Mastering Agency Outsourcing: Strategies for Success in Government Projects
A session roundup from DrupalCon Lille
In an era where government projects are becoming increasingly complex and demanding, the need for specialized expertise can be provided by subcontracting, or outsourcing, project elements. As Anthony Fox-Davies, CEO of SystemSeed, and Evgeniy Maslowskiy, CTO, highlighted in their recent conference session at DrupalCon Lille, "Successful and growing agencies can find themselves short on senior staff when working on large government contracts."
The need for outsourcing in government projects
Government contracts are not just any projects. They are high-profile endeavors with significant budgets and come with specific requirements such as security vetting of staff. As this session emphasized, "High-quality delivery is essential, so the agency needs to be careful about who they add to their talent pool to fulfill the client’s needs."
The challenges of outsourcing
Outsourcing, whilst a great solution to ensure you can deliver on client needs, is challenging. Finding the right provider that aligns with your in-house team and meets the client's expectations is a daunting task. It's not just about filling a seat but ensuring that the outsourced talent can seamlessly integrate with, and contribute effectively to, the existing project team.
The SystemSeed approach to being an outsourced partner
Introduction to SystemSeed
SystemSeed stands as a successful example in this domain, regularly partnering with other agencies on government contracts. With roots deeply embedded in the Drupal Community and a focus on social impact projects, we have firsthand experience of the intricacies involved in these types of collaborations. As Anthony put it, "SystemSeed often works as a partner to other agencies on government contracts, and we have seen what works and what doesn’t work in this process."
A real-life example of outsourcing for government tech projects
Take, for instance, a UK government project where the lead agency - we’ll call them "Agency X" to comply with our NDA - required additional technical leadership. Ev shared a real-life example from the British central government. The lead agency was based in London and requested our help. In particular, they needed to find a partner that could quickly onboard into their ways of working."
Contracting: the foundation of successful outsourcing
A successful outsourcing partnership is built on a foundation of trust, transparency, and legal security. Anthony emphasized the importance of being "Open and honest, but ensuring that all the legal elements are in place for the security of both parties." These elements, from clear day rates to mutual subcontracting agreements, set the tone for a fruitful collaboration from the outset.
The importance of relationships in outsourcing
Building and nurturing relationships is at the heart of successful outsourcing. SystemSeed's positive relationship with the lead agency (Agency X in our example), was cultivated over years and played a pivotal role in the collaboration's success.
Anthony stressed, "we worked hard to build a positive relationship with the lead agency even before contracting. Build long-term relationships with other agencies, even if you don't know whether any work will come of it."
The changing landscape of government procurement
The shift toward agile procurement
Government procurement processes, traditionally seen as bureaucratic and lengthy, are undergoing a transformation. The shift towards more agile and result-oriented approaches is evident.
As David Kershaw, a UK Procurement Expert and Director of Curshaw, has insightfully remarked.
Around the world, government procurement is striving for simplification for both buyers and suppliers... Applying agile ways of work to public contracting and using a minimum viable procurement approach delivers better and quicker results for all users.
The role of subject matter expertise
Understanding the nuances of government procurement can be a game-changer. Anthony highlighted, "Our knowledge and understanding of government procurement and projects helped us to act like a partner, not just a subcontractor. Subject matter and domain expertise are both important."
- Understand the specific needs and challenges of government projects.
- Choose your outsourcing partner wisely, focusing on trust and transparency.
- Help your partner into the relationship so that both parties win.
- Embrace the changing landscape of government procurement.
Mastering agency outsourcing in government projects is about more than finding additional people and increasing headcount. It's about building relationships, understanding the evolving landscape, and ensuring seamless collaboration for successful project delivery.
Looking for additional support for your government project?
If you are leading a government project that requires additional development or DevOps support, we’d be happy to talk to you about it. Get in touch here: systemseed.com/contact.
- Why is outsourcing essential in government projects?
Due to the high-profile nature, significant scale, and specific requirements of these projects, agencies often need additional, specialised resources.
- What challenges do agencies face in outsourcing?
Finding the right talent that aligns with the in-house team and meets the client's expectations is a primary challenge.
- How does SystemSeed approach outsourcing?
SystemSeed focuses on building long-term relationships, understanding project needs, acting in partnership with the lead agency, and ensuring legal security.
- What is the significance of agile procurement in government projects?
Agile procurement focuses on being result-oriented and adaptive, aligning with the evolving needs of government projects. It’s a growing area of procurement with governments around the world beginning to take more agile approaches.
- How can agencies ensure successful collaboration in outsourcing?
Open communication, good legal frameworks, and building relationships are key to successful collaboration.