The ever popular (and evergreen) book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycl Maintenance” is an inquiry into the values that govern our life. The author Robert Persig tries to reconcile two divergent approaches to bike maintenance, and life in general. The first approach is the “Romantic” approach to life adopted by the author’s friend John Sutherland, who chooses not to learn how to maintain his expensive new motorcycle. John simply hopes for the best with his bike, and when problems do occur he often becomes frustrated, and is forced to rely on professional mechanics to repair it. In contrast, the “classical” approach by the author is where he has an older motorcycle which he is usually able to diagnose and repair himself through the use of rational problem solving skills.
What has Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZAMM) got to do with IT outsourcing? Towards the end of the book, the author realizes that the best approach to life (and bike maintenance) is to go down the middle and embrace both approaches. By focusing on what you do best, and by letting experts take over things you have no idea about, it is easy to get to where you want.
Does this sound familiar for IT companies? While traditional outsourcing companies have highlighted cost, skills, experience, cost (again!) as the main reason to outsource, we recommend approaching IT outsourcing the way you would approach your business, and your life. If your faucet leaks, you call in the plumber without a moment’s hesitation. You may be tempted to fix the leak yourself, but you do know your time is more valuable and should be spent on what you know (and do) best.
The same approach applies to IT outsourcing too. Whether you prefer the “Romantic” approach where you buy the best and hope for the best to happen, or the “Classical” approach where you will face all problems yourself, if your business is not growing, you need to change your approach.