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Guide to Outsourcing Your Software Development

The road to software outsourcing and development is one that is filled with myriad challenges and complexities. A huge percentage of outsourced software projects are go uncompleted after the companies have pumped in thousands of dollars into the software development process. It is money gone down the drain as long as no software is delivered at the end of the day.

Outsourcing is no magic wand. Software projects do not just turn out well because you have outsourced them. According to statistics, outsourcing software development tasks often results in failure and disappointment 50% of the time. But it is still a popular channel for building software if you lack the in-house expertise or the resources to put up a high-powered software development team.

Since companies’ software outsourcing budgets are increasing by the year, the benefits of outsourcing software development no doubt outweigh the negatives. The challenge therefore is to ensure that software outsourcing works for you. That you are part of the 50% that get it right.

Here is a simple guide on how to navigate these complexities. It must start with choosing the right company to handle your software development needs. But as you will see, your close partnership and direction is also required that your software development projects are concluded successfully.

Start by scoping out the software development project

What is the scope of your project? Why are you implementing the software development project in the first place? What economic or efficiency benefits will you derive by developing the software. You must put the business case for the software development in order to ensure that it will generate value for your business.

Look at the potential cost savings that you will realize from the software development and how it will help in streamlining processes. The second aspect of the scoping apart from the business case is to define the scope of the actual software development cycle.

What do you want to build? Describe the technical specifications and the features that you want to unlock with the software tool.  Without defining a proper scope early on, you bare likely to grapple with disputes with your developers along with the cost overruns.

Some of the technical things that you should define in the scope of the software project include the business purpose of the software, the functionalities and features that you will need, the performance requirements of the software and the technology, platforms and integration requirements of the software tool.

Manage the process of achieving software outsourcing deliverables

Process management is concerned with how you are going to control the outsourced software development project. It is important to define the team structure, have the tools to manage and monitor software development progress, ensure quality assurance during the software development process and have a mechanism for interactive communications during the product development cycles.

Manage the actors in the software outsourcing project

Several people should participate in the software development process ranging from your staff members to the customers and the outsourcing firm. How are you are going to manage all the actors to ensure their input and contributions and are factored into the software development process?

With this approach, you will be able to complete your outsourced software development projects with incredible success rates.

How to Build Better Software Outsourcing Relationships

If you are going to outsource your software development projects, then maintaining professional and functional relationships with the IT outsourcing companies is going to be crucial. Bad blood or poor relationships and communications will have a detrimental effect on the quality or desirability of the final product that is developed.

With the healthier relationships, you will not only be getting a successfully developed software product that has been built to your expectation and specifications but you will also be saving on your costs of outsourcing software development. Here are some simple tips to make those relationships work and keep them healthy over the long term:

Have a well-defined scope and scale

Scoping is one of the most important aspects of any software development outsourcing project. Every time you are planning to subcontract a service that you can accomplish in-house, it is always important to be very clear about the scope of the project.  The scope is simply a detailed description of the type of work that is to be performed.

Software providers prefer a narrow and very well-defined scope and not an open-ended scope that you can change on your whims.

Transparency and balance

When negotiating software development outsourcing projects with your provider, it is very important to maintain transparency and balance and not act from a purely selfish perspective.  Avoid financial and other forms of surprises along the way by focusing so much on cost reductions while getting the most out of the outsourcing firm. It is very important to act in good faith throughout the process in order to achieve the best results in the software outsourcing projects.

As they say, no one likes surprises in business. You can help in setting up the right tone by having a very clear governance model and documenting all the processes that are to be undertaken. There must also be a demonstrated commitment to work in partnership with software developer in order to achieve the desired business objectives.

Be a likeable client

This does not mean bending over to make life easier for the outsourcing firm. Just be professional and nice. Be appreciative of the work done where good work has been done. If something has not been done right, be very clear about in very specific terms and express your displeasure but don’t use expletives or be outright rude. As they say, do not be that client you’d hate to have.

Always communicate very openly from the start of the project to the finish

Communication is very important in the success of the project. If you are going to have a healthy and successful relationship with the software development outsourcing firm, you must develop good communication. You can set an early tone by having a very comprehensive communication with your contractor on phone, Skype or through face to face meetings where you clearly outline your specifications and expectations.

It is also important to clearly communicate the needs of the project, the schedules and your budget for the project. After this, keep the communications line open for the duration of the project and even after the project.