Outsource This!

My brother, a Silicon Valley software engineer, and I are having a major argument about how to get the Sourcingmag.com Web site done. I've hired somebody I know, who also happens to be local to where I'm located and happens to know how to do the things the site needs to do. My bro believes I should be testing out the waters of offshoring by taking this Web site development project to India. Not only will it save this start-up valuable dollars, he says, but it'll make our reporting of practical outsourcing information more authentic.

My argument against going that direction is that it would be a incredibly impractical. One, we're not spending in the six figures by any means. I believe there's a materiality that should play a role in deciding whether and what to offshore. Two, you're supposed to test a service provider with a pilot project. The primary delivery vehicle for a new information publishing company to get its content to readers isn't exactly a pilot project — it's the whole project! Three, my local Web developer and I are concocting some of the features and functions on the fly; shuttling the effort offshore means I'd need to have my requirements specced out as carefully as possible to avoid a constant stream of change tickets and unexpected costs. That leads to four, the length of time this project involves. Overall, it's probably slightly over a month's worth of work — doled out over the course of two and a half months. I could easily spend that much time putting together the RFP in a form effective enough to get a reasonable response from interested vendors.

Yes, I'm outsourcing, just not offshore. Cost can't be the only driver. More on this topic later!