DOS AND DON’TS OF WORKING WITH AN OUTSOURCED DEVELOPMENT TEAM



When you’re looking outside of your in-house team for your software development needs, it can be hard to know exactly where to start. Should you go with onshore, offshore, or nearshore developers? Is an integrated or independent approach a better fit for your company? How do you find the right team in the first place?


No matter which models and methods you choose, there are some important guidelines you can follow to keep the software development process moving and flowing. Here are some of the most important ones.

Dos


Do Specifically Define Requirements and Goals

It’s important for you to hammer out your specific requirements and overall goals for the project before you even begin the search for your development team. This will help you guide the process of finding the right fit. When evaluating software developers, outline these requirements and find out how they would ensure that they will meet them. Be sure to clearly articulate the objectives for the product.

You should also establish benchmarks along the way as a means of assessing progress. These checkpoints also serve as a way to make sure you and your outsourced partner are on the same page.

Do Search for a Team That’s Compatible Across the Board

You need a development team that’s compatible with yours in terms of culture, location, model, and other factors. Let’s take a closer look at the rationale behind these assessment points.

  • Culture: Your work styles should match, and your partner’s team should be proficient in English to ward off miscommunication.

  • Location: Choosing a nearshore developer has several advantages. For one, your time zones are better aligned than they are in the case of offshore development teams.

  • Model: Does the outsourcing team adhere to the same business model as your organization? This is important for the entire process because you want to make sure you align in terms of mission, way of assessing results, and more.

Do Communicate

Even though you’re not working on the same premises, you should make sure you and your partner are communicating regularly. Establish clear channels of communication from the beginning — whether through Zoom, Slack, and so on — and have a regular check-in time in addition to the informal collaboration. Be transparent about progress and goals, and encourage your outsourcing team to do the same.

Do Be Clear About Timeframes

In the discussions leading up to your contract, outline your timeframe for project completion and benchmarks. Make sure your partner is capable of meeting your time constraints, and if they believe that they aren’t realistic, explore their rationale. If they have considerable experience, they probably know what’s feasible. Add timeframes to your contract to have them nailed down and in writing.

Do Consider a Longer-Term Partnership

Even if your needs only include one project for now, always be thinking about the long term. If you work well with this vendor, you might consider doing so again in the future. This is something to take into account when initially choosing a partner — look for someone that could have the potential to work with you well into the future. If you think about this now, then it will save you a lot of vetting later on, when you’re tasked with finding a provider for a new project.

Don’ts


Don’t Automatically Choose the Cheapest Option

Outsourcing is a more cost-effective alternative to hiring full-time, in-house developers. And while you’ll almost certainly save money, be wary of any provider who seems too good — as in too cheap — to be true. Chances are that’s the case. Quality work comes at a price, and while there are certainly great, inexpensive options, anything that’s well below the market standard is a possible sign that they could lack the experience or expertise you need.

Don’t Remove Yourself from the Process

While you’re not the one actually building the product, you should still be closely involved in the development process. This is your product after all, and your reputation and business are at stake. Ensure that you’re monitoring all efforts involved in the project and maintain careful oversight.

Part of these efforts will include communication, as we’ve discussed. You should also consider using a project management tool like Trello to assess progress and note any issues that arise.

Don’t Forget That This Is a Partnership

At the same time, be wary of micromanaging. Remember that this is a partnership and you both have a vested interest in the project’s ultimate success. As your partner, the outsourcing team is sharing the risk with you and should, therefore, be treated as a serious stakeholder. If they recommend certain approaches or present alternatives to your ideas, listen to what they have to say, and take the time to consider it.

Don’t Think of the Outsourcing Team as Replacements

One of the fears your employees may have about your decision to outsource software development is that you’ll replace them. And you may even be tempted to do so. However, outsourcing can help boost your team by easing their workload and burden and helping fill in the gaps, letting the in-house members focus on other core tasks. Perhaps you need specific skills or want to integrate providers with your team members. Either way, your development team will still play a pivotal role in building products.

Be transparent with in-house players about why you’re making this decision so as to promote collaboration and avoid provoking anxiety.

Don’t Use a Generic Approach

Search for a software development company that doesn’t just have the capacity to build products like the one you’re looking for but also has experience using unique approaches and creating a wide range of products. You want someone who will think outside the box, rather than a provider who will stick to a single methodology to produce the same technology again and again. In order to stay competitive in an ever-changing market, you need to set yourself apart.


Ultimately, outsourcing should make your life and the lives of your team members easier. But creating a strong partnership takes work from both parties. These dos and don’ts can serve as guidelines for establishing a solid foundation.


Source: Analytics Insight