How to Convince Management to get Assistance with an Engineering Project
First things first, lets address the elephant in the room. Any engineer or designer reading this article, at some level, is having the same thought.. “Why would I hire an engineering design firm to assist with an engineering project? I don’t want to replace myself.”
To that I say – no one is trying to replace you. Or your job. Let’s look at it from another angle.
Engineering and design firms want to help the client in whatever capacity they need. They’re here to assist existing engineering teams, not replace them.
If you’ve been overwhelmed with the tasks on your to-do list, then it’s probably crossed your mind that you could use the help but are afraid to ask. You are already getting s#*t done but don’t want to fall behind just because you’re in your busy season and there’s a billion things to do. By convincing your boss to get assistance with an engineering project, you can free up your time to focus on major projects that you and your team have already began while giving the projects that you have put on the back burner to another team that can help you get it done in time.
Many engineering service providers want to help you. Convincing upper management to take on the task of hiring outside engineering services may be easier than you think. You just have to find the right strategy to go about it. Here are some tips to help you get what you want.
Do Your Homework
Prioritizing which projects you plan on executing in-house and which ones you want to outsource is a good place to start. You should be researching what your options are for outsourcing – most likely your company has already partnered with an engineering services team in the past that will work with you to get your projects done. If not, then you should be prepared to do a little research on who you plan on outsourcing to.
Your team is already doing an awesome job by hitting your goals and overall getting things done day to day – an engineering services provider is just an additional team to help out while your team is in a bind for time. You should always be able to have some convincing material to help you answer this question: “How is my proposal going to help my boss achieve his or her goals?”
Just remember that you’re trying to make less work for your team with your proposal – so make sure that you’re pointing out exactly how outsourcing will work for your engineering project and for your team. Your boss will be more likely to listen to you if you’ve done your homework and are willing to give him or her a few solid options.
Highlight the Benefits
Most likely your team already knows the benefits of outsourcing, especially if you’ve worked with an outsourced engineering team before. Highlighting the benefits of outsourcing is even more essential if you’ve had an outsourced project go sour in the past. Make sure you have 2-3 major advantages in mind when bringing up the proposal to management. Examples of advantages should include the cost savings that would incur (the number one factor why companies choose to outsource even when they already have an engineering team) and always make sure to focus on how outsourcing the engineering project would benefit the consumer.
To be more persuasive, make sure you bring up anticipated disadvantages as well. You wouldn’t want to leave your boss with any surprises, would you? If there ends up being any focus or major concerns about these disadvantages, then bring up preemptive solutions. A back up for your back up plan, if you will. For example, if you expose the possible risk of leaked confidential data while outsourcing, then you should also have a plan to mitigate the risk. This should help you to be more convincing in the fact that you thought this through with realistic expectations.
Propose an Un-committed Commitment
You don’t have to make it seem like it’s a die-hard commitment if you know there will be hesitance in the proposal. If you know your boss is precarious to situations that involve a little risk, then you can explain that outsourcing this project can act as an experiment going forward. You can reassure management that your team will analyze the results of outsourcing to a third party so that you can weigh out the advantages and disadvantages of working with that specific engineering team in the future. Ensuring your boss that he or she is still in control of the outcome will put their mind at ease.
The other important take-away of hiring an engineering services provider is that it can be on an as-needed project basis. If you present your proposal to your boss and emphasize the fact that it is not a permanent arrangement, then you will have more elbow room for your other points. Your boss cares about getting things done and keeping costs down – remind him or her that hiring an engineering services provider would add capabilities to your team during a busy season without adding permanent overhead. Remember you are adding the services as an extension of your team, not having the provider take over completely.
Present Proof of Success
How has success been measured with the outsourced engineering team in the past? Which types of projects does the company have the most experience in? Don’t think that your boss won’t ask these questions. Simply, point out who outsourced what and how it worked out for that company. Consider finding an outsourcing example with the company that is similar to your own project that you’d like to outsource.