Outsourcing like Marriage?!


    In “Leader: How outsourcing is like getting married,” Silicon.com quotes an analogy from the UK”s Society of IT Management, in which outsourcing is compared to marriage.

    “The wedding ceremony and honeymoon become the signing of the contract and the happy launch period immediately after, making the 'til death us do part' bit everything from then on, when the initial euphoria wears off and the first big problems pop up,” says the article.

    What struck me about the short column was this statement: “Socitm warns that the divorce rate is rising, with fewer and fewer contracts lasting their full length.” Maybe this is a matter of semantics, but I question that use of the term “divorce” to describe this phenomenon.

    Contracts don’t last their full length not because they’re necessarily failed projects, but because the terms change in the course of the work. This is as it should be. A contract that doesn’t have flexibility built in will surely come up short when technologies change, business drivers change, and so on.

    Contracts are meant to be terms of agreement for today; tomorrow (next year, two years from now) may simply call for different terms. That doesn’t always mean the contract has failed. It means something has changed and a new or modified contract is called for.