Quality of development is of utmost importance to any business. So when we think of software development, the chicken or egg question is whether to go for in-house development or to outsource software development! Here’s a detailed comparison between software development outsourcing versus in-house software development to help you decide what is best for your business.
So by looking at my previous comparative post, if you decide to take an informed decision to go with software development outsourcing, it becomes vital to weigh all variables involved to make the right choice. The right outsourcing experience does not automatically get guaranteed just by making the decision but involves making right choices and taking appropriate actions. So let us help you with making your outsourcing experience a successful one. Here’s a checklist I have prepared based on my years of experience which you must take care before you outsource software development to any offshore development agency.
Things to take care when you consider Software Development Outsourcing
- Define Goals & Objectives
- Decide your Budget
- Insist on Project Management Tool
- Research about the Offshore Software Development Company
- Set Realistic Milestones
- Documentation is the Key in Software Development Outsourcing
- Ensure Quality Assurance Availability
- Dedicated Project Manager
- Trust Issues? Start out with a Small Project
- Take a Second Opinion
- Overcome Language and Cultural Barriers
- Cheapest Agency is not always the Best
- Ensure Agency works with Latest Tools
So lets review all of these in detail and see how it effects your decision to outsource.
1) DEFINE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Not every offshore software development company can handle your project. That’s why it is important to know what you want. Once you have defined what your goals are, your search becomes easier. That way you will get to the right company quickly. This will also allow you to communicate better in regards to what you expect.
Unclear objectives can lead to choosing a wrong offshore company for the job. They may not be competent enough. Or they may just not be a right fit.
2) DECIDE YOUR BUDGET
Every development agency is different. Some offer packages, some charge by the hour. Just like defining goals, you should define your budget as well. Then take a look at the top software development companies to see what they can do for the sum. Many businesses end up with making the big mistake of choosing the cheapest solution for financial reasons. The most economical solution isn’t necessarily a low quality one but more often than not you get what you pay for stands true in the software development outsourcing space. While price should be a factor, it shouldn’t be the only factor in your decision making. Instead, if you are pressed for budget and can’t hire the absolute best, search for a solution that brings you the right balance of quality and cost.
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3) INSIST ON PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOL
Half of the software development outsourcing is about right communication. Without it, you get nowhere. Project management tool enables you to keep an eye on the progress. It also allows you to update objectives and spot mistakes. More importantly, it helps you manage time. Many outsourced projects get delayed because they lack management tool.
It’s never a great idea to blindly put your trust in the developer. So always push for the Project Management Tool and sprint based development review.
4) RESEARCH ABOUT THE OFFSHORE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT COMPANY
All web development is not of the same kind. UI/UX coding is completely different from app development which itself is in total contrast with database management. Different software development companies may have different areas of strong forte where it excels but may not necessarily be good in other areas. That’s why it is prudent to check the areas of expertise of the shortlisted Offshore Software Development Company. Number of parameters like checking the track record, Client Mix & Testimonials, Case Studies, completed projects portfolio, team profile etc. can help in determining whether the company has adequate expertise for the task on hand.
Never hand your development project unless you have ensured the company is competent. Ask around in your industry for reputation. Or ask the company to furnish references. You can also check their online reputation. If people have had bad experiences, that is bound to show up. Select a company that scores high on Reliability. Reliability will mean right estimates, well defined timelines, realistic commitments, transparency, live communication, proactive responsiveness along with technical abilities. We use our RelyShoreTM (reliable offshore) development model in all the projects that we take on. One of the reliability indicator is also long standing experience. A company that has weathered a long number of years would not have been there unless they have been providing good services.
5) SET REALISTIC MILESTONES
Businesses often miss the beat on this one. They either don’t set any milestones or go overboard with their expectations. Milestones allow you to measure your own success and progress in terms of quantifiable data. Lack of it means it’s hard to track what you’ve accomplished and what needs to be done in the future. Similarly, unrealistic ambitious goals mean you are likely to miss them, which can cause stress and demotivation for yourself as well as the software development team.
That’s why setting up milestones is extremely necessary but they should take into account all the challenges and limitations. They should be something that your team feels comfortable with and is likely to achieve.
Also a Software Development Company which agrees to any over ambitious deadlines may be more likely to put you in trouble than help you. It is better to go with a company, which provides you a realistic sense of development milestones even at the cost of losing business.
Remember it is your project. Outsourcing doesn’t absolve you of liability. Keep yourself engaged continuously throughout the project progress. Keep everything in check and ensure requirements are met. In software development, nothing is more important than quality assurance. Make sure the code being written works and works well.
Sometimes communication can get very challenging because of different time zones, work ethics, schedules and availability of the right people at the right time. Your business in collaboration with the development agency should come up with a plan for regular communication.
California based Schaedler Insurance Agency outsourced IT services and during one of the projects they had to face many maintenance issues not because of the lack of technical competence but because of communication barriers. Jeremy Schaedler, president of the company said:
Too much is lost in verbal communication, outsourcing IT overseas is a great way to get quality programming talent at a fraction of the domestic cost, but getting a quality product depends on establishing a clear method of communication.
