I hope that doesn't happen to you.

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