How to Properly Outsource Software Development

How to Properly Outsource Software Development

How To Outsource Software The Right Way

Outsourcing Software Development can be a tricky subject. There are stories of glory and tales of horror. Due to horror stories making more of a memorable impact, many view outsourcing as a destructive and unmanageable option, specifically when it comes to off-shoring.

Those who try outsourcing usually do so in a rushed manner. Additionally, most need the understanding and knowledge to fact-check their providers properly. This has led to misunderstandings and a blanket bias against any work not done in the U.S. Just like in the States, there is a range of talent outside our country. Although, one must put time, effort, and research into finding good teams or individuals to use.

Throughout our experience and our peers’ shared stories, we have learned about the benefits and challenges of outsourcing. In particular, countries like India, the Philippines, Brazil, and many more. We hope to share that experience to help others understand what to expect and how to tackle this situation properly.

It’s a big world; it would be unrealistic to assume all the IT talent is located within the continental U.S. Many global organizations can deliver projects exactly how you want, and many can’t. The latter can harm your project or business, whereas the former can lead to many benefits.

Pros of Off-Shore Resources

There’s talent everywhere.

There are plenty of experienced software engineers and architects spanning the global landscape. They have degrees relevant to computer science while studying in some of the most advanced technological institutions globally. As well as having access to similar hardware and software tools and technology. However, some key things to consider when working with global talent will help determine if they are a good fit.

One is their ability to meet face-to-face over Skype, if not in person. You don’t want to work with a team or team member you never meet.

Do they have a development process in place? Sharing similar processes minimizes efficiency risks during development.

Do they have a person performing quality checks before submitting work to you? Some off-shore organizations can provide a quality assurance check before any work reaches your code base. It’s a significant advantage as the work is checked twice before approval.

Lastly, do they provide a service guarantee against bugs and faulty code? This is one of the most critical aspects of the relationship. The off-shore team is held accountable for their work. Therefore having guarantees and warranties provides a piece of mind that errors will be fixed after delivery.

More bang for your buck

With the right offshore relationship, getting low-cost resources with the experience and talent that rivals high-cost on-shore resources is possible. Over the years, price and quality have normalized due to the high demand off-shore companies receive from the U.S. However, it is still slightly less expensive for similar quality work that can be done in the U.S.

Finding an organization that provides these types of low-cost, high-quality benefits overseas can take some time to accumulate. At Grata, we worked with several teams before finding the right partnership to fulfill this requirement.

Outsourcing helps companies stay flexible.

The most significant benefit to off-shoring is the ability to expand and contract resources based on need. Once you’ve established a solid relationship with an off-shore organization and streamlined processes between teams, adding personnel and removing personnel to fulfill project needs, meet strict deadlines, and expand the team’s knowledge becomes effortless.

For example, your core IT team is overwhelmed with internal projects, and the executive team requests to produce software that can automate a business process. The proposal is to have the product live within three months. However, the internal IT team has a six-month backlog.

The logical options are to either tell the executive team no, which we know how that usually turns out, or temporarily expand your resources to build this internal product to your specifications and contract the unit when the project is complete. This helps keep your internal team on the company’s core projects while still fulfilling the request from the executive team.

Despite having several benefits of off-shoring, there are some setbacks to remember.

Cons of Outsourcing

It may seem less expensive, but it can cost more.

One of the most detrimental issues working with off-shore teams is miscommunication.

The experiences of our peers and our own on this subject is an ongoing problem that continues to work towards a resolution. Besides language, cultural understanding, industry terminology, etc., can lead to an off-shore team misunderstanding requirements. Some misunderstandings take several attempts to resolve, increasing the cost beyond that of a local or internal resource.

Additionally, code quality can be sub-par lacking industry standards forcing rewrites to meet standard coding practices. This is why at Grata, we recommend teams available to Skype and have internal processes and procedures in place to mitigate these risks.

Cost of On-Boarding

The team will require some time to understand your technology and technologies to make a clear assessment and understanding of how your organization operates.

This “time” is not free-of-charge and is billed similarly to any consulting hours accumulated for the client. These hours can be large or small depending on technology stacks, documentation, and all the information the team would need to perform tasks. We recommend time-boxing the work to “Cap” the offshore team’s hours every week.

There are many benefits to utilizing an off-shore team for your technology needs, but it is a daunting task. Having a quality project delivered to you at a decreased expense is something everyone can get behind. When you put the right effort into discovery, this is sometimes a realistic goal. We strongly recommend that you leverage off-shore companies for your organization’s success. However, please always ensure you have your behind covered by a team like Grata.

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