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Book Review: Outsourcing Web Projects.

By : Shabda Raaj

Sitepoint had a book sales running recently where they made all their books available for sale at 7$. Being a sucker for good books and deals, I bought more than I should have. Here is the review of the first I read, "Outsourcing web projects."

This books is written from the viewpoint of buyers, but as a vendor, I have some insights (IMO) from the other side.

It starts with these chapters.

  • How to Have Vendors Competing for your Job.
  • How to Find the Perfect Outsourcing Partner.
  • How to Get the Best Price for your Project.
  • How to Get it All on Paper.
  • How to Keep the Project on Track.
  • How to Turn your Vendor into a Long-term Partner.

How to Have Vendors Competing for your Job.

Getting vendors is easy, getting the perfect vendor for you is harder. This chapter tells you how.

It boils down to

  • Be knowledgeable.
  • Be willing to give and take.
  • Don't be a jerk.

This chapter is pretty spot on. Nothing turns of a vendor like a client who seems like he doesn't know the scope of work, or is going to be a pain to be working with. If you look like one, and get a quote, you are getting a "Painful Customer price".

How to Find the Perfect Outsourcing Partner.

This chapter provides step by step guide to pare down the big list of Vendors you must have got in chapter 1.

  • Eliminate the lowball offers, they probably don't understand the complexity.
  • Eliminate the too high prices, you probably got the "Painful Customer price".
  • Eliminate those who do not have references and portfolios for type of work you need.
  • Eliminate those who can not prove and justify claims in their portfolios.

Overall another spot on chapter.

How to Get the Best Price for your Project.

After chapter 2, you have a small list of vendors who all have expertise. You can get the best price for you from these vendors.

  • Prove again that you are a non painful client.
  • Use info you have gained from talking to multiple vendors to see if any of the vendors will sweeten the deal.

How to Get it All on Paper.

You have now selected a vendor and need to get the Payment and legal structure. This chapter explain the legal terms.

It provides guidelines on choosing between fixed and hourly bid. (If your project is complex go with hourly). For fixed bids, it recommends tying payments to a milestone based structure, another which I agree with.

How to Keep the Project on Track.

  • Keep realistic expectation, and expectations in sync.
  • Have communication but not too much.

This chapter is fairly basic, and if you are the person keeping track of progress, you would probably know everything this chapter explains, but this good as an overview.

How to Turn your Vendor into a Long-term Partner.

Getting new vendors is hard and time consuming, so you want trusted people you have worked with.

Just do what you claimed when choosing the vendor in step 1, and they would be glad to work with you again.

  • Be knowledgeable.
  • Be willing to give and take.
  • Don't be a jerk.

Apart from these,

  • Pay on time
  • Offer to write testimonials/references.
  • Send referral customers.

Again a spot on chapter. There are people who we have worked with for years, and who we give massive discounts to work with them. There are people who I wont want to work with in any price. This chapter gets the difference completely.


Overall I think this is a very well written book, and if you are looking to hire a vendor for a web project this is a must read book. Buy it here.


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