Outsourcing software development to markets with abundant software talent and cost benefits has become a lucrative option for technology companies.
In 2019, 74% of global outsourcing revenue went to Information Technology amounting to $92.5 billion and growing each year.
The modern means for collaboration online and the availability of profitable outsourcing models both enable businesses to get applications made from a team sitting in India, Philippines, China, etc.
But there is a flip-side to the glittering benefits of outsourcing as well - It’s full of uncertainties.
Even with strong quality control in place, software projects can go for a toss if not handled properly. New businesses and startups who choose to outsource over in-house development often get caught in the inefficiencies of software outsourcing.
In short, chances of success can be hazy if you don’t manage it proactively.
At Dikonia, we have fought these challenges for more than half a decade and managed to keep things together. Therefore, we have some useful advice for clients who want to ensure project success when getting software made from overseas. Here are 5 hacks to successfully outsource software development.
In Software Engineering terminology, SRS stands for Software Requirement Specification, which is a document laying down the key aspects of the software design.
It enlists various functional requirements that deal with core working of the software and non-functional aspects such usability, reliability etc.
It’s imperative to create a detailed SRS that clearly lays down your expectations in agreement with the Outsourcing Provider. It’ll help you carve out a feasible timeline for the project and practically understand the limitations of your idea.
This will also help you deal with scope creep later and keep the process aligned. Saying by experience, scope creep is almost inevitable in outsourcing projects, even when the requirements are immaculately defined.
The software outsourcing market is huge and there are thousands of qualifying companies, which calls for a rigorous selection process.
Not investigating enough about the company’s core competencies and resource structure can be fatal for your project. It’s recommendable to program a multi-step interview and finalization procedure before you select the company you wish to go with.
Here are a few steps that we recommend you should do.
Check their portfolio for a similar project like yours
Interview the Technical Team Lead
Interview the Project Manager
Discuss the number of resources to be dedicated to your project
Check independent reviews or talk to their past clients
All these steps would ensure that you’re working with the right outsourcing provider for your software project. At the same time, it's important to mention that the price should not be the deciding factor.
Additionally, If your project is large and complex, don’t trust someone whom you haven’t worked with earlier right off the bat. Start by delegating smaller segments of your project to your chosen company and verify their credibility before handing over the mission-critical applications to them.
Geographical separation and disparate legal structures often cause uncertainty on the client’s side. What if the company stops responding out of the blue? What if the overcharge for a substandard product? And things like that.
To keep your end of the bargain safe, it’s advisable to create a formal contract that clearly defines working terms. It can enlist the payment structure, the deadlines, plans for dealing with unforeseeable circumstances and SLAs for protecting your interest.
Another aspect that often comes up while software outsourcing is Ownership of Work. Software products, especially web and mobile apps, have infrastructural aspects as well as logical aspects. If you are making a product to be released under your name, you need to mention that in the contract, as to who owns and manages what.
Software products have certain development models associated with them. A common example is the Spiral Model, wherein various modules of the software are developed in iterations. Every iteration is actively shared with the client for improvements and feedback.
In a similar way, the payments can be broken up into milestones for every module that gets properly approved by you. This will protect the project’s integrity and keep you in charge of the development.
Every software project has its own technicalities that are best understood by the team that has developed it. Therefore, you will need the developers for a long time after the project is complete for maintenance purposes.
It’s a smart thing to discuss the service support before you make the final payment. Hiring someone else for service upgrades or completely shifting the project in-house will be a cumbersome and costly process.
Also that, it is hard to forecast what kind of new features or mutations you will need to do in the future about the project. As business dynamics change, the software has to adapt accordingly.
For instance, one of our clients from UK who required an ERP web app is still associated with us for nearly 4 years after the project completion. We have worked on a number of upgrades and service changes quickly incorporate their changing requirements.
These were the 5 things that can help you avoid a crumbling software development experience. By no means, this is the sure shot recipe for success because there are tons of other specific variables also involved.
Chhavi is the Founder and Partner at Dikonia. She is passionate about delivering beyond expectations and crafting rewarding experiences. Her company provides innovative IT solutions including custom SaaS offerings that streamline workflow as well as development and design services in keeping with latest buying and market trends. Chhavi holds a Master of Computer Applications from Punjabi University.