Outsourcing software development essentially entails a situation where a company hires a third-party company or individual to offer software development services. According to current statistics, more than 50% of the total outsourcing market comprises of IT/software expertise. Reducing cost is the primary reason why companies outsource software development. Other benefits include getting to hire quality talent, expedited development times, and reduction of development backlogs.
Some risks are associated with outsourcing. The risks include miscommunication between the outsourcing parties, low quality of service, failure to set delivery expectations, unclear work schedule, and exposure of confidential company information to third-parties. Failure to consider these risks can make the decision to outsource a poor one or spoil the outsourcing relationship.
To make sure that you settle for the best outsourcing partner, make a list of viable companies. Vet each of them independently and make a comparison of their strengths against their bids. Take note that the lowest bid is not necessarily indicative of the best company. Oftentimes the lowest bids come from new entrants in the market or less experienced companies.
Check the understanding of each company to your problem. Make sure that they understood your request for a proposal and vet them on this. Go ahead and interview them independently, taking note of their compliance with your requirements.
Depending on the nature of the task and its size, you could elect to settle for a more experienced company or a startup that has a good portfolio and recommendation.
Do a thorough check of each of the companies that you have on your list. It is vital that you get to know as much information as you can about a company before deciding to settle on it for your software development project.
A simple search on the internet about a company will give you a good picture of its reputation. Check for their website and reviews about them on their website first. Check if they have provided all the necessary information about their expertise and operations on their website.
Check for their reviews on third-party websites and blogs. Here, make sure that you sample many reviews. You might come across some negative reviews and feedback. Check to see if the negative reviews have come from a competitor who offers a similar service or a genuine customer who was dissatisfied with a provided service.
Different companies operate in a different way. This leads to a difference in the pricing of services. Some costs of outsourcing will be higher in some areas and lower in others. The working culture is an important factor worthy of noting. This can easily affect communication between yourself and the outsourced company representatives.
It can affect the way you will interact with representatives from the outsourced company. Check their languages, working conditions, business days and times, and their time zones. Some companies abroad are willing to adjust their schedule to fit your requirements. Check for these as well.
You will enhance communication when you meet face to face with the potential company. Schedule a video call when face to face meeting is not possible. It will enable you to understand their working environment better and get to know the company’s management, the technical personnel, software developers, and other personnel to be involved in the software development project.
In this meeting, you will outline the scope of the project, the methodologies to be used, and the technologies that will be used in the development process. It will help you gauge the company’s understanding of your project, their capacity to handle and deliver the expected results.
It is of utmost importance that you set clearly the deliverables. Make clear your expectations in terms of deliverables, the timelines, and checkpoints along the engagement period. Set the communication channels and the contact persons in regard to each line of deliverables. This could be the lead software developer or manager. Clearly state the role you and your team will play during the development process. Describe the quality of work you expect and how you desire it to be presented to you.
Set regular meetings between the teams, especially during the delivery of significant milestones. This would also act as the checkpoints for the project. Having a schedule for your delivery expectations clearly spelled out will save you a lot of hassle engaging in a back and forth communication that will bring about additional costs.
Develop a clear and effective communication strategy. After you have agreed on the teams to be involved in the development process, define how communication will flow across different levels and the people responsible for each type of communication.
By this time, you have already set out the teams, the key personnel, and the supervisors to be involved in the development process. You have also set out the role you and your team will play in the process. Structure the communication between the teams, the supervisors, and the advisory level (this being the proprietary level). Define how the communication will be, whether through emails, calls, or using a collaboration tool.
Consider the steps outlined above and remember that the more effective you are when settling on a company to outsource your software development project, the better the chances you have on settling on one that will suit your software development needs.
Outsourcing has been proven to be very effective when the processes involved have been carried out in the correct manner. It reduces costs and frees up your time so that you concentrate on the priority areas.
By using this article as a guide, you can rest assured that your next outsourced software development project will be a success.