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Outsourcing Blunders. We've been doing it for more than 25 years. Why are we still doing it wrong?

Don't Get Entangled in a Long-Term Contract. Traditional outsourcers often try to persuade companies that only a long-duration agreement justifies the high up-front investment needed to provide great service. A eminent writer rightly says "The suppliers are always looking for five- and 10-year contracts, but do we have any idea where e-commerce will be in five years' time?

Don't Let Your Responsibilities Collide with Those of the Outsourcer. Surprisingly, contracts are frequently vague about exactly what the outsourcer's responsibility is versus the customer's. Without a patrollable boundary, neither side knows with certainty what it should be doing. The result: Each side blames the other when things inevitably don't get done.

Don't Be a Control Freak. Companies often go into outsourcing expecting to retain control of how the particulars are carried out. Tempting, yes. But it's a big mistake. Forcing the outsourcer to do it your way prevents your hired gun from doing what it does bestóleveraging its own experience and hard-earned best practices.

The Dark Side of Outsourcing. Farming out the best work will hollow out your organization. Many organizations are a shell of what they once were or a shadow of what they could be, because they give the best work to outsiders. I don't think anyone intentionally out sources the best work—that is, the most important projects and the critical business relationships—but it happens all too often.

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