Software Development Outsourcing: How To Avoid Pitfalls

Software development outsourcing has become a global trend for the last decade. But what’s more fascinating, it can be easily applied to both IT giants and small start-ups.

According to statistics, almost half US companies from Silicon Valley deliver their projects to the IT specialists from other countries. Although the global market size of outsourced services in 2018 (see numbers from Statista below) was a bit lower than in 2017, analysts expect the numbers will grow again due to IT outsourcing trends for 2019.

While a lot of companies consider outsourcing to be the best practice while developing a certain product or service, some of them still have doubts. Along with such advantages as talented developers, lower pricing, saving on office space and work stations, sometimes come such disadvantages as delays, poor quality, and misunderstanding.

Considering pros & cons it is important to realize that each case is different and when one may succeed in co-operating with IT outsourcing companies that got a reputation as reliable and stable partners, other may encounter teams that don’t have an impressive portfolio but still can offer high-quality and creative solutions.

5 tips on how to avoid pitfalls and gather pearls

So how to outsource software development effectively and make it as much profitable as possible?

Pitfall 1. Strategy Matters

It is a common situation when a customer just gives some task to the developers and expects they would guess all his goals and vision. As a result, the development team, QA, and even project manager don’t see the whole picture, can’t understand the business ecosystem, and, thus, are not able to think on a strategic level. This often leads to inconvenience, “too straight forward” execution, and missing the details which were presumed but not expressed.

To avoid this pitfall, try to build trust and transparent partnership, provide information not only about product or service features you want to get improved but also about your company, market where you represent your product/service, your audience, and competitors. Make sure you can watch and discuss all the stages and sprints, and change or correct the direction of the programming in time.

Pitfall 2. Quality: Pre-check, Check, and Double-Check

To find a dedicated software development team is not so easy as it seems. Before allowing an offshore partner to work with your code and learn your product/service from inside it is recommended to do special research.

To avoid this pitfall, first, you need to define whether the technical background and skills of the team you choose fit your requirements and goals. Perfect, if you arrange a personal interview with engineers. Ask how many Junior, Middle, and Senior developers will work on your project.

How OA/QC specialists interact with the project manager? What platform do they use to solve tasks and fix bugs? Can you have access to it? Schedule calls and web conferences after each sprint in order to check the quality and keep the process under control.

Pitfall 3. Security: Policy and Standards

Data leaks and security breaches are the greatest fears customers may experience while considering software development outsourcing. However, if all the policies, standards, and restrictions are agreed, there is nothing to fear.

To avoid this pitfall, look for reviews and recommendations that prove your future partner as reliable and trustworthy. Make sure you have an expert from your side who is responsible for supervising the offshore team. Check all the points in the contract that are related to security and ensure that everything is clear for your partner.

Review stats and ratings. For example, according to HackerRank, the developers from Ukraine are the best in developing security solutions and applications.

Pitfall 4. Price: Focus On The Right

It is always good to cut expenses due to lower pricing, but it shouldn’t be the key point when choosing a development team for the outsourcing project. Although the cost for development in Eastern Europe or Asia is much cheaper than in the U.S. or UK, many companies look for the cheapest among the cheap.

Of course, there are some young teams that may downgrade their price in order to compete with the large outsourcing providers. But, normally, the lower the price – the poorer the coding.

To avoid this pitfall, check programmers’ background and skills, then clarify with the project manager terms and conditions. You should also ensure that the payment model you choose fit both sides and excludes the possibility to waste money.

At the same time, you need to realize that a dedicated software development team you want to outsource provides not only lower pricing but also experience. Because they work with different clients, products, and services, they can offer non-standard solutions, interesting or even innovative ideas.

Pitfall 5. Location: Find Common Ground

It can be hard to schedule a meeting because of the different time zones. And even if you managed to do this, you may not understand what some Dev Lead from India is talking about because of his pronunciation. And then add the difference in cultures and business ethics.

To avoid this pitfall, try to choose a partner who has the same worldview and has no more than 7-8 hours time zone difference. That’s why China (16 hrs difference) and India (10 hrs) difference are not the best variants for U.S. based clients. While Poland and Ukraine are OK (their last three working hours are the first 3 working hours for those who is located in New York).

So you can easily schedule calls and meetings. It is also important to ensure that not only project manager, but also Dev Lead and QA Lead have good verbal English and are able to communicate with the customer in order to explain issues and challenges they encounter.

Conclusion

Despite some companies consider outsourcing web and mobile apps development to be a risky affair, it is possible to avoid all the dangerous pitfalls using a few simple tips. Co-operating with a dedicated team reduces most of the risks, and brings such benefits as working with talented experts, generating new ideas, and, of course, budget saving.

Gravum is one of the most experienced Ukrainian teams providing high-quality outsourcing software development. It is known for its creative solutions and successful projects in Ukraine and abroad.