Are You Outsourcing Your Software Development The Right Way?
Communication is key and can’t be undervalued in the outsourcing process. It can’t be too invasive — otherwise it will upset both parties. However, it should be consistent and varied in its approach. A general guideline might be a weekly email and a biweekly webcam conversation, with immediate feedback/questions dealt with through chat. You could tailor it to certain hours only and have designated office hours to let each other know when they are available. Having this clarified from the onset can go a long way in reducing possible consternation over miscommunication and misunderstanding during the process.
Check Background Alignment
Understanding the work history of an outsource firm is important not simply to gauge the quality of the previous work, but whether the projects the outsourcing firm has worked on are in line with the expectations of your own needs. If they are, then you can rest assured that the developers already are in the mind space to help you deal with the needs you present.
Determine Level of Management
Depending on the technical background of your own staff, you will either manage the project hands-on or leave most of the management to the outsourcing firm itself. This leaves you with a few different options in terms of how directly management is involved in the development efforts. Suffice to say, it’s important to establish what this level is from the get-go. One of the biggest causes of failure for software development projects, from the perspective of the developers and designers themselves, is micro-management from managers, especially if they themselves do not have the technical background to be able to manage from afar. Establish the level of management involvement, and be transparent what that does and does not involve.
In this day and age, timeframes and timetables are very tricky to nail down exactly, especially for software products that involve using the newer hardware of software technology. Thus, it’s important to establish a few ground principles regarding timeframe. The most important is not that both parties agree to a particular set of absolute deadlines, but rather that both parties are communicative regarding their anticipated timeframe. This allows for the much greater ability to anticipate, work around, and plan for various milestones in the development process.
Outsourcing software development can be a rewarding process for your company. You will not only have the opportunity to have designed for you custom solutions for your needs but you will also be able to leverage the breadth and scope of the outsourcer’s background in expanding the outlook of your firm. With key areas of alignment taken into account, you can be assured that your development efforts are successful and fulfilling.
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