So, you’ve decided to look into outsourcing software development services.
Smart move. We know your IT team’s brilliant, but they’ve also got a lot on their plate. Maintaining your business systems is one thing – but developing new capabilities that your teams need to get an edge on competition? Well, that’s another full time job.
Sure, you could go out and hire more developers, but what happens when the job’s over? You’ll be left with a big payroll and extra bandwidth that you don’t necessarily need.
Instead, you can outsource the project and get exactly the help you need to develop your new project. No hiring process, no hassle. Studies actually show that more companies are choosing to outsource – and they’re having more success with it, too. Deloitte’s 2016 Global Outsourcing Survey showed that 78% of respondents were happy with their outsourcing relationship.
What could possibly go wrong?
You Need an Agnostic Approach to Outsourcing Development
Of course, you’ve heard enough outsourcing horror stories to know that everything doesn’t always go exactly as planned. Let’s talk about two approaches that solve a majority of these problems – the first being an agnostic approach.
There are hundreds of development languages, frameworks, methods, etc. For any given project, there are hundreds of ways it could be developed. This is a huge advantage for developers – rather than being stuck with a hammer to fix every problem, there’s a toolbox filled with powerful tools.
It’s tempting, however, for developers to use the same trusty hammer you’ve always used to solve every problem. This leads to teams who swear by one language, framework, or method and fail to see the bigger picture or wider range of options. Of course, everyone has their favorites – we do too, but it’s important to always think outside of the box. Great outsourced teams are creative in their approach to developing custom software.
Agnostic means an open minded approach to development that doesn’t assume or jump to conclusions. There are so many tools out there, and you’ll want a team that’s knowledgeable and takes them all into consideration.
You Need an Agile Approach to Outsourcing Development
Second, you’ll want an outsourced team that uses an agile approach. Of course, these are huge buzzwords in software development today. You won’t find anyone who doesn’t claim to follow the agile methodology. But how do you assure that they’ll actually follow through with that promise?
For one, you can get a little more involved in the process. They’re not building a house, so you can’t just send them off with a blueprint and expect the development to be agile. If you’re there to guide the process, the product will be able to adapt as you wish when new situations arise. To make this happen, you’ll need great communication from the developing team and transparency into the project. You should have open access to the source code at all times, and frequent updates into what’s happening (you can use a leading platform such as GitHub for this). Effective communication allows you to always know what’s happening, without taking too much of your time away from your existing responsibilities.
Another best practice is to give the outsourced team the freedom to innovate as they go. Like Steve Jobs said,
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
The outsourced development team brings a fresh perspective to your project. That perspective is a valuable asset you can use to make your process more agile and your solution more innovative.
By looking at these two factors above, you’ll usually be able to tell within the first hour of talking with a development team if they’ve got what it takes to really deliver on your project.
You’ll definitely know after asking them these key questions:
- What would your approach be to creating this solution?
- Which technical stacks do you use?
- Have you built anything similar in the past?
- What’s your process for communication?
- What transparency will I have into the project? Where will the source code be kept?
- What will you do when we run into problems?
Do yourself a favor and have all of these conversations up front. It will save you time and hassle in the long run.
Have more questions about outsourcing software development services?
We’d love to chat with you about your project and requirements.