If 2020 has shown the world anything, it’s just how important a business’s digital infrastructure is if they want to stay successful, relevant, and thriving. However, many companies simply don’t have the time or resources to keep up with their digital needs, whether that includes websites, applications, software programs, digital marketing, and so on. This is where the power of outsourcing comes into play.
Partnering with a company that specializes in software outsourcing is a great way for organizations to take care of their technical needs without having to take on the burden of hiring an in-house team. However, many business executives find the process of scouting, vetting, hiring, and managing a team that isn’t “under their roof” (even if it’s a virtual one) to be rather daunting or challenging. There are naturally tons of questions and concerns that arise when beginning the process for the first time.
There is no one answer or perfect choice across the board for every single business when it comes to outsourcing. This is why it’s so important for companies to take their time to decide what they are really looking for in a software outsourcing partner not only for the current project but also for their needs down the road. While it is quite a bit of upfront work for the hiring company if they want things to go just right, the long-term results are worth it when the partnership is the ideal fit.
Checklist for Finding the Perfect Outsourced Software Development Partner
A golden formula for choosing the right software outsourcing company doesn’t really exist. However, the following checklist is as close to one as possible. By ticking the boxes on the following checklist, chances are you’ll find an ideal partner for long-haul success.
- Fully define all requirements and “wish list” items. - The first step to finding the right outsourcing partner is to define what exactly the company’s requirements are and to understand their own needs. Without taking the time to fully flesh out the needs, wants, and desires of a company as a whole, there is no way of identifying whether or not a vendor or outsourcing provider is the right fit for the job. Companies should start by evaluating what their requirements for software development include due to the nature of their business. Understanding exactly what they need and why they need it helps paint a picture of the necessary requirements for the potential outsourcing providers. These needs don’t have to get too granular (unless it’s a super niche company or under strict guidelines) but general requirements are an absolute necessity.
- Conduct enough research to understand who the providers are as partners. - Just like online dating, many times what you see is not what you get. Software development teams may promise and never deliver, therefore the next step in finding a proper team is to conduct in-depth research.Take the time to look at all of a candidate company’s social media and as many review platforms as possible to look for any red flags (i.e. grumpy, unhappy former customers). It’s also a good idea to learn about who runs or owns the company to get a sense of who will fit the bill. This isn’t the step in which to find the perfect partner but to narrow down the list through deal-breaking filters so that finding “the one” is much more obvious.
- Don’t just look at the higher-ups. Evaluate the full team. - After completing any necessary research and the list of potential companies is shorter, consider the dynamics of the vendor’s full development team. After all, chances are that the higher-ups won’t be communicating and working with their customers on a daily project basis. Communication between the in-house employees and the outsourced team will become a make-or-break factor for this business relationship as well as the success of any joint projects. Before signing a long-term contract, try to understand the work culture, communication methods, and who will actually work on the team.
- Avoid signing with a “yes-person” because it’s easy. - While it’s always nice to hear that every request is doable and to never hear the word “no,” that’s not always right. Companies naturally want to outsource their projects to a software development partner who understands their requirements and wants to deliver exactly what the hiring company is asking for at all times.However, the most ideal partners do more than just saying yes and executing their tasks. Real partners provide advice on how to better accomplish goals in the most effective methods or suggest better alternatives for solving problems. Companies aren’t just working with an outsourcing partner for manual labor. They should know that they can rely on their partners to envision the bigger picture, provide assistance or suggestions when needed, and have the hiring company’s back.
In addition to the items listed above, aspects such as budget constraints, development methodology, tech stacks, and so on are big parts of the search for the right development partner. Many companies find themselves focusing on these technical aspects that are more in the weeds rather than looking at the bigger picture in order to envision the partnership and achieve success. Instead, organizations must consider the whole project to avoid signing with the wrong partner.