Outsourcing software development is a great option for your startup. But, that's only true when you partner with the right people.
We discussed why you should outsource your development in our previous blog post. Now let's get to the part where you find the right choice for your software development.
Software development outsourcing is especially crucial when you are a startup. It's a decision that can make or break your startup's success. However, that doesn't mean it's a bad idea. If you are willing to put the time and effort in choosing who you outsource your project to, then you are sure to reap the rewards.
Whether it's a short term or long term project, look for a partner who shares your passion and energy; and is ready to take initiative rather than a robot whom you give orders to.
Before we begin there is something you should do before finding someone to outsource your project.
Do Your Homework
You must be thinking "What kind of homework?"
To be in control of the outcome of your outsourcing efforts you should have a clear picture of what you want. You can't expect your development partner to understand what you want unless you set the milestones and goals to achieve. Don't expect great results from them if you are not willing to do the necessary preparation and research.
You should be able to answer questions like;
- What is the result you want to achieve from this project?
- What kind of solution are you looking for?
Be detailed in your description about the project. Don't expect your outsourcing partner to read your mind and tell you what's best for your company. You are doing this project to push your business forward. You need to have a clear vision in order to provide the initial guidance to your outsourcing partner.
Preparing a strategy for your outsourcing project may take some time but in the long run it would be worth the effort since there is a clear path for the development team to follow and not stray away from it.
Bigger is not always better
The right partner doesn't mean the biggest one with a workforce of 10,000. Ideally your startup needs a partner who is capable of prioritizing your project. A big firm may have double the resources but you wouldn't be able to get the attention and personal touch needed for a startup business to thrive.
Do Not Rush
Yes, it's hard to comb through all the options in front of you to pick just one. But think about it this way, would you prefer to take the time to hire someone who has the required skill set or choose someone at random and realizing midway through the project that it all went down the drain.
Startups should always try to scout for companies who have a proven track record and have an upwards trajectory of growth. They must understand your company in and out and align their services to complement it. So find out what their previous clients have to say about them, check out their case studies and take your time with the negotiations. Clarify all your concerns and prepare tough questions to shoot at them, analyze their response.
The time you spend at the beginning is well worth the effort since at the end you will get a partner you can completely rely on.
Ok you have a team working on your project but you are unable to connect with them or understand what's going on at a particular point of time in the project. Not a great situation to be in right?
Communication plays a big part in the success of your outsourcing venture. The team working for you should be able to understand your requirements and work accordingly. The team leader working on your project should ensure that a communication channel is always open for you to discuss about the progress and provide frequent updates as necessary.
Communication doesn't just mean understanding and availability. It also means that you should be in sync with the people you partner with to bring out the best results. You should be able to share ideas and be able to work as a team, as if you are part of a single company to ensure that you have a successful end-product.
The Team Size
Yes, this is important especially for a startup. Often overlooked, the team size is a crucial factor. Why do you need 10-20 people working on your project when the same can be done by 4-5. Some firms may dump unnecessary man power into your project to increase profits. Do some research to get an idea about how many people you need to work on your project and ask your outsourcing partner why they need this many people. Start with a small team and expand as you grow.
You want to make sure there are no fine prints in your contract. Getting legal advice before you sign a contract is a good way to avoid disputes and ownership hassles down the road. Include non-disclosure agreements to protect your data and your customers. A good outsourcing partner will ensure all these are mentioned in their contracts.
The success of your outsourcing effort depends mostly on the decisions you make. The initial research and work you put into choosing an outsourcing partner will reap big rewards down the road. The team size and technical expertise are important factors to consider while choosing your partner. If you keep these things in mind, then next time you will be able to make a well-informed decision.