The importance of technology to businesses across all economic sectors is at an all-time high. While medium-sized businesses and Fortune 500 companies have been competing to secure tech talent for the past decade and more, small business owners are beginning to realize that new technology and consumer-focused software is becoming a must-have for companies of every size.
The ultra-low unemployment rate of under 2% for software engineers makes the search for experienced programmers particularly difficult for all but the most recognizable of businesses. That’s why so many firms are turning to software outsourcing companies to help them secure the best tech talent, no matter where a particular software engineer is located.
Read on to learn how to successfully outsource development for your business.
- Should your business build or outsource a data centre?
- Debunking the notion that IT projects are better placed offshore
- Strangers in your servers: data security and the gig economy
Choosing the right outsourcing partner
The single most important part of the software outsourcing process involves selecting the right outsourcing partner. The industry is bursting at the seams with new companies interested in capitalizing on the increasingly large tech industry; however, many of these firms simply do not have the experience or resources necessary to serve as a trusted business partner.
When you begin your outsourcing search, it is important to look for things like a potential partner’s industry reputation, past work, recruitment process, and knowledge of the field. A thorough initial assessment will ensure that your next software development project begins on the right track.
Selecting the best outsourcing model
The first step in outsourcing development services is to figure out exactly what type of outsourcing model is right for your business. This process begins with an internal assessment, which involves taking an honest look at your in-house development team’s experience, capabilities, and weaknesses. Most companies do not maintain an extensive software engineering staff, for good reason, so there may be quite a few gaps to fill. In addition, it is important to properly assess your team’s project management skills and experience leading this sort of large-scale initiative.
Once your initial assessment is complete, it’s time to look closely at the most popular software outsourcing models. Staff augmentation is one of the most widely-used partnerships. This outsourcing arrangement involves filling key weaknesses in your in-house staff by bringing in skilled software engineers on an as-needed basis. Alternatively, you may want to consider outsourcing development to an autonomous delivery team, which consists of a project manager, software engineers, and testers who can take an idea and create a piece of custom software with little supervision. This arrangement is particularly valuable for companies without the time or staff necessary to develop custom software in-house.
Set clear expectations
Perhaps the most frustrating situation that new managers can find themselves in is having spent several months and a huge sum of money collaborating with an outsourcing partner, only to realize that the final product does not meet expectations. Yet, many businesses find themselves in this exact situation during their first experience outsourcing development.
The best way to avoid this scenario and ensure that your development project goes off without a hitch is to make sure that your goals and design expectations are as clear as possible from the very beginning. In addition, make sure that several assessment points are built into the process so that you can quickly identify progress and offer suggestions before too many resources have been invested.
Setting up a clear line of communication from the very beginning of the project is crucial to success in your next software development project. The best software outsourcing companies will have a set of processes in place to ensure that you stay updated on your team’s progress (if using an autonomous delivery team) or that your outsourced developers are properly integrating into your team and following internal procedures (if using staff augmentation services).
It is important that you speak with potential software outsourcing partners about their communication style and ensure that the strategy is clearly defined in writing. In addition, make sure to verify exactly what time of day your outsourced team is expected to be working if they are located in a different part of the world.
So you’ve invested months (and possibly years) into developing this piece of amazing software. Where do you go from now? Many executives find that they were so busy focusing on completing this software development cycle that little thought was given to the post-release phase.
The top software outsourcing companies will set up a maintenance plan at the start of the project, ensuring that there is a strategy to phase-out your augmented staff and redirect your in-house team’s attention once coding and testing are complete. Make sure that any potential outsourcing partners have a blueprint in mind on how to slowly phase-out contractors, train in-house staff on key responsibilities, and ensure that a regular software maintenance schedule is in place.
Paul Azorín, Founder and CTO at BairesDev
- Also check out the best small business software