July 21, 2016 • 4 min read
Software development outsourcing offers numerous benefits for small and large businesses. This setup can reduce operational costs and provide companies access to industry experts during the period of the project. It’s no wonder that more companies today are outsourcing software development.
However, outsourcing also comes with risks, just like any other business action. Fortunately, these risks can be mitigated or eliminated through proper management and following the outsourcing best practices. Here are the three essentials for a successful software development outsourcing venture.
Choosing the right partner can be difficult, but this is the most critical part of outsourcing. Hiring the wrong team can cost you your project. On the other hand, hiring the right team can give your software and your company the competitive advantage you’re looking for.
When choosing a software development provider, the price shouldn’t be your only consideration. You also have to consider the company’s history, manpower, technology, quality of work, experience, and references.
These other factors can help you predict if they can deliver the output that you require, if they will be around for a long time, if they have the resources to finish your project, and, most importantly, if you’ll be able to establish a good working relationship with them.
Neglecting these factors can cause your company additional expenses down the line. Think about it, savings on labor costs will mean nothing if you end up with substandard software anyway. In fact, you’ll just shell out more money for reworks and modifications.
When outsourcing developers, find professionals who can adequately fulfill your company’s requirements, meet your goals, and adapt to your workflow. They should uphold your business objectives and have the skills to accomplish the tasks that you give them.
Also Read: 5 Key Areas in Evaluating Software Development Firms
Never underestimate the importance of preparation before you enter an outsourcing agreement. There are too many outsourcing horror stories that were caused by a lack of information and understanding by the client.
Before you jump into outsourcing, answer these questions first:
a. What type/s of project/s do I need to outsource?
Settle early on which projects you will outsource. As a general rule, you shouldn’t outsource your business’ key operations or core technology without keeping at least partial control of it. For example, if you’re Google, don’t outsource the search algorithm, but you can outsource building a mobile application such as YouTube.
b. What is my end goal in outsourcing?
Before contracting with a service provider, make sure that you’ve clearly defined your end goals first. Determine the deliverables that you expect your development team to produce, as well as the metrics by which you’ll measure their performance.
c. What are the steps to reach that goal?
The steps that you and your outsourced team will take to complete the project should be well laid out right from the start. Keep it clear and precise to avoid misunderstandings regarding the workflow, as development is underway.
d. Who will be involved in the project?
Make sure that the role of each individual, whether from your side or that of the service provider, is clearly defined. Establish a contact person on your end who will deal with concerns or clarification requests from the outsourced team.
Likewise, a lead developer/scrum master should also be available on the provider’s side to update you on the progress of the project. You should require a daily or weekly update from your provider and total transparency about the project at all times.
e. What tasks are not part of the outsourcing?
Don’t have your service provider waste time doing jobs that aren’t part of your agreement. Keep workflow efficient by defining early on which tasks are not among your company’s requirements.
f. How long will the relationship last?
Will you only be outsourcing until the product is delivered or will your development team be part of your company’s operations indefinitely? The timeframe in which you’d be working with them is critical to plan out tasks and workflow efficiently during the project.
Keep in mind that it’s better to define these requirements and expectations in writing, signed by both parties. Draft a contract that will take into account the answers to the questions above. The contract will serve as a roadmap for you and your chosen provider.
Communication is often cited as one of the pain points in outsourcing. This is especially true if your outsourced team operates in another time zone.
Fortunately, technology has allowed businesses to bridge that gap through chat and messaging tools. Constant communication makes your service provider feel more motivated to work on the project, seeing that their employer is taking a proactive approach to the working process.
Provide constant feedback to keep the project moving in the right direction. If confusion arises, go back to your contract or defined scope and scale. This will prevent your workflow from stagnating and lessen conflicts during production.
Don’t be a stranger to your outsourced team. Provide them with helpful criticisms and points for improvement. After all, this benefits both parties.
On your end, you’re assured that the project is on the right track and that your requirements are being duly met by thoroughly checking the reporting and assisting with product demos on a regular basis. Likewise, your service provider will be able to fix any issues early on and avoid the hassle of having to rework a project that didn’t meet your requirements.
Also Read: Skype vs. HipChat vs. Slack: Tools for Offshore Development Collaboration
Need help in outsourcing your software development operations? Trust the experts at Arcanys to guide you throughout the entire process.
Arcanys offers top-notch software development, 24/7 support, and other IT services. Let us help you add value to your business. We’re experts in doing the technical job while you focus on your business’ key operations. Talk to us now!
Also read: 6 secret techniques to improve software development outsourcing in the Philippines
Fred had been working on IT and operational projects in the finance and software industry in Switzerland for 10 years before co-founding Arcanys in 2010. With nearly 20 years of experience in the industry in Switzerland, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, Fred is now leading the worldwide sales and marketing efforts of Arcanys.
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