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How to outsource software development to get good results, not pain

When a business grows and develops intensively,  the issue of outsourcing software development often comes to the fore. 

Even though outsourcing has many advantages, there are many factors that can bring you more pain than results. Indeed, it is rather difficult to hand over control to the wrong hands while maintaining a high level of security and proper quality of the products being developed.

Unfortunately, no one is above making a mistake, and many customers commit them when they first begin their interaction with providers. But forewarned is forearmed! We have identified some software development outsourcing problems and some good tips that will help you minimize the risks of working with an outsourcing company and achieve the best result.

1. Lack of experience or incompetent vendor

The success of the whole enterprise depends on the choice of the right vendor. At this stage it is important not to make a mistake. It is worth paying attention not only to professionalism of the potential partner’s team, but also to the organization of work processes in the company.


Tip: Make a list of requirements for candidates. Pay attention to the skill level of specialists, how long the company has been on the market. Read customer reviews on expert websites. Compare the capabilities of the contractor with your requirements, and based on this analysis, make a decision.

2. Data at risk

When you decide to outsource the project, you delegate to a third-party company some of the powers associated with the organization of the IT infrastructure and often share important confidential information - a description of the processes, employee data, etc. If you don’t want the question of the confidentiality and preservation and integrity of important data bother you, you should choose a company that works in accordance with international safety standards. 


Tip: Conclude a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that is binding on both parties.

3. Financial planning

Financial security is one of the main elements of the economic security of an enterprise. You need to make sure that the outsourcing company’s financial position is stable enough so that he doesn’t suddenly turn out to be financially untenable and can’t continue working on your project. It may be necessary to increase productivity or to involve additional staff during some stages of the project. A reliable partner will be able to involve the required amount of specialists whenever needed.


Tip: Inquire about the financial position of the company in order to avoid trouble in the future.

4. Provide precise and accurate documentation

Carefully consider the compilation of the service level agreement in order to further avoid possible disagreements and misunderstandings. The main advantage of such a contract is mutual benefit. The customer immediately sees how much he pays, what he gets and what reports he can demand. On the other side the outsourcer acts exclusively within his competence. It is very important to ensure that you and the contractor clearly understand all the requirements specified in the contract.

Make sure to provide software requirement specifications or SRS. This document describes business specifics and technical project requirements. It serves as the basis for communication between different groups - between the developers themselves, as well as the developers and users or stakeholders. Formally or informally, it represents a kind of contract between the parties. Not reflecting something or poorly describing it in the SRS document can result in problems. The outsourcing party might understand it differently and implement it in a different way than you planned.


Tip: Properly and correctly drafted documentation will make the process of cooperation with the provider transparent, efficient and pleasant for both parties. Make sure that the documents are correctly written and understood by the outsourcing party.

5. Resolve difficulties in communication and ensure mutual understanding

An ideal outsourcing partner is not only a performer, but above all a reliable ally who is helping you to lead your project to success. Your cooperation must not be consolidated only by a contract, but first of all by a common goal. Communicate often enough to close all inquiries, questions or issues that your vendor faces. 


Tip: Establish a relationship of trust with your service provider. Make sure the vendor is ready for dialogue and can both respond quickly to your inquiries and report arising issues. Don’t hesitate to give your feedback. Being open and result oriented is what you need to strive for.

Conclusion

Whenever working with your outsourcing partner remember to:

  1. Choose the outsourcing company wisely

Focus on the experience of the company, pay attention to the organization of workflow, read reviews and inquire about ratings. Talk to existing clients when possible.

  1. Pay due attention to data security

Choose a company that works in accordance with international safety standards.  Conclude a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that is binding on both parties.

  1. Check the financial viability of the vendor

Request and analyze the information about the financial condition of the potential partner. Make sure the company is trustworthy. 

  1. Develop precise and accurate documentation

Pay attention to SLA and your SRS documentation. Make sure documentation and requirements are written clearly and understood well by your vendor. Ask your vendor for a project plan and reporting schedule.

  1. Get and provide feedback

Well-established communication is the key to effective work, and effective work is the key to success. Be open to questions and inquiries to solve them quickly, and make sure your vendor follows the same practice.


Of course working with outsourcing companies consists of many other factors that are not covered in this article. However, following these few simple practices will make your life much easier. At the end of the day all you want to get the results you are paying for. Pick the outsourcing partner that will satisfy your demands and this might be a beginning of a long-lasting cooperation.

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