Your company closed a new round of funding, and you need to show value fast. Maybe you won a new customer and with the account comes custom requirements. Is your business operationally ready to enter a new market and needs to launch its software product yesterday? These are all scenarios where offshore software development is an ideal solution. The ability to accelerate the product roadmap is a primary reason companies outsource.
Offshore software development in the late 90s was primarily a way to lower operating costs for basic code. You hired a firm and into a black box went your request. What you received back was some version of what the offshore developer thought you wanted. Sometimes that worked, and other times it was a disaster.
Today businesses use outsourcing as a strategic option to increase the pace of innovation. In fact, a recent study from Computer Economics reported that large organizations plan to increase the percentage of their IT budgets spent on outsourcing from 6.3% to 8.7% this year. Why? Flexibility and speed. There is a global shortage of skilled developers. For many organizations in the U.S., it isn’t possible to quickly find top-tier engineers and hire them in scale. (Never mind the cost of hiring these sought-after individuals.)
The challenge becomes how do you find and hire the right offshore software developers? While outsourced software development as an industry has evolved, there are still plenty of organizations optimized for affordable, basic code. When you need advanced engineering or project management services, you need a methodology to find the best-of-the-best in the developer world.
It starts with identifying your priorities. Here is a quick list of the top five things to consider when hiring outsourced developers.
1. Determine if the developers need to be in a specific physical location.
For many companies, developers don’t need to be physically onsite. They do need to be available when you need them. The ability to respond and engage during your company’s workday can make all the difference. There can be a lot of wasted time trying to communicate with someone working an opposite schedule to yours. A better model is to make sure the developers’ are able to attend daily meetings and there is an agreement about when everyone is available. A few questions to ask:
- Is the offshore team able to attend daily stand-up meetings with your engineers?
- What if you need to speak with the developers working with your team? Are they available at some point during your workday?
- Will you know your developer team by name and be able to communicate with them directly?
2. Identify the employment status of the developers that would be working with your company.
It can be misleading. You think you hired a well-known offshore development company, but the developers assigned to your project work for another company. It becomes a bit of a quagmire. Are you working with Company A, B, or someone else? You also have to wonder how they vetted the subcontracted engineers.
- Be sure to ask if all the developers assigned to your project are employees of the offshore organization or if they use subcontracted labor.
- If they subcontract, make sure you understand the process they use to find 3rd party employees and how the operational model changes in that scenario. Are you communicating with the developers working on your project or the company you hired?
3. Understand the developers’ experience and cultural affinity for your use case.
The developer might be technically brilliant, but if they’ve never used an Android application for real-time services, they might not be the right person to help you launch the latest version of your mobile AI service.
4. Plan out and substantiate your project or resource need before outsourcing.
When you are in a crunch, it can feel like the answer is adding resources. Engineering talent can help get you out of a jam or get your product to market faster, but only if they are focused. The best first step is to consider what you need to be successful.
- Are there near-term product deliverables to complete?
- Do you have a product roadmap with extensive deliverables?
- What does your product need to evolve and succeed in the market? What is under internal development, and what can be supported by new resources?
5. Examine your organizational infrastructure to determine if it is ready to support your next phase of growth.
One of our biggest tips is to act like the company you want to be versus the company that you were yesterday. It might sound obvious, but consider:
- Are you willing to do what it takes to grow?
- Do you apply best practices for Agile Scrum and distributed teams?
- Are you willing to invest in best practices for product and project management?
You don’t necessarily have to have already the best practices defined, but you should be willing to drive toward that state. It is important to make sure the offshore development company you are considering understands your current state and has the resources/expertise to help you evolve.
Once you have considered answers to these areas, the next step is vetting the organization’s level of engineering excellence. In many ways, this is an easier requirement to assess, but don’t jump ahead. Understanding what your company needs and the offshoring organization’s inherent ability to address those is often the answer to a project completed on time and budget.
Are you ready to accelerate your product timelines? Learn more about our unique approach to outsourced software development.