Digital tools like GitHub, Slack, InVision and Teamweek can improve the overall quality of coordination. Not only that, you are able to oversee the progress and quality of work being done. And if there are any complains or feedback, that can be communicated timely.
7) DOCUMENTATION IS THE KEY IN SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT OUTSOURCING
Never go into a development agreement with an agency without adequate documentation. Software projects always lose their way midway through the development if there isn’t proper documentation to begin with. Things start to get out of control and the project loses all focus and ambition.
Development is technical and requires clean and clear guidelines in relation to what you want and how you want it. Getting everything documented not only alleviates the chances of project going haywire halfway through but eases the pain for managing departments.
Proper paper work is always important. Verbal communication is easier to forget and often gets lost. Document everything. This will allow you to streamline all the work.
8) ENSURE QUALITY ASSURANCE AVAILABILITY
Select software development companies that have a strong QA and Testing support and protocols and do not shy away from building for QA and Testing within your development budget.
Whichever offshore software development company you are going to work with, ensure they offer testing. Quality assurance should be a part of their code writing process. Any code that leaves without QA is not a good code.
Many businesses outsource their software development needs in order to save time and money but in their bid to target financial convenience, QA gets sidelined. This is a cardinal sin in any type of technical work with just the development alone. That’s why there needs to be a premium quality testing framework in place that constantly checks for bugs and performance issues.
9) DEDICATED PROJECT MANAGER
A person dedicated with the sole responsibility of looking after a project can do wonders for software development. An outsourced development project benefits from a dedicated project manager who is looking after everything all the time. This way every person involved knows there is someone overseeing the whole undertaking and every update gets communicated on time.
Project Manager also proves to be a vital need in removing bumps and issues. No software project sails smoothly at first go; there are always some hiccups. A Manager is in a better position to resolve issues since he or she has a clear picture of what’s going on and where the project needs to be.
10) TRUST ISSUES? START OUT WITH A SMALL PROJECT
If you are not sure about a development agency, give them a small project. Work closely and observe how they treat the project. Before signing a major contract, ensure the company will not give you headaches.
Sometimes you can detect in early phase if a company is worth trusting or not. Before entrusting any development agency with a crucial or massive project, it is better to assume proactive approach and test them beforehand. In fact we also provide some free trial work to check out our skills. Contact us now, if you would like to test our offshore software development services and want to ensure your project is in safe hands.
11) TAKE A SECOND OPINION
Allow your in-house developer to give an opinion on the work. Many times a software developer looking from a different perspective can suggest improvements. Development has a creative element to it. There are so many ways to achieve the same result and some are more efficient and effective than others. An experienced software developer can bring that fresh perspective that the software programmers working on the project might have missed.
12) OVERCOME LANGUAGE AND CULTURAL BARRIERS
Working with an offshore IT company can be challenging. Especially in terms of language and cultural hurdles. Try to streamline mutual communication so meaning doesn’t get lost in translation.
Select development company from a country where an international language you understand is common. For e.g. India is a preferred outsourcing destination as English is very commonly spoken and understood language there which helps people from all over the world connect seamlessly.
If required, at the outset, have a conversation with the Project Manager and software development Team of the chosen software development company just to understand whether how easy or difficult it will be to explain your requirements to them.
13) CHEAPEST AGENCY IS NOT ALWAYS THE BEST
It is fine to cut down costs but don’t cheap out on development. There are so many companies or individuals that have mushroomed with 1-2 projects and will offer very economical services. More often than not cheapest options are not competent enough. They will deliver you work which will cost you more in fixing. Although this isn’t a formula set in stone, more often than not you may end up losing. We live in a world where we get what we pay for. When you are paying the minimum price, it’s unreasonable to expect the maximum result in terms of progress and quality.
Many times the most economical options end up a complete waste of time and financial resources along with a lot of frustration. In the end you find yourself spending more anyway to get things done. In fact, the account of Rebekah Campbell who set up a team in Manilla to outsource IT services, suggests that you should pay more than you have to. That way you not only get the best of the best but receive commitment and devotion from the people you hire.
Also it is advisable to select software development companies that are reasonably mid-level (with a team of more than 100 developers) as compared to smaller companies or freelancers who might offer cheaper process or bargains. Midsized software development companies often provides the right balance of cost effectiveness and technical expertise. It is imperative that the selected development company is large enough to have all kinds of resources, expertise and experience available within their teams.
14) ENSURE AGENCY THAT WORKS WITH LATEST TOOLS
You must cover this during your research phase. A company must have all the modern development tools and resources. Outdated and obsolete tools can cause you embarrassment and other issues.
With shrinking global boundaries, software development outsourcing services have become a very lucrative and common practice among most countries and is generally the first preference for small and mid sized companies. It remains a cost efficient and most convenient way out to your development issues. However, you have to be proactive, technically educated and smart about who you are going to hire and what and how you’re going to get done to ensure that your outsourcing experience remains delightful.
Software Development Outsourcing
If done the right way can save companies a lot of money and other resources which otherwise they would need to spend on hiring and maintaining an in-house team.
Contact us now.