7-Step Approach to Outsourcing an IT Project (W/ Tips for 2024)

September 4, 2023

The days when building an in-house IT team was the default route for businesses looking to innovate and optimize their operations are long gone. 

Due to a growing skills gap, finding the right talent to build an in-house team has become a significant problem. According to a Deloitte study, 50% of executives believe talent acquisition to be among their top challenges.

In such a scenario, outsourcing your IT project comes as an ideal solution. Per recent data, an average of around 60% of businesses outsource IT projects.

However, outsourcing an IT project can turn into a challenging journey that undermines your gains, from communication breakdowns to misaligned expectations.

To help you overcome these challenges and go through a hassle-free process, this article covers all the steps you need to take to outsource an IT project smoothly and effectively in 2023. 

What Does Outsourcing an IT Project Mean?

Outsourcing an IT project refers to delegating one or several IT-related tasks to professionals or companies outside of your organization. 

This can include various aspects of software development, hardware maintenance, technical support, system administration, data management, cybersecurity, and more. However, most companies outsource IT projects for app development.

Outsourcing IT projects allows you to tap into an external organization's expertise and skills. In turn, this can help you complete your projects quickly at a reduced cost. 

Moreover, it lets you pass the burden of software development to someone else and focus on core business functions like attracting customers, improving customer services, and increasing revenue.

Say your company wants to build a mobile app, but your IT team is already stretched thin with daily maintenance tasks. 

In such a case, it makes sense to outsource your software development project. You can work with an external mobile app development company, like Make IT Simple, with a strong track record in creating mobile apps that enhance user experience.

7 Steps to Outsource an IT Project

Outsourcing an IT project can be a strategic decision to leverage external expertise, reduce costs, and focus on core business activities. 

Here are the steps to successfully outsource your IT project:

#1. Define Its Scope

The project scope is a crucial component that lays the foundation for successful IT outsourcing. It provides a clear roadmap for the product’s goals and the boundaries within which it will operate.

Moreover, it encompasses the specific functionalities, features, and outcomes that the project will deliver. The project scope also helps prevent scope creep, which refers to the uncontrolled expansion of project requirements during its execution.

To define the project scope, you should start by collaborating with all the relevant stakeholders, including business owners, end-users, and IT experts, to gather insights and perspectives. Document all the requirements established while communicating with the stakeholders, so that you can convey them to the IT service vendor without missing any points.

Once you have listed your requirements, prioritize and set measurable goals to achieve them. This will make it easier to track progress and measure success.

#2. Choose Between Onshore and Offshore Service Models

Choosing between onshore and offshore service models when outsourcing IT projects involves considering various factors to determine the best fit for your project and business needs. 

Both models have advantages and disadvantages, and the decision should be based on carefully evaluating your priorities, budget, timeline, and project requirements. 

Here's a breakdown of the critical considerations for each model:

Onshore Service Model

Onshore outsourcing involves hiring a third-party vendor located within the same country or region as your business. Here are some pros and cons:


  • Proximity and Time Zone: Working with an onshore team often leads to better communication due to shared time zones and cultural similarities. This can lead to quicker response times and fewer communication challenges.
  • Quality and Skills: Onshore vendors generally adhere to higher quality standards, regulatory compliance, and skill levels due to familiarity with local business practices and regulations.
  • Security and Data Protection: Regulatory and legal frameworks for data protection and security are often more aligned in onshore locations, reducing potential risks associated with data privacy.


  • Higher Costs: Onshore outsourcing tends to be more expensive due to higher labor costs and living standards. This can impact your project budget.
  • Resource Availability: Depending on the specific skillset you require, there might be limitations on the availability of specialized resources in your region.

Offshore Service Model

Offshore outsourcing involves hiring a third-party vendor in a different country or geographic region. Here are some of this model’s pros and cons:


  • Cost Savings: Offshore outsourcing is often chosen for its potential to significantly reduce project costs due to lower labor costs and operational expenses in some regions.
  • Access to Global Talent: Offshore outsourcing provides access to a broader talent pool, potentially allowing you to find specialized skills and expertise that might be scarce or expensive locally.
  • Scalability: Offshore teams can be quickly scaled up or down based on project requirements, enabling more flexibility in resource allocation.


  • Communication Challenges: Differences in time zones, cultural norms, and language can sometimes lead to communication difficulties and misunderstandings.
  • Data Security and Compliance: Offshore locations might have different data protection and security regulations, requiring careful consideration of data privacy risks.

#3. Choose the Right Service Provider

The next step to outsource an IT project is choosing the right service provider. 

A recent study by Whitelane Research concludes that there are at least 660 unique IT service providers in the UK. This can make selecting the right vendor difficult.

