A complaint we often hear from those who have sent work offshore is, Why didn’t they just ask questions if they didn’t understand? There could be several reasons for this and one of those could have been underway from the very beginning of the relationship. From the first encounter with your potential partner it helps greatly to set the appropriate environment for asking and answering questions has been set. I know I get quite a few RFP’s (Requests for Proposal) from companies asking me just to send back a proposal with timeline and cost and not allowing for any time to ask any clarifying questions. Many companies seem to want to do this because they want to just get a quick price quote from many companies for quick comparison. If that is all you want and are not seriously looking for an offshore partner, you won’t be harmed by not allowing for questions. But if you really want them to build something for you, and you want to make sure they know what they are doing, then allowing them to ask questions of you in real time and receive answers will set the environment for asking questions throughout the entire project and time you are working together.
On the same vein, if you do give your potential offshore partners the opportunity to talk with you in real time, to ask questions and for you to ask questions, if they do not take you up on this offer, I would be very worried. If they can give a price, especially if they are giving a fixed bid price, without asking any questions, you may have cause for concern. Specifications, no matter how well written are subject to interpretation; two people reading the same thing, even if they come from the same background, can easily glean two different visions of what needs to be done.
Another fallout from not setting the right stage from the very beginning, and another reason you may not be getting exactly what you want; when you start out your offshore project with just a quick bid and proposal, you may have inadvertently given your offshore partner free reign to interpret the specifications per their discretion. If that is what you want okay then be prepared that you may not get exactly what you want. This includes both from a functionality view as well as technically (i.e. they may not have used the right technologies to develop your solution, if these were not clarified up front. If it doesnâ€™t matter to you, that is okay, but if it does matter you would rather find out sooner rather than later.).
Interaction is usually required to make sure that all parties are thinking along the same lines and it is best if that interaction starts from the very beginning, before even choosing an offshore partner.