7 Things You Need to Know Before Outsourcing Software Development

Outsourcing software development can be an efficient and cost-effective way to get the product you need, especially if you don’t have someone in-house who is as proficient in programming as you require. You might want a developer with knowledge of blockchain technology, for example, to sweep you off your feet and concise the information on your behalf of you.

 

You just have to take a few things into consideration before committing to that special software developer, and we’ll go into those with you right here. 

1. What are you looking to get out of this relationship? 

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You’ll need to make a list of attractive qualities and deal breakers for your product.

 

Some key issues to note are: 

  • Functions you are looking for and why. What functions are you looking for and why?

 Being clear about what you are expecting will definitely save both parties a lot of time, and money for you.  It helps to ask for feedback from anyone in your company who’ll be working in any capacity with the software as well. If you have any in-house IT folks, this is their area of expertise so they should be on the front line of the outsourcing and hiring process. 

 

  • You’ll also want to set clear goals and timelines. 

Do you need a whole new product or a set of products? Or are we talking more of an additional bit of support to your existing software? And when do you need it done? All these are questions you need to consider before hiring extra help, to make sure your business needs will be met. For the sake of a happy professional relationship, you’ll want to relay your needs clearly to your developer. 

You can give the developer a list of what is expected of them, and make sure everything is clearly mentioned in your contract as well. You should also be picky about who you choose – do some research before you narrow it down to a single supplier. 

It’s also very important to ascertain your budget before deciding on your dev to let them know what range you are willing to work with. This also helps to shortlist your potential candidates accordingly.

 

2. Are you willing to try long-distance? 

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Nearshoring vs offshoring is a fancy way of saying: will you choose a company that’s local to you or a company that’s further away? Depending on where you’re located, nearshoring may be a pricier option – salaries in North America and Western Europe tend to be higher than in Eastern European countries, for example, even though the services are similar. 

In this time and age, technology has made all our lives easier- we’re pretty fortunate that we can video call prospective suppliers and research their credentials online. Furthermore, we can reach out to outsource talent in countries where labor is much cheaper. Small business phone plans make communication even easier nowadays- you might even find them being primarily online in pandemic times.

However, there is a certain advantage to being able to meet people in real life, to feel someone’s aura and character out in person. You want to get a good sense of whether you like the people who will be working on your product as you will likely have to go back and forth over the nitty-gritty and work very closely with them. 

It is important to be on the same page after deciding and sticking to regular contact at agreed-upon intervals. Whichever you decide is right for you, regular contact at agreed-upon intervals will keep this professional interaction ticking along nicely. And in pandemic times, you might find your interactions primarily online anyway. 

In short, Going for a more affordable software engineer further away might allow you to do more with your budget than you had anticipated by hiring foreign talents. With technology nowadays, geographical locations no longer matter as much as in the past. 

 

3. Do you want someone with experience? 

Spoiler: you do. In fact, alongside saving money, that’s a key reason why you should hire an outsourcer. Look around for a team with experience in your domain so that they can guide you through the entire software development process. Companies with .ai domain names show innovation and an appreciation for artificial intelligence, so they might be worth checking out. 

Experienced developers should not only be able to replicate what you asked for, but they should also be able to make suggestions and point out things you may have missed. They are, after all, the architects of the product and there would be no better other people to point out the details. Both front-end and back-end developers should be involved in making your product user-friendly and functional.

Along with having a depth of experience in your industry particular area, you’ll want a company with a breadth of experience, covering new trends and advancements in software development. A good company will be regularly updating and training its teams in the newest developments, like robotic process automation training. Look for hardcore tech types who are into hackathons for the most in-the-know people in software development. 

At AngelHack, we have various hackathons throughout the year for everyone to join.- subscribe to our newsletters so that you can be informed of the latest hackathons. Even better, join our community as an Ambassador and stand a chance to even hold your very own hackathon and make waves in your local community!

 

4. Find someone who will remain attentive to your needs – even after you seal the deal

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You should check whether the company: 

1) offers continuous integration and delivery pipelines

2) whether they test out the software every time changes are made to the code, and 

3) how they handle logging issues and backlog management. 

In other words, you should check what they offer to do for you after the engagement has ended. Software is usually dynamic and requires occasional fixes and changes in the ever-changing environment. Will your software engineer be there, for better or for worse, after they deliver their services? 

 

5. Define the relationship

It’s important to clarify the dynamics of the relationship- how to sync each process of the development and how detailed should one go into it. Some questions to consider can be: 

  • How does the company go about the work? 
  • How are tasks allocated within the team?
  • How many people will test each individual part?
  •  How regularly will you be updated about the progress?
  • What kind of workflow management software do they use? 

This largely comes down to project management, about each other’s expectations of what is required and done. 

It might seem that this request is above and beyond the line of duty; that it’s not your business how your developer manages the project and how the team is managed. It does however impact your product and company directly- the journey to your product matters as well. 

You care about the rigorousness of the testing process, and you want to know how all the parts fit together. Do they employ agile testing methodology during test trials? Or do they simply go with the green light as and when?

Also, It’s important to understand your developer’s schedule so that you can organize your own affairs accordingly. In other words: decide when you want to have the product launched. 

As for payment, it is a must to discuss the terms of when and how their services will be paid for. For example, will you pay an agreed-upon sum every time a milestone in the process is reached? Or would you rather pay by the hour (time and material model)? These are things you can check and negotiate before you commit to one developer. 

 

6. Communication is key

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Even after you’ve talked to your chosen developer and given them a thorough list of requirements, you’ll still need to regularly communicate to make sure you’re on the same page. You’ll want to check the product’s progression often for it to be developed in the direction you envisioned. Words and phrases can be interpreted in a number of ways, after all.

This is why regular, clear, and preferably “face-to-face” conversations (even online) are very useful. Make sure the company is open to communicating regularly with you so that you can tighten up your goals. 

With pandemic times upon us, it’s even more important than before that companies use video conferencing tools as it is highly crucial. Also, be sure to always remember to check whether they have a contact center in the cloud – essential for these particularly strange times. 

If you decide to offshore your work (or nearshore but with a company in a different time zone), you’ll want to make sure that your meetings align for all parties. Always include a time zone for your meetings. You may want to choose a company with 24-hour availability, or at least with some overlap (their late afternoon meeting might be your first meeting of the day). Even if they don’t offer communication as a service, easy communication should be part of the package. 

You’ll also want to make sure you can both communicate in the same language – and not just English, for example, but also with the ability to use technology and business vernacular. This should apply to anyone you will be interacting with on a regular basis. 

 

7. You should always feel safe with them

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Whoever you go with should be totally knowledgeable about the applicable compliance and security regulations relevant to your region, such as GDPR in Europe. They should be able to show you how they plan to store your data and protect passwords- basically how they deal with privacy matters.
You’ll want your NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) to be thorough and clear on these issues before it’s signed. You should also add things about VPN setups, secure Wi-Fi connections, and data security should be included – especially if the team works from home

Finding the right software developer isn’t rocket science… 

but it does take some forethought. You need to cover your bases regarding security, communication, project management style, and the sort of experience and service you require. 

We’re pretty spoiled for choice when it comes to software development as there are just so many fishes in the sea to choose from. You can find tech brains for your projects who will have knowledge of all of the latest technology, and who live and breathe software development easily.

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