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Software Development Outsourcing: How to Choose a Reliable Outsourcing Partner That is Suitable for Your Business?

We are in the midst of digital transformation where many business operations and activities are carried out by the use of software.  Those companies that are looking to turn their ideas into working software may find that the process of developing software is not only difficult and time-consuming, but hiring the right team of software developers can be just as overwhelming. Moreover, due to the shortage of developers in the IT industry, the demand for skilled software engineers will only increase, given the growing dependency of software in business as well as our daily lives.

Many business organizations have been turning into software development outsourcing service as a solution for their staffing problems. Software outsourcing companies can provide a range of services that help business organizations with their IT projects requirements including team extension, staffs augmentation, or setting up offshore development center etc. so that difficult development projects can be quickly completed with no long-term employment commitment. However, it’s no easy task to hire the right software outsourcing company, companies must conduct their due diligence before finalizing on choosing one.

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In this article, we explore the important areas of software outsourcing in order to help business owners properly planning their IT project, and also ensuring that the outsourcing partner is best suitable for specific business.

Planning and Identify Requirements

Before seeking to outsource development projects externally, business owners should take time to have a thorough assessment of internal team to see if they are capable of handling the projects. Such assessment involves checking out the size of in-house developer team, their skills and experience related to the projects, as well as management abilities in managing an intensive software development project. Moreover, this internal valuation should determine if the existing in-house team of software engineers is capable of taking new project which may require new technologies and is larger in scale and scope than existing ones. At the same time, not affecting their core existing tasks.

Successful outsourcing also requires buy-in from different stakeholders – including management and business users – to provide ideas and also clearly identify the requirements of project. This process should explicitly state the business problems that the new software aims to solve, together with the accompanying solutions. 

This initial assessment helps businesses to have a firm understanding of their projects in order to narrow down the list of potential outsourcing partners. In addition, a good software outsourcing company will their help clients develop this assessment further, by providing suggestions on the improvement required features and the technologies suitable for the product, etc.

Types of Outsourcing Models

Choosing the right outsourcing model allow companies to invest in their projects in the most optimal way. So, before going through all the details of software outsourcing service, it’s important for business owners to understand the range of services that their outsourcing partners provide. One of the most common model in IT outsourcing is staff augmentation. This model involves bringing in a small number of outside developers to work together with the existing team. Many companies with in-house team of developers only require help during the critical stages of development process, for example coding and software testing. Such companies will often opt for the extended team model to fill the key positions

Additionally, autonomous delivery team is another popular model for software outsourcing team. Rather than having to set-up an in-house team for the required project from scratch, many companies adopt this model, outsourcing the entire software development project of product development to end-to-end teams with minimum supervision, without having to involve in-house team for the development at any stage. Outsourcing allows customer companies to focus on their core competencies and future strategies, rather than getting held up in the daily management tasks required of dedicated project managers.

More than just effective costs

Cost is always one of the biggest consideration when it comes to outsourcing. Many business owners made the mistake of choosing the outsourcing vendors with the cheapest price without considering other relevant factors. While outsourcing can help businesses save costs most of the time, the principle benefit of software outsourcing is the ability to access large pool of IT talents with the specific skills of software development, regardless of geographic boundaries. By going for the cheapest option, business owners put a limit on themselves and introduce the risk of quality problems to the project.

Good software outsourcing companies usually provide contract developers with experience and skills in the required technologies as well as good English ability, in order to ensure quality. Thus, before finalizing on the software outsourcing partners, companies should carefully consider all available options to make sure that their outsourcing partners can provide high-quality service, with ability of engineers to communicate properly in English on a frequent basis.  On the contrary, the cheapest options will usually provide inexperience programmers who also do not speak proper English.

Communication

Communication is essential in ensuring the success of a software development project. Due to the nature of offshore software outsourcing, many companies are located in Southeast Asia (e.g. Vietnam) or Far East Asia, where English is not a native language and seldom used in daily life. As a result, it’s one of the most commonly encountered problems for businesses to find skilled, and fully-bilingual software engineers available for the project. The difficulties in communication makes collaboration between in-house team in the West and their extension team of developers become even more challenging. Thus, it’s important that business owners conduct interview in order verify and hire skilled, English-speaking capable engineers.

Another key concern when outsourcing development projects is the frequency of communication. It’s best to communicate daily through calls, or video conferencing tools (e.g. Skype, Zoom etc.) to ensure that the project is progressing on-pace and that stakeholders’ ideas are thoroughly considered and incorporated into the final product. Communication between customers companies and outsourcing partner team must remain constant throughout the entire project. Hence, discuss with outsourcing companies about their communication style and methods is vital before finalizing on the contract.

Skills and Experience

Last but not least, one of the most effective methods to predict the future success of the project is by verifying outsourcing partner’s past performance. This is a critical part and must not be skipped when choosing software outsourcing company to help with software development projects and to serve as an advantage for future cooperation. Business owners should ask in details, such as past projects success, technologies implemented, and project sizes and scopes, etc.

And, even though experience is an important area in determining the success of outsourcing projects, the age of the company, or the experience of senior staffs would have little effect on the success of a specific project. Software outsourcing companies are only as effective as their employees. Thus, business owners should require to know how the outsourcing development team members are hired, their qualifications and past projects experience, as well as the retention rate of software developers. The answers to these questions would reveal the information on the skills and experience of outsourcing team developers, as well as employee satisfaction – which are critical when partnering with software outsourcing company on a long term basis.

Side-notes:

TP&P Technology is a Software Development Company based in Vietnam providing a range of IT Services and build quality software products to help customers solving their unique business challenges. Contact us today to find out how we can help with your requirements.