For many tech companies, outsourcing your software development is a practical necessity, either because you don’t have the resources to hire internal staff, or because you’re in need of additional help beyond your current capabilities. Development outsourcing is often both a logistically and financially smart move, but there are some challenges you’ll need to overcome if you want to make sure you’re outsourcing correctly.
How To Outsource Development Efficiently
While outsourcing your development needs, there are many things that can get in the way of your productivity, cost efficiency, and communication. You can prevent or proactively address them with these strategies:
- Nearshore instead of offshoring. Offshoring has been a popular way to save money when outsourcing development, but it features some major weaknesses. When offshoring, you’ll be working with developers halfway around the world; you’ll likely experience some language barriers, and may be dealing with a time zone that’s completely opposite yours.
If you’re still interested in reducing the costs of outsourcing, you may try nearshoring instead. Nearshoring firms like Zaga provide the benefits of outsourcing while still in a nearby time zone, with virtually no language barriers.
- Establish communicative rapport. Much of your success will depend on your ability to communicate with your outsourced developers effectively. If you aren’t able to get responses in a timely manner, or if you keep talking past each other, you aren’t going to work efficiently together. One easy way to establish communicative rapport is to establish protocols for communication early in your relationship; for example, how often are you going to meet?
How quickly do you expect responses? Also, pay attention to your communication in the early stages of your relationship; is communication straightforward?
- Review past projects. Take the time to review the past work of the developers with whom you’re going to work. What kinds of projects have they worked on in the past? Can you see them firsthand? Do you know what kinds of clients they’ve taken on? Depending on the firm, you may also be able to find online reviews and testimonials from former customers. This is a good way to gauge the abilities and working relationship you can expect if you choose to move forward with this partner.
- Calculate value in addition to cost. When shopping for different outsourcing partners, one of your biggest deciding factors will likely be the bottom-line price. In other words, how much will it cost to work with this team?
But you should also be considering the total value this company can bring you—for example, it may be worth paying 10 percent more each month if it means getting access to 25 percent more developers, or if it means reaching your deadline 30 percent sooner. Obviously, this depends on your individual goals, since what’s “valuable” to you may vary.
- Set goals together. You’ll likely have goals for your development project in place long before you even start looking for an outsourced development partner. However, it’s still important to work with your partner and set goals together. For starters, this is an opportunity to express your expectations formally; otherwise, your development partner may misunderstand or fail to recognize your priorities.
This is also a chance to get some feedback and/or pushback from the developer; they’re in a good position to know what’s possible, so they may request additional resources or more time to make things work. Finally, this is a good chance to see if you’re a good fit to work together; if you can’t find goals and priorities to agree upon, the partnership probably won’t work out.
- Designate in-house authorities. Even if you’re leaning heavily on an outsourced team, it’s still important to have at least one designated person in-house to manage this relationship. This person’s responsibilities will include remaining in close contact with your development team, managing issues with the team, and ensuring your milestones and long-term goals remain achievable.
- Continually improve. Understand that most outsourcing relationships start out flawed. You’ll need to work together to polish your perceptions, communication, and efficiency when working together. Pay attention to mistakes and inefficiencies you encounter in the course of your partnership, and use feedback loops to keep improving your processes and approaches.
Finding What Works For You
These tips are effective because instead of prescribing a method for the “perfect” outsourcing partnership, they allow you to determine what works best for you and your team. Every company will have different motivations, goals, and ideas when seeking a development outsourcing partner, and will necessarily hold different factors into consideration when making that final choice. Trust your own protocols and decision making if you want to select the best possible partner and best way to move forward with them.
If you are interested in even more business-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.