Here are some key considerations to help you make an informed decision:

  • Expertise and Experience: Evaluate the service provider's expertise in the specific technology or domain relevant to your project. Look at their past projects, case studies, and client testimonials. A provider with a track record of successful projects like yours is more likely to deliver quality results.
  • Portfolio and References: Ask candidates for a portfolio showcasing their previous work. This can give you insights into their capabilities and style. Additionally, reach out to their references to gather feedback on their performance, communication, and ability to meet deadlines.
  • Cultural Fit: Cultural compatibility is often overlooked but can greatly impact project success. A service provider that aligns with your organization's values, work culture, and communication style can foster smoother collaboration.
  • Quality Assurance: Ask about the service provider's quality assurance and testing processes. Quality control should be integral to their development cycle to ensure the final product meets your standards.
  • Security and Data Protection: For IT projects, security is paramount. Ensure the provider follows industry best practices for data protection, including compliance with relevant regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, etc.

You don't have to select the final service provider right away. Just create a shortlist of potential vendors based on your considerations.

Looking for a service provider that ticks all the above-mentioned qualities? Contact Make IT Simple today to discuss your IT project needs.

#4. Ask for a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Quotation (RFQ)

Once you have narrowed down the list of potential service providers, it's time to send them a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Quotation (RFQ).

An RFP is a detailed document that outlines the project's goals, scope, specifications, budget, timeline, and other relevant information. It is typically used for complex IT projects that require a comprehensive solution. Vendors are expected to respond with detailed proposals that address the client's needs and offer a clear plan for project execution. 

The RFP allows the client to evaluate multiple proposals and select the vendor that best meets their requirements.

An RFQ is a more streamlined document used when the project's requirements are well-defined and the client seeks a straightforward cost estimate. It includes a list of specific products or services needed, along with relevant details. Vendors are invited to provide a quotation that outlines how much fulfilling the stated requirements will cost. RFQs are often used for smaller IT projects or for procuring specific IT components.

RFPs and RFQs are essential documents in the outsourcing process, as they help the client gather information, compare proposals or quotations, and make informed decisions about selecting a vendor for their IT project. 

These documents ensure that all parties clearly understand the project's scope and expectations, which is crucial for successful outsourcing.

#5. Evaluate and Select a Vendor

This is where you decide who your service provider will be. To properly select your vendor, evaluate the responses you get for RFP or RFQ.

Start by assessing candidates’ technical expertise, skills, and experience in the specific technology stack required for your project. Additionally, assess the technologies and development frameworks the vendor uses. This will help determine if the company is a good fit for you. For instance, Make IT Simple uses Angular and Node.Js frameworks that allow for building robust applications.

You can also review candidates’ past projects, case studies, and references to assess their ability to handle similar projects successfully. 

Moreover, evaluate the vendor's pricing structure and ensure that it aligns with your budget.

#6. Plan and Establish Clear Communications

Effective planning and clear communication can significantly contribute to the project's success, while poor planning and communication can lead to misunderstandings, delays, and even project failure.

Establishing a clear communication channel will ensure that you and your chosen service provider are on the same page. 

Keep in mind that as your IT project evolves, your requirements may also change. In turn, you may need regular updates on the project for assurance. Deciding on a communication channel will make the entire process seamless.

#7. Sign Contracts

Regardless of the IT service provider's reputation and reviews, writing everything down on paper is always beneficial. Contracts provide a legally binding framework that outlines the terms and conditions of the outsourcing arrangement. This ensures that both parties are on the same page and reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings or disputes.

You can sign different contracts based on your project's scope and requirements. Here are some common contracts you can consider:

  • Master Service Agreement (MSA): An overarching contract that defines the general terms and conditions of the outsourcing relationship, including legal and financial aspects.
  • Statement of Work (SOW): A detailed document attached to the MSA that outlines the specific project scope, objectives, deliverables, milestones, and timeline.
  • Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA): A contract that establishes confidentiality obligations to protect sensitive information shared between the parties during the project.
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA): An agreement that defines the expected level of service performance, response times, uptime guarantees, and penalties for not meeting the specified standards.
  • Intellectual Property (IP) Agreement: Specifies the ownership and usage rights of intellectual property created or shared during the project.
  • Termination and Exit Strategy: Clearly outline the conditions under which either party can terminate the contract and the steps involved in transitioning the project back in-house or to another vendor if needed.
  • Payment Terms: Specify the payment structure, including the project cost, payment schedule, and any penalties or incentives related to project milestones or outcomes.

6 Benefits of Outsourcing an IT Project

Outsourcing your IT project comes with several benefits from saving costs to reduced management burden. 

