Outsourcing Best Practices Checklist

Outsourcing Best Practices Checklist

Outsourcing Best Practices Checklist

By William A. Lederer, Chairman and CEO, iSOCRATES

Outsourcing your digital marketing/media projects or business processes can seem like a daunting challenge, especially if you’ve never worked with a remote team before. Fortunately, with today’s tools and technology, working with vendor even offshore is easier than ever. Follow these best practices to help ensure your outsourcing endeavor is a success.
Related: See How to Write an RFP to Help You Find the Right Vendor


  • 1. Choose experienced, reputable professionals

Ensure your service provider has the specific industry experience and expertise your project requires. Closely review your vendor’s portfolio and check references.


  • 2. Don’t be ruled by price

You may want to eliminate both the highest and lowest priced bid, and instead focus on bidders that offer a good balance of value and quality.


  • 3. Negotiate ownership and support in advance

For any type of outsourced project, make sure you are clear about who owns the resulting work product. Additionally, you may want to specify a warranty or support clause, so you can obtain continuing support from the vendor after project completion.


  • 4. Define a clear project scope and schedule

Make sure you have a clear understanding internally about the project, task or function being outsourced, including:

  • Specific task/project description
  • Expected performance
  • Budget for the project (is it billed by PTE, outcome/process, or by the project?)
  • Clear deadline/due date (as well as milestone dates)
  • Skills and resources required
  • 5. Set up a payment schedule related to project milestones

A good guideline is to pay no more than 50% the total project price up front, with the rest of the payments awarded based on the completion of milestones.


  • 6. Start small

When you first hire a vendor, start with a relatively small and simple project so you can learn how you will work together before you tackle high stakes projects.


  • 7. Utilize collaboration tools

When working with an offshore vendor, effective communication is extremely important. Be sure to take advantage of tools for:

  • File sharing and document storage (look for features like version control and change tracking)
  • Real time communication systems (like chat features/instant messaging)
  • Workflow management/task tracking
  • 8. Establish a communication plan and hierarchy

A detailed communication plan should include information such as:

  • Frequency of communication (i.e., a status call once a week)
  • Escalation measures for critical issues (who is contacted and how)
  • Which medium used for which type of communication (what information goes into the project management tool vs. what can be delivered via an email or IM)
  • 9. Expect challenges when collaborating offshore

Understand the cultural differences you may have to deal with when utilizing an offshore vendor (different holidays, work styles, etc.), not to mention the differences in time zone and language. Ensure your onshore and offshore teams build a solid working relationship by taking the time to learn about each other. You may want to consider sending a member of your onshore team to visit your offshore location and build good will.

For a more in-depth exploration of your sourcing options, download our whitepaper, The iSOCRATES Guide to MADTech Media and Marketing Services Sourcing.

If you need help managing your outsourcing partner, we’d love to help. Contact us.

Sources: Top 10 Outsourcing Best Practices & Outsourcing PM Checklist

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