In the past recent years, outsourcing has become the trend and many businesses have successfully employed external resources to work on projects which require excessive amounts of time and inefficiently drain internal resources.
Software development outsourcing is effective because it helps business achieve higher productivity by focusing on its core competency while outsourcing the myriads of technical task to external agency at a reasonable cost. Businesses who outsource to offshore software development companies will be able to eliminate the process of hiring, training and managing of developers and consequently cut down on the costs of hiring and training etc.
However, businesses shouldn’t just hire an offshore team of developers and let them be. Businesses should play an active role and involve with the offshore team throughout the entire project. Client involvement does affect the project outcome — it either help increase team effectiveness or lower it. Thus, it is important for business to get involved effectively but not micromanage to help improve the success of software outsourcing project.
In this article, we discuss the important points clients should fully understand before embarking on outsourcing:
ESTABLISH A CLEAR OBJECTIVES
Before initiating the outsourcing process by contacting the offshore development company, a business should decide what the exact goal for outsourcing is.
Firstly, determine what kind of help is required. A full-service software development project from scratch? Or a specific service (e.g., web design, mobile app development, back-end development, system maintenance and bug fixing, application managed service, and many more)? After clearly identifying the exact needs, business can set a list of requirements and initiate contact with a software outsourcing company in order to discuss the project. Together with technical expertise, clients should discuss in details about other important factors such as budget, time to market, and other specific requirements by product owner.
Budgeting is one of the most important issues affecting the overall decision of outsourcing. During the initial stage of contact, budget does not need to be an exact figure and an approximation should be sufficient. The reason that budget should be estimated and provided is that it will help outsourcing vendor to inform client about what they can offer to client in terms of product functionalities, technologies, and scope of work based on such figure. The more advanced the technology, the higher the development cost might be.
Clearly knowing the estimated budget, outsourcing company can offer clients the most suitable solution adhering to costs while enables them to accomplish the client’s defined goal, as per budget limit.
PROJECT TIMELINES AND COMPLETION
Businesses need to carefully determine the project timeline and completion date as it directly affect the overall budget/finance of the budget. For example, if a business requires a large and complex project to be completed in a short timeframe, the development costs will be increased as more developers might be needed. Additionally, clients should also account for buffer in case of delay due to unexpected issues. An experienced outsourcing partner will be able to effectively set schedule, keeping projects on track by setting realistic time frames, and assign resources efficiently.
Besides, the software must pass through all the development stages including testing phase. Skipping or saving time on any step will badly affect the quality of product as it will require constant improvement and bug fixing along the process even after the release date.
COMMUNICATION AND FEEDBACK
Effective communication is highly critical and affects the overall success of the entire software development project. Clients should have at least once or twice a week meeting (via video/web conference) with the development team to clarify any questions the team might have, as well as quickly providing feedback after every iteration of the new release. This will help development team to constantly improve the features of the products, thus increase productivity as a result.
On the other hand, when a client does not implement a communication process with the offshore partner, the project will be slow down with little or no improvement, and causing development costs to shoot up.
TECHNOLOGICAL STACK AND INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE
Many businesses usually choose the software development outsourcing partner based on reviews by past clients and technical experience from previous projects. Ideally speaking, the outsourcing partner should possess both the technical expertise and domain knowledge. For instance, when the outsourcing company has already carried out similar projects, they know the potential difficulties or issues may arise and can handle them better.
The other option is to choose team based on their technical capacities. In the circumstances when the team has the technical expertise but lacking in the domain knowledge, they can have business analyst(s) helping clients to refine requirements and build communication with the team of developers.