Yes, software development outsourcing has been around for a pretty long while now. It has turned into a global business tool for cutting budget costs, saving time to get your product to the market, accelerating the development process and finding expertise you specifically need. But here and there you would come across the headlines saying that outsourcing is dying or warning you about bitter consequences of outsourcing for your business.
If you have had a recent outsourcing experience and achieved success, or you’re working with an overseas team on an ongoing basis, you know what it’s about and how it works. But if you have a scarce experience of finding and working with an offshore developers’ team, outsourcing may possibly come out as an unpleasant surprise for you.
According to the results of one of the latest surveys on global outsourcing software development trends, it is continuing to grow. Availability of first-class experts on a global scale, advanced Internet communication tools, lower costs compared to in-house development, and innovations in software development are some of the decision-making factors that help IT outsourcing evolve and thrive.
But what about business concerns in IT outsourcing? Are they gone? The 2016 outsourcing survey held by Deloitte has shown that there are still some very specific pain points, but the good thing is that their severity is gradually decreasing. But still, let’s take a look at how to deal with those top-5 existing drawbacks and make sure you know how to avoid any problem like that.
Beginning an outsourcing relationship is a challenge unless you have good understanding of things that you will deal with on a daily basis. Check the following outsourcing risk management tips when you are choosing your overseas development team to turn this collaboration into success.
The day you put your software product idea into development, you want to stay assured that the final result fully matches your quality standards. As a startup or an established business owner, you don’t want to get into a situation where your software stops working properly as soon as your outsourcing development team complete programming work.
Adding a QA specialist will help maintain software quality at all development stages. Additionally, you should ask whether the company’s QA engineers are certified and what those certificates are. Also, find out what variety of tests (manual or automated) they are going to perform to hold up with the latest quality norms.
You can also schedule an online video call with the whole team to discuss the procedures and the way they work. Asking direct questions and voicing your quality concerns will add clarity to your expectations and the whole collaboration process and help you make a decision of whether you want to partner with these people.
When you choose outsourcing, you stick to the fact that you won’t see your team in your office and won’t be physically present during and be involved into the work process. But there are still strong ways to get better acquainted with your team.
It would be wise to ask your future team questions about the company’s culture and their workplace. To see their innovative work environment and their organized teamwork and evaluate the company’s maturity, you can visit the country and office of your team in person, especially if you’re planning a long-term cooperation or there is a chance your project gets more complicated in the future. An on-site visit will give you an idea whether you can understand each other while talking over project details.
You can also ask about the company’s outsourcing model and learn more details about your team’s structure. To see what others think about the company, visit review platforms, such as Clutch.co to see how the company ranks and read their customers’ feedback.
Time zone difference is another factor that shapes cooperation in software development outsourcing as it impacts work hours. But with the right tools for communication (Skype, Slack), progress tracking (Jira, Trello), and coding and design work (GitHub, InVision), to a great extent this problem can be resolved. With these tools, you can communicate your feedback, leave comments or ask questions for the team to respond.
Sharing your thoughts about the progress and voicing your preferences during the development phase saves programming and fixing time; so the chances your team makes a big mistake caused by misunderstanding are getting smaller. Communicate to receive full and detailed answers that are clear to you to ensure the process is going in the right direction, along with your business objectives.
If there is a big difference in time zones, it is better to negotiate about the shift, so you have a chance to talk about the project to someone on the team. This guarantees overlap.
Software development outsourcing is shifting its focus from simple cost efficiency to promotion of innovation. And this is what you will want to pay attention to as well because it directly impacts competitive capabilities of your business. Getting acquainted with technological trends, development process methodologies and tools, and collaboration formats will help you understand whether an overseas partner is using emerging or current versions of programming languages and frameworks.
You can ask their representative what training opportunities they offer to their developers and how they motivate them to acquire new programming skills.
Also, you can make sure the outsourcing company is an expert in software development if they respond to your specific business needs. Ask them about types of projects they have worked on. You can take a look at their portfolio or case studies to see if they have a diverse industry background (ecommerce, finances, travel etc.) and can make their own suggestions for problem solutions to find the most efficient one.
There must be value in their solution offers that take into account your business objectives, capacities and specifically your budget, but don’t simply provide a standard solution.
Certain challenges during the development process are normal. Errors happen, but it is much more important how the team members deal with such errors to get them resolved. Make sure your overseas team do not try to hide their mistakes from you to look perfect in your eyes and are ready to share their responsibility.
One of the vital signs of proactive approach is a close collaboration and addressing concerns about all things going on that potentially can lead to a serious matter or error. A team that inform you about such issues make the outsourcing development process more transparent and flexible for both sides and bring more satisfaction with the final product.
But all these factors together won’t work if there is no experienced manager who oversees the development process and coordinates communication between the customer and the team.
A project manager plays one of the crucial roles in IT outsourcing because for you as a customer this is a person that ensures a better outcome and lowers the risk of failure and for an outsourcing company this is a person that stays in charge of all project issues and higher customer satisfaction and minimizes the risk of project fails.
When speaking about the right implementation skills for a manager, these mainly include delivering on time, sticking to the budget and producing quality software that you agreed to receive. Here’s how you should understand whether your project manager has these implementation skills for your project success.
Excellent project management is a mastered art. During the interview with your overseas team, ask their manager what training or coaching they have gone through and experience in what industries they already have. It will give you better vision of the manager’s ability to adapt to hectic schedules, manage a range of different tasks on your project, and also lead and engage team members into the project goals.
In addition, pay attention to their communication skills and how they envision deliverables for each development stage and how they are focused on achieving the result. You can ask for references of feedback from other customers to find out how they particularly evaluate the manager’s performance.
With all these team and management issues in mind, you will be better prepared for potential challenges and will be able to turn IT software development into your support function, focusing your efforts on business development rather than technology.
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