The Secret Sauce of Outsourcing

By David Vilneff

Let’s call it what it is – Off-Site Production Support. The customary term “Outsourcing” has such a negative connotation, I prefer not to use it.

There are a plethora of concerns about 3rd party production assistance, such as:

  • It’s too difficult and we tried it once before and it didn’t work.
  • We ended up redoing the work.
  • They didn’t quite understand how we work.
  • I’d prefer to keep the business in-house.
  • I got tired of Go-to-Meetings scheduled for 7:00 in the morning (who wouldn’t?).

All of these issues and the entire process of work-share, come down to a single item – Communication. It is really not all that difficult if key stakeholders (usually the PMs on both sides of the table) connect with each other on a regular basis.

I’m talking about the key parties/the PMs from both sides taking the time to talk. To develop a connection and create a communication protocol. How do you want to share information/files? When do you want to talk? How often and by what preferred method (telephone, email, screen share or whatever works best for the project)? Spend some time figuring out what works for both parties and give it the time to develop. It’s no different than working with your own staff remotely. Try to think of your work share partner as that department that is so far across your office that you prefer not to walk over to talk, but call instead. Also, don’t expect everything to run smoothly from day one; it takes time to get acclimated, but if both parties are committed to making the process work, it will. It really isn’t more complicated than Communication.

Other issues mentioned that I will address individually are:
This is my favorite – “We tried it once before and it didn’t work.” What? When you tried to ride a bike or swim the first time, could you? Work-share, like any “new” process, takes time to become efficient. It’s no different than when you first start working with a new client. The work-share industry has also matured, as have all of the companies committed to providing this service. Link Studios started in 2005 and it is an entirely different company than it was 13 years ago. We got a lot better.

“We ended up redoing the work.” If unsatisfactory work is issued much beyond a couple of weeks; why outsource? Unless the work produced meets all expectations and is indistinguishable from your own, it is of no use. My assumption is that if this has happened, you may not be working with a tenured/professional company. Their price and story might have got them in your door, but if you lose time redoing work or the quality is sub-standard, you are creating a huge risk for your company and for your reputation.

“They didn’t understand how we work.” Again, Communicate.
Make sure you share not only the project expectations but also the expectations of your company. Provide examples of similar projects and provide an environment that motivates your work share partner to ask questions.

“I’d prefer to keep the work in-house.” Link Studios is only there to support the ebbs and flows of project business. We are a more effective option than hiring and firing to meet changing project volumes.

“Don’t like 7:00 a.m. meetings.” We don’t either. Link Studios is in a time zone that is compatible with our clients and we work normal business hours.

Hopefully, this explains our position as it relates to proving exceptional off-site production support. Please contact us if we can be of any service.

David Vilneff
President, Link Studios