Trusting someone else to take care of your brainchild is never easy. That’s precisely what outsourcing software development demands of any business owner. There are many factors that prompt a business to come to the decision of outsourcing its development needs. The prospects of low operational costs, bringing focus to core business functions, banking on the expertise of software specialists, flexibility, and risk management associated with development outsourcing are enough to gravitate any business towards it.
But the true success of this work model is realized when you choose the right people to partner up with and you have a proper process set up to govern the development process. So, how do you get successful with outsourcing development? There’s no magical solution to this puzzle, only few advices to heed to and a few pitfalls to avoid. We’ve got you covered regarding this, with some tips to remember here:
Set Your Budget and Schedule
When you’re approaching an outsourcing service provider, remember that you are asking for their help with something that you need. You are in the position to set down the terms and conditions that you want for your project’s completion. You should be absolutely clear about when you want the software development to be done and how much you’re willing to pay for it.
The next step would be to contact different vendors and invite proposals and quotes from them. Keep in mind though, the lowest bid price isn’t always the best choice, especially if it’s offered at the cost of the software quality. A Poorly built application may get you on the road for the moment, but it will keep spewing issues here and there in the long run. You may have saved money for now, but you will keep spending money in the future fixing the issues.
To avoid recurring problems with your software, be willing to pay for the quality, even if that means extending your budget by a little.
Verify the Credibility of the Vendor
One of the most important things you can do is to start a conversation to determine the level of communication and engagement that you can expect from the vendor. If you aren’t getting the attention you expect from the vendor, or if you are having communication issues with the vendor, this may be a red flag to avoid the relationship.
Do everything you can to establish the trustworthiness of the people you’ll be outsourcing your software development to. Your own mind will be at ease knowing that you’re in good company.
Discuss Thoroughly With Your Chosen Vendor
Many of the headaches that crop up during outsourcing software development are because of improper communication at the start of the project. Sometimes, the business owner hasn’t defined their project expectations clearly to the vendor, sometimes the vendor hasn’t outlined what they can or can’t do in advance to the client, sometimes there is no prior mutual agreement between the two parties about what deliverables will be provided and what process will be followed.
These are issues that can be fixed by having good, thorough discussion sessions before the beginning of the project, a step that’s often missed in the hurry to get the project started. Don’t make the mistake of skipping this integral step. Have a word with different members of the vendor team, from executives to the developers who’ll be working on your project. This will be a great way to set the tone of your prospective business relationship.
Among the many other things you can discuss, do talk about the goals, scope, and even your personal expectations for the project. Go over the requirements documentation together to ensure that nothing is missed. Ask the developers to help you understand their design and development plan for the software. Clarify your financial goals for the project at this point as well. For example, ask the vendor if their quote covers any changes/updates in the initial software requirements. If not, then how much extra could these modifications cost.
Peruse your contract carefully, if something seems amiss to you, convey this to your vendor. The idea is to make sure that both parties are on the same page regarding the project development. There should be an alignment between how the business owner and software vendor perceive the project. Only then can you expect the final product to match the original vision for the product.
Be Active in Participation and Communication
No, you don’t take a backseat after you’ve outsourced your project to another company! It only means that you’ve offloaded yourself of certain project responsibilities. You are still required to keep yourself engaged throughout the development cycle. This involves regularly communicating with your offshore developers, checking status reports, reviewing quality of the work, ensuring that deadlines are being met, and so on.
Your vendor should provide you convenient channels for easy communication. From instant messengers to video conferencing, all options should be on the table. Your active involvement will show your commitment to the project and toward your development partner. This, in turn, will push them to put in their best efforts.
Encourage Developers to Offer Suggestions
Okay, so price, time, and effort may have been the key reasons for you to outsource your project, but don’t forget that you also wanted to capitalize on the knowledge and experience of the specialists in this field! If you forget this, you will end up missing out on the best part of the deal.
Seek ideas, suggestions, and inputs from your developers on your envisioned product. Because they might have worked on similar projects before, they would know what improvements can be made on your project, or what extraneous details can be removed from your project.
Keep Reviewing the Application Code
If you can tell good code from bad code on your own, great! You would have no problem assessing the code quality delivered by the software vendor. In case you have no clue about coding, it’d be good if you could get someone’s help in reviewing the application code. Having an in-house IT specialist to help with this could be really beneficial.