TOP TEN: (More) Outsourcing Acronyms

Posted: 12/09/2016 - 21:00

A couple of months back, we published our Top Ten Outsourcing Acronyms – a piece that had been a long time brewing, after we’d initially put out a call for entries the previous year. Well, as seems frequently to be the case with this series, that publication prompted a flood of new submissions, and we’re delighted to be able now to unveil a hilarious – if somewhat potty-mouthed – sequel. If you’re using any of these, you should probably think about looking for another job (in the case of the last one, you’re already there); if you’re not, just sit back and enjoy a moment’s Schadenfreude: compared with the originators of these gems, you’re probably doing OK…

1. SABO Any list of outsourcing must-dos, critical success factors etc always has “getting stakeholder buy-in” somewhere close to the top. Unfortunately, that might not happen; even worse, it might happen, only for those stakeholders to withdraw their support, leaving the project high and dry – you might even say “sabo-taged”… Stakeholders All Bought Out

2. Donut Clearly, the situation would never arise where an outsourcing deal was done because of some illegal incentivisation of the “unmarked envelope” variety; so if you’re ever offered a “donut” you can be sure the person making the offer is referring to the doughy delicacy, even if they’re winking like crazy and making the “money” gesture with their fingers… Donations Under the Table

3. SIAM We like this entry because, of course, it’s a play on a well-known acronym, and genuinely original double entendres are few and far between in this space – and because this secondary meaning could often be said to be a fairly accurate description of the first… Systems/Services In A Mess

4. FABLE “Why did that deal break down?” is a question that rarely has a single answer, with blame being hurled willy-nilly by disgruntled professionals on all sides. Obviously, it’s always preferable to point upstairs when apportioning responsibility – and, sometimes, it’s entirely correct to do so, accompanied by a less sanitised version of the definition below… Fouled At Board Level

5. Darling According to one of our contributors, this use of “darling” emerged from a major consultancy where it was used as a subtle indicator that help might be required: if “How are things?” was met with “Fine, darling!”, things were certainly not fine. On the other hand, that may just be cover for all sorts of promiscuous behaviour… Dashboard All Red; Life Is Not Good

6. Mum Traditionally, “keeping mum” means staying silent and, especially, refusing to betray secrets. However, if you’re “mum” in the outsourcing community it’s probably rather hard to stay silent, as opposed to shouting oneself hoarse and sobbing into a treble Scotch. Again, we’ve sanitised our definition somewhat - we’re a respectable publication, doncha know… Managing Useless Muthas

7. CoE This is one of our favourites, childish though it is. A contributor tells us that as a prank all of the conveniences in his office were relabelled “CoE” and the name has stuck; now “I’m just popping to the CoE” has become a standard euphemism in his firm, whilst slightly sullying forever the erstwhile glamour of Centres of Excellence the world over. Centre of Excrement

8. MIB Presumably a play on “Missing In Action” rather than a reference to the alien-thwarting antics of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, this entry comes from a contributor who, back in the Wild (wild?) West days of the early offshoring industry, apparently used to lose important files, data etc on the sub-continent with depressing regularity. So much for “the good old days”… Missing In Bangalore

9. Lilo It’s a sad fact that someone, somewhere, coined this phrase because it described a depressing reality: the disgraceful practice of misleading employees about redundancies in the hope of allaying opposition to outsourcing. If these words have ever passed your lips, shame on you… Lie and Lay Off

10. FFRR (Double F Double R) Yet again, we’ve given a cleaner definition here than is actually the case – though if you’re in this situation you may well find expletives are inevitable. At the end of a catalogue of cock-ups you’re staring at your final folly – perhaps you’ve overordered to the tune of a few million, or hit “Reply All” on your slander of the boss’s wife. Whatever it is, you’re “finally fouled” – but at least you know it, and you’ve got your CV prepared. And, well, you had a good run… We hope… Finally Fouled; Resume Ready

Think you’ve got still more outsourcing acronyms to hurl our way? Or perhaps you’ve got some thoughts on a different Top Ten topic? Write to the editor at; the more suggestions the merrier!


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