Here is a comprehensive list of everything you can gain from outsourcing your IT project:

#1. Saving Costs

Outsourcing is often more cost-effective than hiring and maintaining an in-house IT team. That's because it eliminates the need for upfront infrastructure, equipment, and training investments. Outsourcing providers typically offer competitive pricing and can help businesses control and reduce IT-related expenses.

For instance, customer software development can cost anything between $20,000 to a six-digit figure. By outsourcing the IT project to a country where custom software developer wages are low, you can save a lot on development.

#2. Easy Access to Expertise

IT outsourcing allows you to tap into a pool of skilled professionals and experts you might not have in-house. This can be especially beneficial for complex or niche projects that require specific technical knowledge.

#3. Faster Turnaround Time

Leveraging the expertise of a skilled and dedicated team can help you bring products and services to market faster, gaining a competitive edge.

For instance, suppose your in-house software development team has a couple of developers. However, they lack skills like user experience and software testing. In that case, outsourcing the project to skilled developers will help accelerate your software's time to market.

#4. Flexibility and Scalability

Outsourcing provides the flexibility to quickly scale your IT resources up or down based on project requirements. 

You can easily adjust the scope and size of the outsourced team as needed without the constraints of hiring or laying off employees.

#5. 24/7 Support and Coverage

Many outsourcing providers offer round-the-clock support, ensuring that critical systems and services are always monitored and maintained. 

This can be especially important for businesses with a global presence or requiring continuous uptime.

#6. Reduced Management Burden

Managing an IT project internally requires significant time and effort in terms of project management, resource allocation, and coordination. 

Outsourcing allows you to offload these responsibilities to the provider, freeing up your internal resources.

5 Challenges of Outsourcing IT Projects

Outsourcing IT projects can offer numerous benefits, such as cost savings, access to specialized skills, and increased flexibility. 

However, it also presents several challenges that must be carefully managed to ensure successful project outcomes. 

Some key challenges of outsourcing IT projects include:

#1. Data Security Issues

Sharing sensitive information and intellectual property with external parties can pose significant security and privacy risks. Thus, establishing robust data protection measures and contractual agreements to safeguard sensitive data is crucial.

You can leverage several strategies to overcome data security issues, such as:

  • Contractual Obligations: Include specific data security requirements in the outsourcing contract. Define data handling procedures, encryption standards, incident response plans, and consequences for breaches.
  • Data Minimization: Share only the necessary data with the outsourcing partner. Minimize the exposure of sensitive information to reduce potential risks.
  • Access Control: Implement strict access controls to ensure that only authorized personnel can access sensitive data. Use multi-factor authentication and role-based access controls.

#2. Miscommunication

Effective communication is essential for project success. When working with a geographically distant team, different time zones, languages, and cultural nuances can lead to misunderstandings, delays, and misalignment of expectations.

#3. Risk of Poor Quality Work

Ensuring consistent quality across outsourced projects can be challenging. 

Differing standards, methodologies, and practices between the client and the outsourced team may result in deliverables that don’t meet your expectations.

#4. Dependency on Vendor

Outsourcing can create a dependency on the vendor's availability, responsiveness, and expertise. 

If the vendor faces financial, operational, or resource challenges, it could impact project timelines and quality.

#5. Knowledge Transfer and Retention

When outsourcing, you need to transfer all your knowledge and project requirements to the service provider. Additionally, you also have to ensure that the service provider retains all the transferred knowledge. 

This can make outsourcing an IT project challenging, as there can be communication gaps that lead to knowledge loss and misinterpretation of your requirements during the transfer.

7 Tips for Outsourcing IT Projects

While outsourcing IT projects can benefit your company, it can also put you in a hassle. 

Now that you know the steps to outsource an IT project, here are some tips to help ensure that doesn’t happen:

  1. Develop Clear Communication Protocols: Establish strong lines of communication with your outsourcing partner. Regular updates, status meetings, and collaborative tools can help bridge the geographical and cultural gaps. Active engagement and transparent communication foster a sense of partnership and prevent potential misalignments.
  2. Ensure Data Protection and Privacy Policies: Implement robust data security measures to protect sensitive information. Define confidentiality agreements and cybersecurity protocols to safeguard your data.
  3. Set Realistic Expectations: Establish achievable and reasonable expectations regarding project timelines, outcomes, and potential challenges. Avoid overburdening the outsourcing team with unrealistic demands.
  4. Clearly Define Contracts and Agreements: Legal agreements are crucial for outlining project scope, responsibilities, timelines, deliverables, payment terms, and any potential exit strategies. Engage legal experts to draft contracts that protect your interests and provide a framework for dispute resolution.
  5. Focus on Value, Not Cost: When outsourcing IT projects, it's essential to prioritize value over cost savings alone. While cost efficiency is important, ensure you're also assessing the quality, expertise, and potential long-term benefits a vendor can bring. Look for partners who align with your business goals and can provide innovative solutions that add value beyond the immediate project.
  6. Choose the Right Model: There are various outsourcing models to consider, such as offshore, nearshore, onshore, and hybrid—each with its advantages and challenges. Select the model that best suits your project's requirements, taking into account factors like communication, time zone differences, cultural compatibility, and skill availability.
  7. Start with a Pilot Project: Mitigate risks by initiating your outsourcing relationship with a smaller pilot project before committing to larger initiatives. A pilot project allows you to assess the vendor's capabilities, communication effectiveness, and overall compatibility. It's an opportunity to build trust and confidence before moving on to collaborating on a bigger project.

