The topic of more “man hours” will come up at least once in your professional career. A man hour is defined as the average amount of work performed by one man in an hour. Now when talking about a single designer/developer, such as yourself, this is how long you can work in a given day. However, what happens when you need more time to work on a project but you alone simply can’t do it?
You could go back to the client and request more time, explaining that you aren’t a magician and the schedule is way too aggressive. Of course this won’t always be a success and in rare cases the client could begin to worry and cancel the project altogether.
Another option is to hire more professionals which results in more man hours because for every hour working on the project you multiply that by the number of professionals on the project. This can be done by hiring a bunch of professional friends, an agency or the more controversial option is outsourcing globally.
While it is a good idea to help out your local friends/family in the same professional group as you its sometimes not feasible based on the budget of the project. This is when you can hire an outsourcing group that generally charges less than your average professional, meaning you can complete the project and stay under budget.
The problem here is picking the correct outsourcing group. You can quickly scan the internet and in a matter of minutes you will read about horror stories with outsourcing groups that have stolen projects, stole money or simply did a horrible job causing you to clean it all up. This of course means an upset client, blown budget and likely a really bad referrals.
Okay so now you have heard about the horror stories of outsourcing, I am sure you are asking yourself, is it really worth it? It is indeed worth it provided you do your research. I am NOT going to recommend a group because I don’t have too much experience with them, but I have talked with other professionals and learned they are easy to spot.
Look at the outsourcing groups client list, verify these projects, look over their services and most importantly get them on the phone and ensure they can clearly communicate with you. If you have a bad feeling in the intro meetings you will likely end up in a bad place at the worst time. Think of the screening process like a job interview and trust your instincts.
You should now have a pretty good idea of what outsourcing does to help and how it can hurt, the last important point to add is the planning of doing the project on your own resources in case the group doesn’t work out. What I like to do in this case is give the outsourcing group a tighter deadline giving me the ability to finish the project if they drop the ball.
If you have outsourced projects in the past or simply heard good things please post a comment. Also feel free to add your opinion because I am not 100% sold on this idea for every project.