It is beneficial for outsourcing companies to have specialists working with no downtime. Breaks happen when one project ends and the next one hasn’t started yet.
To avoid such situations, many outsourcing companies practice the work of specialists on several projects simultaneously. This approach reduces costs. The cost of services will be less, as the risk of downtime of specialists is reduced, but the same approach can have a negative impact on the team involvement and achievement of results.
Work on several projects sometimes leads to negative consequences. It should be noted that switching between different tasks costs time and money for a business.
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You can conduct an experiment. Take 5 boxes of matches, put them in a line 10cm apart and pour out the matches under each box. Now, track the time it will take you to put the matches back one by one into the matchboxes in each of the following ways:
- Put all the matches into the 1st matchbox, then into the 2nd and so on up to the 5th matchbox.
- Put one match in the 1st box, then one match in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and further in a loop, until all the matches are in each of their matchboxes.
The difference in the time spent will be the price between switching over to different (though similar) tasks.
Of course, there are different approaches to outsourcing. Including practices that limit the participation of specialists in more than one project.
Tip: ensure that technical specialists are not more than 20% distracted by non-project tasks.
What is Important for a successful project?
What is a successful project? According to the Diceus blog, the most common definition is that a project is one in which a customer (either internally or externally) has received the required business value on time and for the expected budget.
The main feature of outsourcing companies is remoteness of a project team from those people who are responsible for the business result of the project. Agree that when everybody works in one room (or building), issues are solved faster and less time is spent on communication.
The research of Standish Group for 2013 says: the most important factor for the project to be successful (completed on time and on a budget) is the presence of Executive Sponsor – a person who is personally responsible for the success or failure of works.
This person, who understands the business value and strives to achieve it, is ready to guide all participants in the right direction. From my experience, I can say that such an “owner” of the project is really more important than the qualification of a team (people can be trained) and technical aspects of work (no approaches and contracts will work effectively on their own).
Otherwise (if there is no project owner), the team will receive less feedback and will not feel the need for their work. When the work goes somewhere far away, as in the “black hole”, and the result is unknown, the motivation of people is greatly reduced.
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Absence of such a person negatively affects any projects, whether it’s a remote team or your own.
Tip: do not assume that your own or an external team will correctly determine the business value of the project. Appoint the person in charge of the project and make sure they have enough authority to make decisions.