Software development outsourcing has been a steadily growing trend for years now, especially among small and medium enterprises, with the global market for IT outsourcing being valued at $65.5 billion. There are many reasons why companies may opt for software development outsourcing. Most importantly, it’s a way to save costs on developing a product without sacrificing the quality.
Outsourcing your software development needs also allows you to supply your core competencies with a technology that is currently missing from your roster without having to hire a separate in-house team. However, such outsourcing software development comes with certain risks, and here are the top 7 mistakes to avoid.
1. Not taking research seriously enough
Every new project, including hiring software developers, should start with proper research. You can begin by checking out the software development company’s website, portfolio, and blog — this will give you some information about the company, the services it offers, and the work it’s done for other customers. You can also create a list of questions to ask the company, which can include:
- Do you have any experience with this specific industry?
- Who are the people that will work on the project and what are their credentials?
- What are your preferred communication channels?
- Will the team split their time between several projects or focus on a single project?
- What are the pricing models you offer and which one is best suited for us?
2. Making a choice based on price alone
Your desire to cut costs on software development services is completely understandable and hiring a team from overseas, where labor is typically cheaper, can be a great solution. Still, the cost alone should never be your main deciding factor. There are plenty of software outsourcing companies who try to win the competition by offering the lowest rates, but they often underperform when it’s actually time to do the job. This is why you should also take other factors into account, such as the company’s main competencies, the versatility of its portfolio, and the feedback from existing customers.
3. Not taking part in the hiring process
In many cases, the vendor you choose for your software development outsourcing needs will need to hire additional personnel to fit your requirements. A key mistake here is to entrust the hiring process solely to the vendor and taking a back seat in the creation of your outsourcing team. As a result, you can end up with team members who don’t possess the hard skills required for the job or who are not used to your preferred method of communicating with the team. That is why you should always have a say when hiring a new outsourcing team member.
4. Giving unclear requirements
When you only have a vague idea about the project you want to create, you can never give a good technical assignment and expect the desired result. You need to have a deep understanding of the specifics of your project and its goals before giving a list of requirements to your outsourcing collaborators. Only when you know what kind of project you want, its business objectives, its target audience, and its strengths and weaknesses, you can confidently write a technical assignment that will be absolutely clear to your team and begin the project planning stage.
5. Treating your outsourcing team like outsiders
Hiring a software outsourcing development company doesn’t mean you have one more team to manage in addition to your in-house employees. Instead, it means that your team will simply become bigger. The outsourcing personnel should become a part of the company in the sense that they need to have deep, first-hand knowledge of the business as a whole and the project they are working on. You can keep some of the most sensitive security data limited to your company, but giving out the information about the project in bite-sized chunks will result in the outsourcing team and the outcome of the project failing to live up to your expectations.
6. Opting against hands-on management
When you are hiring software developers for a specific project, chances are your company doesn’t have enough technical expertise in the area to do the project yourself. However, this is not a reason to let things slide or take the outsourcing company’s word for everything that is happening with your project. If you feel like you don’t have sufficient technical knowledge to effectively control the progress of the project, you should have a skilled project manager or find another person with relevant skills to regularly control the development, do progress reports, and give feedback to the team.
7. Minimizing the importance of QA
QA, or Quality Assurance, is an integral part of the successful development and implementation of a software project. When there is no QA or its role in the process is minimal, you risk getting an application that is riddled with bugs and is virtually unusable. That is why your cooperation with a software development outsourcing team should always have a QA outsourcing stipulation. It’s also essential for a QA engineer to work on the project from the very beginning — that way, the team members will be able to resolve the issues as they appear and the project will be finished on time.
When you have little to no experience with outsourcing software development services, it may seem like these common mistakes are nearly unavoidable. However, as long as you have a clear idea about the project you want to build, are completely open about your needs and expectations, are prepared to regularly and effectively communicate with the team, and choose the right outsourcing company for your project, you can prevent many, if not all of these missteps and get a project that fits your requirements and helps you achieve your goals.
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