Communication in outsourcing projects

The previous article stressed the importance of effective communication. We saw that gaps in the communication process derail the project goals resulting in missed deadlines, under optimized results and unplanned expanses. To prevent such unpleasant surprises each company, manager and team should carefully plan the communication process and channels. From experience, my team has pinpoint three MUSTs for effective communication:


1. Determine communication channels

First you have to agree on communication channels through which the messages will be transmitted. The technology today offers wide range of tools for communication and information sharing: phone, skype, instant messages, emails, Dropbox, screen sharing, TeamViewer and so on. However, be aware that reaching people through every channel possible can be annoying! The choice of the channel depends on the client’s preferences. Namely, some prefer calls for issues that need an immediate answer; others don’t fancy being interrupted and favor emails. Some develop intranet communication channels for information protection. You have to respect and adapt to the client’s privacy preferences.


2. Engagement on every level

Second, but equally important you have to make sure everyone is on board! Employees on every level should be well informed for the desired outcomes of the project. Everyone should have a clear vision of how the project supports the larger business objectives. Forbes insight urges for closing the gap between developers of the strategy and those that must execute it. Moreover, communication must flow both horizontally and vertically and both directions: from buyers to service provider and the other way around (Figure 1).

In addition, create informal communication channels which encourage interactive communication. Questions raised and comments can enhance and optimize the process and prevent problems of happening saving you and the client valuable time and energy!


3. Frequency of communication

Scheduled communication has been mentioned as critical for success and avoidance of communication lapses. However, our experience shows that frequency of communication depends heavily on the nature of the outsourced services and tasks. Accounting and other administrative tasks require more structured way of communication, while creative tasks like graphic design has more of an “open door” communication style. Nevertheless, the important thing is to be adaptable! Some may require weekly and monthly reports, while others communication on daily basis. You should be aiming for the most favorable combination of the various channels with optimal frequency (Figure 2).

Understand, adapt and stay consistent!
Addressing the above things will ensure not only for successful execution of the current project, but also building relationship based on trust which in the outsourcing industry is crucial!