Fellow OUTSOURCING Warriors

19 replies
I recently outsourced the development of a WP Plugin and I have to say that it has been an interesting experience. The biggest issue so far is that the project has gone three weeks past the deadline that they set. Other issues involve communication barriers or translating/demonstrating exactly what I'm looking for.

An interesting point is that the graphics designer for this project has also gone past the deadline that he set. So I'm wondering if this is common place when outsourcing to other countries? To those who have outsourced projects, what problems have you run into? How did you handle it? Do you have any recommendations on how to overcome the language differences or communicating more effectively? I've communicated via email and Skype but there is still loss translation.
#fellow #outsourcing #warriors
  • Profile picture of the author DWolfe
    I hired some one here from Austraila had the site done in a week. It was easy dealing with him. Only issue was time difference. Excellant to deal with.
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    • Profile picture of the author RevSEO
      Here's a great writeup on outsourcing your programming: How to hire a programmer to make your ideas happen | Derek Sivers

      I follow most of the advice in that to a T as its been extremely beneficial for me and my projects.

      Some things to note, I typically will only outsource programming to Eastern Europeans. The language barrier isn't as hard as it is with working with programmers from other countries. They typically are more upfront and honest about deadlines, and will give you details about their current workload outside of my own projects.

      I always expect extra time over the "quoted" final date. Things ALWAYS come up and its never as cut and dry as having deadlines so you do need to be flexible in this department.
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      • Profile picture of the author pmbrent
        Originally Posted by RevSEO View Post

        Here's a great writeup on outsourcing your programming: How to hire a programmer to make your ideas happen | Derek Sivers

        I follow most of the advice in that to a T as its been extremely beneficial for me and my projects.

        Some things to note, I typically will only outsource programming to Eastern Europeans. The language barrier isn't as hard as it is with working with programmers from other countries. They typically are more upfront and honest about deadlines, and will give you details about their current workload outside of my own projects.

        I always expect extra time over the "quoted" final date. Things ALWAYS come up and its never as cut and dry as having deadlines so you do need to be flexible in this department.
        thanks for the information, your absolutely right about things ALWAYS coming up, it happens everywhere regardless of location most of the time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tony Dean
    Stick to someone who understands English, don't take on people who may be using Bablefish.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Williams
    Used to outsource to cheaper workers and noticed the same thing. They'll quote you a week and take a month. It's very commonplace.

    It seems the more money that's on the line, the more likely the person is to do it - and the quality is higher. I tend to stick to more reasonably priced people now.
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    • Profile picture of the author pmbrent
      Originally Posted by Kevin Williams View Post

      Used to outsource to cheaper workers and noticed the same thing. They'll quote you a week and take a month. It's very commonplace.

      It seems the more money that's on the line, the more likely the person is to do it - and the quality is higher. I tend to stick to more reasonably priced people now.
      I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who experienced that, I generally don't go for the cheapest bid anyway because as the adage says you typically get what you pay for.
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  • Profile picture of the author GetMoreTraffic
    That's just a project management issue, not an outsourcing issue. You need to set firm deadlines,but be realistic enough to allow for "creep." One solution is to offer a bonus for work completed on time...funnily enough, the creep tends to stop short....
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    • Profile picture of the author pmbrent
      Originally Posted by RobTheCopywriter View Post

      That's just a project management issue, not an outsourcing issue. You need to set firm deadlines,but be realistic enough to allow for "creep." One solution is to offer a bonus for work completed on time...funnily enough, the creep tends to stop short....
      Most of the time they set the deadline for when they can have it complete, but what I'm finding is that they never complete it by then. That is a good idea to get projects complete on time, but I shouldn't have to offer a bonus for them to complete a project by a deadline they set.
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny Optimo
    This is just as much the fault of the project manager (you) as it is your freelancers. I'm sure you have learned a lot though and will avoid similar annoyances with the next project you outsource. You really need to stay on top of everyone and keep the process flowing nicely - lot of times people plan out their projects poorly so they require lots of revisions that delay the project.

    And yes, projects going over deadline is a very common thing in outsourcing

    You don't need to reward your freelancers for getting stuff done on time, but you can punish them for not doing so; for every day they go past deadline, you can take off $5-10 (or whatever is appropriate) off of their fee - but obviously that needs to be in the contract.
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  • Profile picture of the author Evil Sniper XV
    Whenever I outsource articles to people, I always somehow outsource to some India, Paskistan, or other citizen. I try to stick to the Philipines, Kenya, and European and NA... Cause the language barrier isn't that hard. But when you go for middle eastern contractors, they seem to not understand English at all. Or they think they do, and you have to re-do all of their work.
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  • Originally Posted by pmbrent View Post

    The biggest issue so far is that the project has gone three weeks past the deadline that they set.
    Welcome to the joyful world of outsourcing, where fixed dates are as hypothetical as they get.
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    • Profile picture of the author speedylikesKJ
      hi i am a freelancer and also i outsource small work to other fellows every freelancing website has some safety features like milestone payment etc ..always followed them and never had any problem, i don`t think so language does n`t matter some times it happens that you choose us person and he will outsource job to India or Bangladesh and majority of companies are doing it
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    • Profile picture of the author pmbrent
      Originally Posted by Anonymous Affiliate View Post

      Welcome to the joyful world of outsourcing, where fixed dates are as hypothetical as they get.
      Yeah I've learned that very quickly
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      • Profile picture of the author gananathan
        You seem to have a management issue. You need to set milestones that can be achieved easily in small steps. This will help you to keep track of the project and address any deviations from the start.

        Addressing the issue could mean revising the time or changing the team, depending on how severe the issue at hand is.
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        • Profile picture of the author pmbrent
          Originally Posted by gananathan View Post

          You seem to have a management issue. You need to set milestones that can be achieved easily in small steps. This will help you to keep track of the project and address any deviations from the start.

          Addressing the issue could mean revising the time or changing the team, depending on how severe the issue at hand is.
          I'm not a programmer so I'm not well versed in what is involved in developmet, with that being said what kind of milestones could I set?
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  • Profile picture of the author ebrg
    Is it more reliable to hire a virtial assistant managed by an outsourcing firm. Would the managers in the firm not keep the VA on track and ensure timely completion of the tasks.
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    • Profile picture of the author pmbrent
      Originally Posted by ebrg View Post

      Is it more reliable to hire a virtial assistant managed by an outsourcing firm. Would the managers in the firm not keep the VA on track and ensure timely completion of the tasks.
      I need a VA in the worst way...
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  • Profile picture of the author dsouravs
    I am an independent freelancer and have fantastic feedback at odesk. I am very fluent in English (speaking and writing), and always complete project on time.

    Thanks
    skype: sourav.sen2
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    • Profile picture of the author pmbrent
      Originally Posted by sdouravs View Post

      I am an independent freelancer and have fantastic feedback at odesk. I am very fluent in English (speaking and writing), and always complete project on time.

      Thanks
      skype: sourav.sen2
      Well that's good to know, what type of work do you do?
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