Our team has grown a lot and the vendors / outsourced support staff we're using have come under a critical eye. While their support previously was useful to fill gaps in the team, we now have the senior people required for thorough reviews and we realized they have critical shortfalls in the work they're producing. Some of these shortfalls include:
- Lack of communication
- Shifting/missing deadlines
- Significant rewrites needed in code / content
- Lack of QA
- Lack of domain knowledge
Overall, it feels like junior-level work quality. It's gotten to the point that our team is reworking +75% of deliverables. We are in agreement, we won't be using their services in the future and shifting their budget towards junior / mid-level hires.
In the meantime, my manager has asked me not be so direct and transparent with my feedback and suggested I use suggestive language ("What do you think about delivering XYZ earlier so we can review?". "I'm having trouble digesting this, can you change the format to...") instead of direct language ("It's unacceptable to deliver XYZ after the agreed on time.", "This content is really difficult to digest, change the format to...").
I worry suggestive language gives room for discussion when I need behavior to stop, deliverables to change / improve, deadlines to be met. There is no discussion to be had. Tracking to do what my manager asked -- I am hurting professional relationships after all with some of my terse responses -- but the question though: Is it considered unprofessional to give direct / blunt feedback, especially to underperforming vendors?