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Should you outsource IT project delivery, or keep things in-house?

Conosco Business Programme Manager Gareth Batten explains:

There are several options when it comes to resourcing the management and delivery of an IT project:

  • Use an in-house team
  • Contract external technical or project management resource
  • Outsource IT project work entirely 

So, which approach is right for your project? In reality, every project is different; and you may even use a different scenario for different projects within the same portfolio. The purpose of this article is to set out some of the benefits of choosing to outsource IT project work, helping you make an informed decision.

Is in-house an option?

As a first step, it’s worth thinking about whether or not you have the capacity – and possibly hidden potential – to deliver a project in-house. Perhaps there’s someone in your team or department who would relish the challenge that your project promises? Using this resource to deliver the project could be beneficial in motivating them, challenging them and fostering their personal development.

On the other hand, your team may be flat-out with business as usual or the current project programme. Although you are aware of the efficiencies and cost savings that could be delivered through the proposed project work, taking resources away from one priority can result in short term pain. So, what if you could flex your resource capacity in the short term to help deliver that long-term benefit, without impacting current performance?

The benefits of outsourcing IT projects:

Leverage previous experience

When you outsource IT project work, you gain an ‘on-tap’ experienced team who have learned lessons from similar projects, perhaps implementing the product hundreds of times before.  Any outsourced project team worth their salt will also want to learn from your experiences delivering projects within your business, so be prepared for a two-way knowledge transfer when it comes to reviewing lessons learned at the start of your journey together.

Allow your staff to focus

You may have the capacity within your team or department to deliver the required changes, but you’d rather they focus on their core responsibilities.  Outsourcing your IT projects means your staff don’t need to be diverted from their current priorities.

Manage the business case against a clear budget

An outsourced delivery team has added incentive to keep the project on budget, especially if they are working to a fixed cost agreed up front.  At the start of the project, and if the business case or scope changes, the budget from your supplier simplifies the comparison of cost versus business benefits.

Manage capability and resource

Project resourcing requirements are, by their nature, variable; both intra-project and inter-project resourcing can be a headache.  By outsourcing project delivery you don’t have to worry about increasing and decreasing the number of people assigned to work on a project.  A delivery partner will have a pool to draw on so that resources can be flexibly ramped up when needed, and dialled down without negatively impacting the rest of your business.

Avoid time pits

When implementing a new solution there are plenty of rabbit holes that you or your team could go down, losing time in the process.  By transferring this risk and outsourcing the delivery of the project, your supplier can bring you tried and tested approaches, tools and products to keep the process simple and efficient.

Avoid blind spots

Like lessons learned, this works both ways. It is essential that any outsourced supplier who is involved in making changes within your organisation spends time getting to know you and your business.  At the same time, bringing an individual or a team in from the outside can mean a fresh look at an old problem and insight from someone who isn’t too close to the issues.


The way you build your project delivery team is vital to its success. Conosco’s experienced project engineers are experts in delivering fixed-price IT projects in a planned, predictable way. Contact us today for a no-obligations consultation and impartial advice.

As a final thought, it’s worth remembering that as a project sponsor, it pays to take a keen interest in your project, whether it’s being delivered in-house or by an external supplier.

In Part Two, we’ll be discussing the pros and cons of using an internal Project Manager. Watch this space…