Outsourcing vs. Inhouse Development: Pros & Cons

Are you still wondering whether outsourcing your IT project is the right route to take for your business? 

We’re here to help! 

Here's a breakdown of the pros and cons of both outsourcing and in-house development:

Outsourcing IT Project


  • Cost Savings: Outsourcing can often be more cost-effective, especially for smaller businesses, as it can reduce the need for upfront investments in infrastructure, equipment, and employee training.
  • Access to Expertise: Outsourcing allows you to tap into a pool of specialized talent and expertise that might not be available in-house. You can do that by choosing a partner with the specific skills and experience needed for your project.
  • Faster Time-to-Market: With an outsourced team, you can potentially accelerate development timelines due to the ability to allocate more resources to the project and take advantage of the partner's established processes.


  • Communication Challenges: Time zone differences, language barriers, and cultural nuances can lead to communication difficulties, impacting project coordination and success.
  • Loss of Control: Outsourcing might lead to a perceived loss of control over the project, as the external team has a certain level of autonomy in decision-making.

In-house Development


  • Full Control: In-house teams provide greater control over project management, development processes, and decision-making, resulting in more direct oversight.
  • Faster Communication: In-house teams can communicate more easily and quickly, enhancing collaboration and problem-solving.
  • Long-Term Cost Efficiency: In-house development teams can lead to savings in the long run, as you don't have to pay external vendors for ongoing maintenance, updates, or support.


  • Higher Costs: In-house development typically involves higher fixed costs, including salaries, benefits, infrastructure, and ongoing training.
  • Limited Expertise: Depending solely on your in-house team's expertise may limit your ability to leverage specialized skills and knowledge for certain projects.

While hiring an in-house developer can offer benefits in the long run, it is always best to start by outsourcing your IT projects. Hiring developers for your business requires you to create job descriptions, interview candidates, train the selected individual, onboard them, etc. 

This can be a costly and time-consuming process.

On the other hand, you can simply leverage the expertise of an app development firm like Make IT Simple to avoid going through all those steps.

You only need to connect with us and share your project details. Our expert developers will understand your requirements and create a solution.

Our track record of empowering startups to realize their visions has long established us as a dependable and trustworthy partner.

You'll gain access to a comprehensive team made of developers, designers, quality assurance specialists, business analysts, project managers, and DevOps experts.

Say goodbye to the hassle of sifting through numerous resumes. A single email or phone call is all it takes.

How to Measure the Success of an Outsourced IT Project?

Measuring the success of an outsourced IT project requires a combination of objective metrics and subjective evaluations. 

Here's a comprehensive approach to help you assess the success of your outsourced IT project:

  1. Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Identify and track relevant KPIs that directly reflect project performance. These may include:
  1. Project Timelines: Are they meeting milestones and deadlines effectively?
  2. Budget Adherence: Are they keeping the project within the budget?
  3. Quality Metrics: Are their deliverables meeting quality standards?
  4. Scope Changes: How often do you have to change the project’s scope? Excessive scope changes may indicate there are communication issues between you and your vendor.
  1. Return on Investment (ROI): Calculate the ROI by comparing the project's benefits (e.g., cost savings, increased efficiency, revenue growth) to your overall investment, including outsourcing costs.
  2. User Satisfaction: Collect feedback from end-users and stakeholders to gauge their satisfaction with the project's outcomes. Use surveys, interviews, and focus groups to understand their perspectives.
  3. Risk Management: Assess how effectively risks were identified, mitigated, and managed throughout the project. A successful project minimizes the impact of potential risks.
  4. Adherence to Specifications: Evaluate whether the project deliverables meet the initial specifications and requirements outlined in the contract.


The success of your outsourced IT project depends on your chosen partner. At Make IT Simple, we ensure you a seamless app development and deployment. Our skilled experts cover all app and software creation aspects, offering tailored solutions in your chosen technology.

Elevate your business with our mobile app development expertise; contact us now to start your journey toward success.

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