Need a software developer? You can outsource them globally, but locating the right outsourcing partner isn’t nearly as simple — though there are a few strategies out there which will make your task a bit easier.
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Say, for instance, you want to outsource your software development. Maybe you’re convinced by success stories like this of Skype, which built its beta version by using three Estonian developers. Or a tale like this of Slack, which originally outsourced the development of its app, website and even logo. Or possibly you merely don’t have the money — or the necessity or enough time — to employ an in-house development team.
Whatever your need, to reach your goals at the next outsourcing endeavor, listed below are the top five points to consider before hiring a software outsourcing partner:
Prior to starting to find an outsourcing partner, make it easy on yourself by carefully defining the geography where you wish to search. Today there are thousands of software outsourcing partners available around the world; Latin America, Ukraine, India, and China are simply a few areas filled with vendors that are ripe for the taking.
Because communication is key for successful outsourcing relationships, regions with similar time zones tend to be a good starting place; however, other factors such as for example nearshore versus offshore, cultural compatibility, political stability, low inflation rates and geographical proximity, are also critical.
Even software-outsourcing firms themselves have begun to observe these elements," Ludovic Gaudé, CEO of intive, explained within an interview.
Referencing his company’s recent acquisition of a Latin American software development firm, Gaudé highlighted the need for geography. “Aside from a talented pool of engineers, a business culture like the U.S. and Europe, and being in an identical time zone to your clients, the [acquisition] does mean our U.S. customers reap the benefits of bilingual developers,” he said.
As the word goes, you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. The same applies to software development,a lot more so if you are outsourcing it. Although price and quality will have a spectrum, potential software-outsourcing partners generally fall within 1 of 2 categories: price-first vendors or quality-first vendors. So, you need to choose that you prefer.
Price-first vendors will most likely give a fixed-bid quote for assembling your project, and tend to be transactionally focused than centered on a long-term relationship. Their expertise is based on finding resources and quickly deploying them for clients with little supervision.
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According to a Medium post by Mike Svystun, VP of business development at Vertalab, a price-first strategy “can work well for developing minimum viable products or isolated products limited in scope." Having said that, Svystun added, “We think it’s rarely a great choice for well-established startups.”
Quality-first vendors, however, are more costly — and also a lot more selective about the types of projects they take. Still, they’re an improved choice for all complex or mission-critical projects. That’s because they’ll frequently work under a time-and-materials model, search for a long run relationship and reject fixed-price bids, on principle.
Similarly, quality-first vendors will spend significant effort and resources training their teams, and frequently use the partner’s senior personnel to make sure proper delivery and execution.
Software-outsourcing vendors will each have their particular strengths and quirks. Nevertheless, there are specific core questions you can ask during a short phone conversation to ensure a potential partner is a great cultural, philosophical and methodological fit for your company and project. Those questions:
1. "What’s your method of software development?" Listen for words like: agile, SCRUM, MVP, short sprints, quick iteration, constant communication and any others you find most significant.
2. "Tell me about your previous experience with software outsourcing projects with other U.S./foreign clients similar to us." Make an effort to understand the sort of clients the vendor spent some time working with before and how his/her services were valuable and effective. Request at least several references, rather than risk being the vendor’s first foreign client.
3." What exactly are the most significant risks to a software-outsourcing relationship, and how will you manage/mitigate them?" Get a concept of the outsourcing vendor’s real experience, along with what she or he cares most about in a project.
4. What exactly are your strengths as a company versus those of your other competitors? Gauge what your software-outsourcing vendor most underscores in his/her own organization, furthermore to any particular strategies and strengths the business is buying.
When possible, ask a business development representative to be there for the call to greatly help walk you through the high-level perspective of a relationship. Don’t get too technical until you explore details that look for a potential partner’s overall fit, along with cultural and methodological compatibilities, which are paramount.
Based on the location you decide on for your search, visiting may or may possibly not be possible. However, if it’s, a personal visit could be a smart way to see behind the veil and accurately determine your prospective partner’s true features.
Business development routines are well-planned within any professional services organization, so throughout a remote exploratory process, you’ll likely see just what the prospective partner wants you to see. An in-person visit, however, is a lot more challenging to stage, and can communicate the true state of your prospective outsourcing vendor, as Mark Kobayashi-Hillary explained in a post for Computer Weekly .
“For those who have already received twelve requests for information from your own potential suppliers, each one summarising how they are able to meet your requirements, plus a visit from each sales force — all with an identical pitch — the website visit can highlight a supplier’s real strengths and weaknesses,” Kobayashi-Hillary wrote.
Furthermore, in the event that you make the trek to go to a potential partner, understand that the trip do not need to be too much time; a day or two will provide you with an excellent sense of the positioning, the overall motivation degree of the team, the commitment of the leadership team, the state of the physical infrastructure and the entire professionalism that the positioning reflects.
Because the MSA and SOWs are signed and you will be ready to get started with your selected software outsourcing partner, doesn’t mean your task has ended. Your vendor-partner faces the same pressures remotely that you face locally: Good talent is difficult to find and hire. Recognize that it could take the time for your partner to construct a team.
After the team is finally create, you may expect about two additional months of ramp-up, accompanied by supplementary investment for the brand new team to understand the ropes and adequately understand your business. Short sprints might help accelerate that training and present you a better notion of what it takes to place code into production. As the team is learning, take time to iron out the very best communication structures and mechanisms to improve red flags together with your partner.
Communication could be difficult when you’re dealing with remote teams, but Mike Galarza, CEO of the cloud-banking and finance platform Entryless, suggested if you ask me — during an interview we’d — using tools like Asana, Skype and Github to facilitate communication for software outsourcing projects. “It is very important to be super-proactive on the communication side, since we are a long way away rather than physically present,” Galarza said.
Shamim Mohammad, CIO at car or truck retailer CarMax, described yet another detail to consider. “When managing deadlines and projects," he wrote in CIO.com, consider potential resource and technology challenges that may emerge.”
He continued, “Make certain there is time allocated for undiscovered work, and create a contingency arrange for it. Plenty of projects assume a happy path, but usually do not arrange for unanticipated and undiscovered work, that may inevitably happen.”
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With the wide option of software developers around the world, it’s easy to be overly eager in rushing to select a partner for assembling your project. However, your choice process should be carefully executed and discover best fit for the duty at hand. With the proper decision and a small amount of luck, you too could be on the way to building another software unicorn by usi