Software Outsourcing Company – Guide to Picking a Development Partner
Choosing a software outsourcing company is a difficult process. It is difficult to see past the sales pitch and into how the company actually manages projects. Here is a guide that will help you identify high quality partners and give you pointers on how to select the best partner for your project.
Choosing a Development Partner – Five Essential Steps
- Use websites/apps/platforms that the company has built for other clients.
- Visit their office, even if this means flying to a different country. A site visit is essential.
- Find out what processes are in place. Do they use the agile methodology? If so, are you required for daily stand-ups as the product owner?
- What are the communication channels available – Skype, Slack, email?
- Talk to their previous clients. Ask them direct questions.
As a result, you should go through the list above with all prospective partners.
Software Outsourcing Company – The Importance of Process
Your project will live live or die as a result of the process. An experienced development house will have established processes that have been refined over hundreds of projects. This can be a major benefit for your business and project. However, the flipside of this is if your partner has not defined and put in place a tried and tested process your project could be in jeopardy.
Therefore, you should always get details on the process used to manage projects. Simply put, this the most important indicator for your project’s success.
How To Appraise Previous Software Development Work
Context is key with this regard. Always try to get a feel of both the resources allocated and the client budget before you cast your eye over any project. You can learn a lot about a software outsourcing company by how they describe previous projects.
Ideally they will also share the difficulties that they faced and how they overcame them. Also, what they would do differently if they were to do that particular project again.
What you are looking for is honesty and a company that doesn’t gloss over anything.
In reality, no project is perfect. You want a software outsourcing company that has the confidence to discuss cases that did not go to plan. These are they guys who will have learnt from it and when it is time to start your project are in a better place to execute than a business that has on ever had “only resounding successes.”
Define Your Expectations – Have Completion Criteria
How do you know when your project is completed?
This is a question that you need the answer to from the get go.
Without a defined feature set you will struggle to reach project completion.
Is Quality Assurance and Testing part of your Brief?
We recommend that you always included a QA and testing component to your brief. In our experience, this is just as important as building the application/platform in the first place.
Testing is always required to ensure a working version of your project.
As a result, you should also have budget set aside for this process.
Software Outsourcing Company – Scaling Post-Launch
Once you have built and launched your first release you may need to add features and updates into the future. You should have a plan for this.
Many software outsourcing companies can deliver a “build, operate and transfer” model.
This model allows for the seamless transfer of expertise throughout the product lifecycle.
The product is built by your development partner.
The development partner is involved in the day to day operations
As your business and user base grows you may want to move your development in-house. Having a transfer process in place allows for the staff within your development partner who have worked on your project to move from working for the partner to working directly for you.
This is an important element in the lifetime success of your project. You need to find out if your development partner can facilitate a “Build, Operate and Transfer” model.
Like with a lot of things relating to the success of your project, thinking about the entire lifecycle from the very start often gets the best results.
Why Decide to Outsource?
When building a product/platform from scratch there is a requirement for a full team of developers. In many start-up and innovation hubs the cost of hiring people with the appropriate skills is very high.
Given the cost of living in those locations many projects fail because of the lack of resources available.
The solution, is to use offshore teams who have the same level of skill but do not have the same high cost of living.
As a result, you can save substantially on your build.
Once your product/platform is built there is not the need to maintain all the developers on your payroll. A smaller team can manage operations. Outsourcing is perfect for this as you can plan your team requirements.
Your Outsourcing Partner Should Give You Advice
A good development partner will have experience over hundreds of projects. This expertise, to some extent can help you plan your project. For instance, there may be bottlenecks related to the tech stack you plan to use that you have not foreseen. However, your partner may have worked on a similar project and can flag any potential issues down the line.
When selecting a Software Outsourcing Company make sure you do full due diligence. Do not simply rely of the company’s sales person. Dig deeper and do your own research. Make sure you visit their offices and talk to their staff.
Work with a team that uses the agile methodology for project management and has demonstrated the ability to deliver on-time and on-budget in the past.
Most importantly, plan plan and plan again.