Today, many organizations find themselves in ultra-competitive situations and are always on the lookout for a competitive edge. Outsourcing software development can be an effective way to get a leg up on the competition.
Up to 64% of companies use outsourcing to meet business needs and gain a competitive advantage. The reasons to outsource software development are many, but those that have never attempted it before can find it tough to know where to start. If you’ve identified a business need that a new software project can fulfill, read on for the best way to outsource software developers.
Before you decide to outsource
Consider these three questions before you decide to outsource software developers, starting with identifying a compelling business need.
- Do you have a software-related business need? The first step is to identify a business need and determine whether a new application can meet it efficiently and cost-effectively. If so, can your internal IT staff create that application, or should you outsource it?
- What is your budget? Before you contract with an outsourced software team, determine whether your company has the funds needed to cover the project’s cost. Do you have a budget, or can you get a budget for a new application?
- What skills does your team have, and what gaps do you need to fill? You may already have the resources to meet the need you’ve identified, or you may not. Your staff might have too much to handle or lack the skill set or expertise required for a new project. It’s not uncommon for IT staff to lack dedicated developers and designers for a new project outside their comfort zone.
How to outsource
Once you’ve answered the questions above and determined that the circumstances are right, you may be ready to outsource software developers. The following are the high-level steps to an outsourcing project.
Define the project’s scope
The process begins with defining the project in detail. Deciding how deep and how far the project will go is a critical step from the standpoint of both project success and cost control. New requirements can cause “feature creep” and result in an unnecessarily complex application that takes too long to finish or exceeds the budget.
Research potential development partners
You can access many resources, such as websites and directories, to conduct an exhaustive search of potential partners. So it’s essential to focus your search and zero in on those most likely to fit. Reviews and ratings can help expedite the process. It’s also useful to talk to peers, consult your network to see who they’ve worked with, and ask if they can make recommendations.
Rely on your project scope when developing the criteria for your search, then limit the search results to firms that meet all the requirements. While technical expertise is important in a development partner, programming capabilities are not the only requirement. Cultural fit, work styles, reliability and domain expertise, are important and should all be key selection criteria.
Choose a partner
Choosing the right partner may be the most critical step as developers vary in expertise, specialization, culture and location. These are important factors when determining the best fit. Once you’ve narrowed your search to a few companies, start a process that includes a discovery call or interview and solicit a project quote from each company. Discussions should include the developers who will be working on your project and not just sales personnel. Once this process is complete, make a choice, then negotiate terms and complete the appropriate paperwork.
Develop the project
It’s critical to set clear expectations and goals for the project, and a detailed project management plan must be established right from the start. Buy-in is required from both your company and the development partner. Give special attention to sticking to the project’s scope and meeting all deadlines.
Complete and deploy the project
After development is complete, your development partner should assist in deployment and be available during launch. They should have also allocated time post-launch to fix any issues with the application.
Final thoughts on Outsourcing
Deciding whether to outsource software developers can be daunting for companies that have not previously done so despite the well-documented benefits of outsourcing. But choosing the right development partner and taking a systematic, detail-oriented approach boost the odds of a successful outsourcing project.
If your start-up or SME is thinking about finding a partner for a custom software project, Distillery Tech may be one you can add to your list. We offer full-cycle, end-to-end custom software development that is designed to meet your specific needs. Contact us today.