Outsource commodities, not core.
A guy fell into a hole. A friend heard his cries for help and promptly jumped down into the hole too. The guy says, “What are you doing? Now we’re both stuck down here!” And the friend says, “Yes, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.”
I often help people set up their home entertainment centers and computers. My friends have little patience with understanding how their systems actually work—so they’re lost when things go wrong. They don’t know what to do when they buy a new device. That’s why they have a bunch of remote controls instead of one universal. The only ones who understand when to be on HDMI 1 or HDMI 2 are the ones who were involved during the installation.
I’m likewise surprised when companies outsource their strategy work such as customer discovery, persona development, and product positioning. Can you really understand the output without understanding the underlying inputs?
In a discussion with a marketing VP, he advocated sending persona development to an agency, as if the persona artifact was the point instead of the insights on who to contact and how to communicate.
I don’t understand why people outsource critical knowledge.
Instead of outsourcing, you need a guide—someone like me or Rich Mironov or the many player/coaches in your area—to structure a program and lead you through a repeatable process. To roll up their sleeves and do the work with you, not for you. The goal is not only to create the immediate deliverable but to grow in-house expertise that can be used for the next project and the one after that.
You can outsource commodities; don’t outsource core. [tweet this]
Not sure which is which? Read my free ebook, “ASPIRE to your Capabilities,” a guide to identifying your corporate (or personal) strengths. Also see "Expertise in Product Management" to examine the four key areas of expertise for product managers and product marketing.