"Outsource or Else!: How a VP of Software Saved His Company" is a guide to a new level of outsourcing, known as "Outsourcing 2.0". At this level, outsourcing is a partnership designed to transform the efficiency of everyone involved into something dramatically more powerful. If you are considering outsourcing or just want to improve your outsourcing experience in the future, these lessons wrapped up in a story is something you want to consider reading.
Outsourcing, especially in software development, often carries with it a negative connotation. The perception is that a business only outsources to do things on the cheap — usually at the expense of quality.
This mistaken idea is what has so far hampered Jason, a software VP, from taking the steps necessary to save his drowning company. He now faces a looming project deadline and a one-shot chance for survival.
But as soon as Jason steps out of his comfort zone (and literally out of his time zone), he gains a whole new perspective on the power of smart outsourcing.
What is Outsource or Else About?
Outsource or Else is the fictional story of Jason, VP of BurnRate, a fitness app with social media and photo-taking capabilities, who turns to outsourcing in a last ditch effort to save his company from the investors who are growing more concerned by the day about the company’s continued performance issues.
Jason, at first, tries to do everything he can think of short of outsourcing to save his company. But when these efforts prove ineffective, he finally relents.
Like many other business leaders trying outsourcing for the first time, Jason embarks on a journey through what the book refers to as “Outsourcing 1.0.” This basically involves an approach where price is the only criterion for outsourcing work. In “Outsourcing 1.0”, the project is simply offloaded to another company which completes all the work for a single fee. But going through Google and his spam email folder, Jason suffers from the nagging suspicion that he could do better.
Enter Patrick Delaney of One World Software Outsourcing Solutions. Patrick serves as a mentor to Jason introducing him to the world of “Outsourcing 2.0”. Outsourcing 2.0 represents a shift in perspective from delegation to a partnership. Instead of looking for the cheapest option, leaders are encouraged to test potential outsourcing companies for reliability, compatibility and their overall ability to work with, not outside of, the hiring company.
Armed with this new mindset, Jason goes on a worldwide trip where he sees firsthand how his selection of an outsourcing team will affect his business. The rest of the story continues with how Jason and his new outsourced company navigate through the challenges of working on a tight deadline from a global perspective. Along the way, Jason gains some insight that also helps him deal with a problem at home.
Author Steve Mezak is an IT and outsourcing expert with 30 years of industry experience. Mezak is the CEO of Accelerance, a global outsourcing company he founded in 2001.
His co-author, Andy Hillard, is President of Accelerance, joining the company after 2009, and is an expert with 20 years experience in the IT and outsourcing fields.
What Was Best About Outsource or Else?
The best part of Outsource or Else is the highly realistic story itself. The authors pull from their own experience to present a story that cleverly illustrates the frustrations and concerns of business owners considering outsourcing. The book also confronts the realities of working with an outsourcing team. Things don’t go smoothly for Jason’s company, BurnRate, once he chooses an outsourcing company and this provides readers an opportunity to delve into further lessons from the authors.
What Could Have Been Done Differently
Outsource or Else does a good job of presenting an entertaining story with valuable lessons. As an example, the principles that Patrick, the “Morpheus-like” mentor, gives to Jason are an incredible point of reference for any person considering software outsourcing. The one area that could have been improved to provide even more benefit would be the application, particularly for beginners just getting involved with outsourcing. For example, further discussion could have focused on the pros and cons of “Outsourcing 2,0” for particular business situations.
Why Read Outsource or Else?
Outsource or Else will be of most benefit to business owners who have already considered the option of outsourcing or already have some experience with it. For those already considering it, the book definitely makes the case for outsourcing not simply as an option but as a necessity. It provides a quick rationale for a new and improved philosophy and demonstrates what that philosophy might look like in real life. For those business leaders who already outsource projects or have done so in the past, the book can serve as a model for evaluating those efforts, especially in the software industry. It can also serve as a guide to more successful outsourcing in the future.