I have been working for medium-sized IT service providers since the beginning of my career and often work in association with other service providers for changing DAX companies. In doing so, I experience that managing the service providers in particular is very difficult for the end customer. I would therefore like to give some tips and present my findings. This is in the classic organization, if you want to know how to control service providers using agile methods, then read my article on Scrum of Scrums.

Define the boundary between service provider and customer

First of all, you should know exactly: how much do I really want to give away. Should the service provider do everything himself and I just want a service that works like a mail account or I would like an individual development and have to provide the service provider with permanent requirements and control it.

In the case of the mail account, it is a managed service. You use the service and have no insight or very little how it works and this is usually hardly relevant to you. This case is easy to coordinate and good for areas in which you do not want to build up knowledge internally.

Especially if your project has less budget for your IT because your own core competencies are in other areas, you can benefit from managed services. Disadvantages, however, are the loss of knowledge and the dependency on the provider. It is therefore important to carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages.

Flexible work packages and acceptance criteria

Let us now take the second case that you are carrying out a large complex project such as an app development and need three service providers for this. This app is important and should also be further developed internally by you.

Management of B2B service providers

In this case, you should therefore provide your service providers with concepts and specifications. To do this, create a concept and cut it into small tasks that have clear acceptance criteria. This is important because this is the only way you can retain sovereignty over knowledge.

After you have neatly divided the tasks, the service providers can pull these for themselves. Clear acceptance criteria are important for the delegation. The job is tough but the effort is worth it and the project is very easy to control. With the help of a Project management software you can clearly map and monitor the tasks.

Conclusion

As soon as a project becomes more complex, you have to bind project management closely to you as the end customer and make the project controllable. This is achieved by clearly breaking down a concept into tasks with clear acceptance criteria. The effort is initially high, but it pays off in the course of the project and prevents the loss of knowledge or excessive dependence on a service provider.

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Author

I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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