Interview on Outsourcing with Jason Paul Kazarian, Technical Marketing Engineer

Mr. Jason Paul Kazarian,  with many years of experience in the global IT industry, visited Armenia. He has just finished a project in cooperation with Gyumri Tech Center (GTech). talked to Mr. Kazarian in order to bring our readers the ideas and thoughts of a person who has a lot to tell Armenian IT specialists and young developers. How to do an effective outsourcing job, how to manage the project properly and how to gain the trust of your customers…Read below the advices by Mr. Kazarian. Mr. Kazarian, IT is the fastest growing sector in Armenia and outsourcing is a large part of it. You just completed an outsourcing project with GTech in Gyumri. Can you please explain the project?

Jason Paul Kazarian: We are developing a Kickstarter style website, Internet focused fundraising, to raise money for different kinds of projects in Armenia. The site will enable people to submit their projects, other people could visit the site, watch the projects and choose which one to donate to. People can share and post project videos in Facebook, Twitter. And this website will enable contributors to keep up with the projects that they donated money for and see where their money goes to. It will give more transparency to contributors’ money which usually disappears nobody ever sees the progress. This issue of is dedicated to Outsourcing, can you please highlight what you feel were the keys to the project’s success?

Jason Paul Kazarian: Well, first the project is separable and it consists of multiple parts which are being developed independently. It was divided and well documented, which is key to the successful development of the project. The design for the website was performed by a brilliant creative team in the US. They documented and designed it in a very detailed way. The website itself was developed here in Armenia with GTech following the design that was established. As the design and documentation part were separated from the technical development part, the outsourcing went very smoothly. What is you advice for people or companies wishing to outsource to Armenia?

Jason Paul Kazarian: First thing to do is to look at your tasks and accordingly at your deadlines, to learn which are longer term tasks and which are more intensive tasks with short deadlines. The tasks which have highly intensive and direct contact between the parties should stay in the home country. Longer term tasks that have more flexible deadlines are good candidates for outsourcing. One should remember that some tasks require independence. For example in engineering there is a developing phase and then a testing phase. And it is much better when the work for these two phases is separated, even if they are done in the same company. Since the tasks are separable themselves, they are good candidates for Outsourcing.

Second, the communications between the teams should be clarified and simplified. For example we have telephone conferences twice a week and one weekly email summary with team members. If the communication is not in place, if the team does not understand what is expected of them, then the project quickly gets into turmoil. Communication issues should be discussed and defined in advance. 

Third, the work that is performed by one team must be packaged well to be seen by the other team. It should be precisely and clearly documented. Project Management, even in ones native language, can be difficult. How can companies on both sides improve communications and project management?

Jason Paul Kazarian: First, the participants who are doing the outsourced part should be treated as importantly as the members of the domestic team. There should not be any difference in the way you treat people in the home country and the people in the outsourcing country. You must have the same empathy among all team members. Because it is really difficult to work effectively with a person thousands of miles away from you talking only by emails.
Second, you should keep track with frequent communication and keep up with the work which is performed by individual team members.
Regarding Armenian teams, I found them communicating rather better than I expected. They have good command of English and are ahead many other Asian outsourcing teams. Do you recommend any tools or applications that can help in the process?

Jason Paul Kazarian: I think that project managers should use Microsoft Project or other open source project management tools to prepare work structure and critical path charts, schedule and allocate resources to the tasks. They should break down the project into tasks and set deadlines for each of those tasks. Leaving apart the tech part, can you provide advice for Armenian Outsourcing companies looking to improve their marketing, brand building and client communications?

Jason Paul Kazarian: I am pleased to see a lot of progress in the Armenian companies who have good skills in marketing and client communications. But still, we do not have a domestic market. We are not consumers of the technologies ourselves, so we work with other nations and foreign companies. Armenia has a great chance to be seen as a regional leader. Our country has available diaspora channels, and we should take advantage of this opportunity to partner with foreign countries and to bring more jobs to Armenia. Having years of experience in the IT sector, what advice do you have for beginners? Should they concentrate on outsourcing or try and create and market their own application?

Jason Paul Kazarian: If an Armenian company has any kind of foreign market access for its products, sure it should do it, because we have no domestic market. And perhaps, the best advice I can give the Armenian companies it is to take any project seriously and to work on it properly. As we say it in Armenian our actions must be more credible than our words. Thanks, Mr. Kazarian, for your time and for the interesting talk!