This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)
In order to optimize their working processes, many companies use outsourcing services. If you need to manage a short-term project, obviously, it is better to hire a qualified specialist from a third-party resource rather than waste precious time and extra money finding a suitable employee.
Choosing the correct software development partner is an extremely difficult task and requires extensive research as well as careful decision making. We have asked business experts why they decided to outsource their software development. Their answers might be useful for companies seeking extra hands.
1.What was your main criterion for deciding to outsource software development to another company?
Louis Jonckheere, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at Showpad: Contrary to popular opinion, Showpad was not looking to outsource development to control and reduce operational and labor costs. Instead, we were looking for a partner that would be able to support us from a technical point of view while growing the business rapidly. Without a development partner, we would not have been able to work on certain crucial elements on our roadmap.
Jan Cools, CEO and founder at Be–Mobile: Outsourcing software development is the fastest way to find highly qualified developers with proper skills under one roof. We were able to refocus our attention on important business tasks. As we are bound by a specific time frame, it was crucial for us to find the best partner in terms of work quality.
Alexander, British-American owned group of companies: It was important for us to ensure we had a market-leading service and by outsourcing we could achieve this as well as ensure our own staff were not swamped by an effort that was best conducted as a stand-alone project.
2.What were the main challenges that you faced?
Enprove: We had a big contract. The customer expected certain features in our software by a certain time. So we had to find extra developers quickly.
Showpad: Because Showpad was (and still is) growing fast, we needed to get access to resources not available internally. As a fast-growing company, it would have taken too long to find the right talent in a short period of time in order to execute on business-critical tasks. This is why we decided to partner with a company like CactusSoft and to make sure we fully integrated their team and treated them like our own employees. We’re making no distinction between internal or external developers.
Be-Mobile: The time that we spent trying to find the most suitable partner in accordance with our business needs.
British-American owned group of companies: Explaining to the outsourced company what our ethos is and what we do operationally given the complexity of the product we wished to build. Internally the alignment of the project plan was the biggest challenge, which is due to having several stakeholders.
3.Professional tips/advice for those who consider using the services of outsourcing companies.
Enprove: The developers had daily contact. This way, the external developer is closely involved with the company. From time to time we invited the external developer to spend some days in our offices and to participate in some team activities. This also contributes to a better collaboration.
Showpad: Treat a development agency as a partner, not as a remote resource you’re outsourcing work to. Since development partners can support you in the growth of your company, make sure to invest in these extra team members to become familiar with your company culture, internal tools and processes. We had members of the CactusSoft teamwork from Showpad’s HQ in Ghent, Belgium for a month to be properly trained and get familiar with the product and team members they would be working with. Afterwards, we had some internal engineers travel to Minsk to further facilitate the partnership and make sure our standards were being met.
Be-Mobile: Firstly, you need to define your core goals, what results you expect to get from such a partnership. Also, business collaboration should be built on mutual trust and respect. Last but not least, we would recommend you research the company’s professional experience and collect feedback from previous clients.
British-American owned group of companies: Seek references from previous customers whose products or complexities are similar. Ensure you have a clear and clearly communicated project plan. The more time you spend at the start of a project, face to face with the company’s staff, the smoother the path to success will be.
On the other hand, we would like to provide you with some advice from the service provider’s point of view.
- Pay attention to whether the company has implemented similar projects to yours, look at what technologies the service provider owns, familiarize yourself with the projects already implemented, and evaluate the company’s achievements in terms of quality and quantity.
- Ask for the references and talk to customers of your potential software partner.
- Consider preparing a technical task for the company to which you want to outsource your software development. Be sure to include the entire scope of work with a description of the specific result that you need, and the timing.
- A high level of responsiveness when answering questions is highly valued in the IT business world. The IT professional must quickly provide the requested information and notify the client that their question has been accepted for consideration and they will receive the required information on time.
- The company’s host country should also be considered. A country’s economic and political situation can become an obstacle to smooth cooperation.
- Take into consideration the availability of English-speaking programmers for easier process integration.
- Make sure that your partner is in the appropriate time zone and that their business hours match yours.
We hope these tips will help you in finding the most suitable outsourcing partner for your business.