How To Outsource Software Development Projects: A Step-By-Step Guide
Okay, so here is (finally) a step-by-step process that will help you outsource software development projects the right way:
Step 1: Define Your Goals
You can hardly start a project and think it will be successful if you don’t know what your goal(s) for it are from the get-go. It is very important to be clear with this and to communicate these goals first internally, within your own company, then externally, with the outsource software development provider you choose to hire.
Step 2: Research The Best Countries For Outsourcing
The next step you should take is to research on specific countries that have a good outsourcing culture. Some good choices include Ukraine, Hungary, India, South Korea and China. Pay particular note to how much do software developers charge in those countries per hour and the time difference between where your company is and where the agency or developer is located to ensure smooth communication.
Step 3: Research The Best Software Development Outsourcing Companies In That Region
This can often be done with a simple Google search for “best outsource software development companies” for the region or country you are searching in.
From here, make a list of around five to six agencies that you think meet your requirements on a quick glance. Then, do even more thorough research of each of the ones you select and see their portfolios, past projects, customer reviews and referrals.
It’s also a good idea to contact any of their past clients and inquire about their relationship with the outsource software development company you are vetting. Ask them about their experience with that company, were they satisfied with the work provided and if they would work with them in the future. If they say “yes” to all, you can proceed to the next step with ease on your mind.
Step 4: Contact Offshore Software Development Agencies About Your Project
In the next step, you need to reach out to these companies you previously reviewed for past work and clients.
Now, however, comes perhaps the hardest part when it comes to the process of hiring the right agency.
You need more than word of mouth information to know if the agency is the right fit for your project. The only way to do that is, just like in everything else, to go to the source itself.
Get on the phone or email and start contacting the development agencies you’ve selected in the previous step. At this stage, it is vital to communicate your goals and requirements for the project clearly in order to ensure that you are on the same wavelength with the outsource software development agency.
Ask them about their work process, the technology they are using IT solutions they are employing, management experience and, most importantly, if they had any projects similar to yours and how did it go.
Here are some questions you may want to ask them:
- What technologies is your team specialized in?
- Did you have the chance to work on a project that was similar to what we have?
- How many (insert technology here) developers you have in your team? How many of them are senior vs junior devs?
- What files will I have access to during the course of the project? Will I have access to the source code via GitHub, project management via Trello, time reports, IM (instant messenger), like Slack?
- What is your price for this project and what exactly am I getting? Does it include support, consultation, development, design, licenses, quality standards and/or something else besides?
- How long do you estimate the project to last? Some projects will last longer than others, naturally and you should obviously give enough time to the software developers to do their magic, but sometimes they just want to take their sweet time and you don’t have that in abundance.
- What happens if I am not satisfied with your service or the product you deliver? The sad reality is that some 50% of outsourcing projects don’t meet financial requirements. This can be for any number of reasons, but the most common are that there are no metrics to measure success, the project management team may be poor or not exist at all or that there is no process to specify the work that needs to be done.
Of course, there are other questions you may want to ask, but they depend on the specific project and requirements. For most, these few will be a good starting point to at least get a good picture of who you will potentially be working with.
Step 5: Select The Best Software Developer
The previous step can take a while, but there is no point in rushing it. Still, a little common sense is well worth it here. If an agency is not responding to your queries for a week or longer, that’s a good indication that they won’t be a reliable partner after all.
You need someone who will respond promptly, especially if you need to consider the time difference between you.
Also, if the answer to your every question is “yes” or “we can do that,” than a red light should definitely turn on in your head. No one knows absolutely everything. After all, that’s part of the reason why you are looking for offshore software development services in the first place, isn’t it?
But, once you are sure of your choice, based on research and interviews you’ve made, you should put your agreement to paper (or an electronic one). A couple of important documents you may wish the outsource software development provider to sign are:
- SLA (Service Level Agreement) – This document indicates the project requirements, meeting times and reports.
- SRS (Software Requirements and Specifications) – In this document, you should list all requirements and specifications for your software project.
- KPI (Key Performance Indicators) – These serve as a kind of evaluation points for different phases of the project.
- NDA (Non-disclosure Agreement) – In a world where stealing data has, unfortunately, become a norm, you need some legal way to protect your data and your project, so be sure to have the company you are hiring sign this.
And that’s it. Now you just need good communication during the project and to monitor its progress from time to time to see where it is at the moment and to ensure that it is on the right track.
Top Tools To Use When Partnering With An Offshore Software Development Agency
There are a couple of tools that you may find useful in an outsourcing project.
At the very minimum, you should both have a G Suite (Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive and Google Calendar) and Skype through which you can communicate. However, as email can become cluttered and Skype is not the best if you need to have conference calls with more people, some other tools will come into play.
UberConference, GoToMeeting and Join. Me are a few good choices for making conference calls and when you need to talk to your offshore developers. Another good option for communication and team collaboration is Slack.
You should also make sure that you have a tool that will allow you to keep everything and everyone on schedule. A Google Calendar is a good start, but it may not be enough.
Often, a more robust and comprehensive project management platform will be required, such as, for instance, Basecamp or Trello. Both of these have very useful features that will allow you to keep your project on schedule.
And, of course, for software projects, you can never forget GitHub. GitHub is a crucial tool for developers, but they are not the only ones who can take advantage of. You can use GitHub for almost any kind of version control you need.
But, it is best suited for devs, so you should check if they are using it.
Takeaways On How To Outsource Software Development Projects
To outsource or not to outsource software development? That’s the question only you can answer after a careful online examination of your company’s needs, manpower, budget and a few other things. Maybe you have all of that and don’t need to outsource projects?
But, if even one is lacking, then hiring an offshore company becomes a worthy investment.
Still, as we said already, that choice is not that easy to make and you have to consider a lot of factors before you do. This step-by-step guide should give you enough information to be able to find the right companies that will meet your needs.
Are you looking for offshore software developers to help you with a project? Then take a look at these top offshore software development countries and pick the best agency for you.