We asked 100 CIOs to give the first words that came into their head when they hear “outsourced development”.

The top two?

  • Fail
  • Expensive

This is predictable but problematic given that most organisations don’t have the full complement of the skills and man-hours they need to deliver the digital programmes they are committed to.

If you deliver using Agile, resourcing large digital programmes with an outsourced team poses a unique challenge. Isn’t Agile about co-location and fast decisions made in the same room they’re going to be executed? As the prevalence of Agile grows and the size and complexity of digital projects increases, we can the issue of resourcing and distributed teams to become more important.

It’s time to solve this problem.

The options to date have been binary:

  1. Grow your permanent team and supplement with contractors
  2. Outsource the project – onshore (aka Expensive) or offshore (aka Fail)

The pros and cons are well documented and familiar.

Most digital programmes need to outsource at least part of their development pipeline.

Bad reasons to outsource: ‘efficiency’

✗ Saving money - Outsourcing often costs more
✗ Speeding up development - Outsourcing is surprisingly slow
✗ Replacing existing people (and reducing costs)

Good reasons to outsource: augmenting

✓ Lacking the skills or capacity in-house
✓ Focus: getting round internal politics or project pipeline
✓ Speed (it might take six months to recruit)
✓ Your own team aren’t Agile enough
✓ You don’t want to start from scratch. Another company may have an existing product they can customise

Hear the ‘new rules’ direct from companies who have created smart, successful and distributed teams at our [October event] (/news/unboxed-consulting-to-host-event-for-digital-product-leaders) in Central London.