OPBOK (Outsourcing Professional Body of Knowledge) Version 10

The basics

OPBOK (Outsourcing Professional Body of Knowledge) provides a set of best practices from around the globe for the design, implementation and management of outsourcing contracts, including a code of ethics and business practices for outsourcing professionals.



OPBOK (Outsourcing Professional Body of Knowledge) is owned and maintained by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP). which was formed in 2005 by a consortium of leading companies involved in outsourcing as customers, providers, and advisors. OPBOK was first published in 2006; the current version is Version 10, which reflects major updates from IAOP of the commonly accepted practices and skills required to ensure outsourcing success. It is the basis for IAOP’s Certified Outsourcing Professional® qualification and certification programmes.

OPBOK describes the generally accepted set of knowledge and practices applicable to the successful design, implementation, and management of outsourcing contracts. It provides:

•   A framework for understanding what outsourcing is and how it fits within business operations

•   The knowledge and practice areas generally accepted as critical to outsourcing success

•   A glossary of terms commonly used in outsourcing deals and contracts

OPBOK is divided into ten knowledge areas covering major areas of outsourcing expertise. The OPBOK framework is based on a five-stage outsourcing process (see Figure).


Target audience

OBM is interesting for anyone who is responsible for achieving goals that are ‘bigger than them’, i.e. they need others in order to be able to attain them and need to influence their performances. The higher up the organization it is embedded and cascaded down the chain of command, the more successful it can become. Users include:

•  Leaders and managers at all levels

•  Business consultants

•  IT consultants

•  Security consultants

•  Project managers

•  Occupational safety consultants

•  Executive coaches

Scope and constraints

While relatively easy to understand, based on simple concepts and being extremely powerful if applied correctly, the proper use of OBM needs time to settle in the behavior of leaders themselves. Sometimes cheerfully compared to a dog training, the important thing is to realize who’s being trained in these canine competence exercises: Indeed, the owner of the dog, not the dog itself! It is therefore the behavior of the leader that reciprocates into the desired behavior of the follower. OBM can therefore also be seen as a way to hone leadership skills.


•   Scientifically proven method, based on decades of corroborative research in both laboratory settings and experimental case studies

•   Evidenced based

•   Making behavior measurable

•   Focus on positive change

•   Making use of biochemical processes in the brain


•   The method needs to be taught as well as experienced in a live case by influencers before further successful application

•   For full performance yields a top-down approach is favorable

•   Leaders must be ready to change their own behaviors as well, or at least accept it as a necessary step

•   Reciprocity can induce both an upward or downward relationship spiral. You get what you reinforce (!)