DEV Community

Alex Sanders
Alex Sanders

Posted on

5 Tips for Outsourcing a Software Development Project

5 Tips for Outsourcing a Software Development Project

There's a significant shortage of skilled software developers at the moment. And the data shows that things are going to get much worse before they get better. This leaves most companies on the outside looking in with software development projects. But don't worry, hiring a full-time developer is only one of the available options. In 2021 and beyond, it's also the least practical choice. Read on to find out why outsourcing may be a more strategic opportunity for your business.

Keep These 5 Tips in Mind

Outsourced software development is basically the process of hiring an outside developer to handle projects on your behalf. You can outsource via a freelance developer or by working with a custom software development company. Either way, you stand to benefit a tremendous amount.

For starters, outsourcing software development saves you time and money. Not only do you save on recruitment costs, but you also pay less for better quality work. (There are no benefits, payroll taxes, or other absorbed expenses.) Plus, developers can be sourced from other countries where top talent costs just a fraction of what it runs here in the United States.

"Additionally, outsourced teams may follow Agile development methods or DevOps that allow them to be more productive," Time Doctor's Liam Martin explains. "These processes can also help speed up time-to-market delivery – helping your company increase their tech capability at a rapid pace."

Finally, outsourcing allows your internal team to focus its energy and effort on core tasks and competencies. This ensures you're maximizing your team's talent.

1. Get Clear on What You Want

Deciding you want to outsource is step number one. But quickly after you reach this conclusion, you have to get real clear on your goals and the scope of the project.

"For a successful outsourcing strategy, it is significant to identify both short-term and long-term requirements," industry insider Chris Bateson writes. "You must have a clear vision for the outsourced project and prepare responsibilities and expectations in writing for the overseas team. Without a well-defined scope, clear goals, roles, and responsibilities, the outsourcing engagement may seem like the blind leading the blind."

In other words, you don't have to know how to develop a piece of software or a new application, but you do need to be capable of explaining what you want.

2. Choose the Right Partner

As previously mentioned, there are a few different options when it comes to outsourcing. You can work with a freelancer, or you can go the route of hiring a custom software development team.

In either scenario, you have additional options. There are offshore developers (different regions of the world), nearshore developers (out of the country but in a similar time zone), and onshore (local to your country.) Each comes with its own pros and cons as it relates to cost, communication, and accessibility. It's up to you to determine what's most important to your project.

3. Start Small

As much as you may need quick help, avoid putting too much on an initial project with a new outsourced developer. As the saying goes, you should hire slow and fire fast. Part of this slow hiring process begins with smaller test projects and then scaling up as you become more comfortable working together.

4. Prioritize Communication

Few things are more important in an outsourced relationship than communication. As you vet and hire developers, consider the quality of communication. Do they have a firm grasp of the English language? Are they responsive? Do they follow directions well the first time around? If you aren't getting lots of "yes" answers, you should probably keep looking.

5. Avoid These Pitfalls

As you enter into an outsourcing development relationship, be on the lookout for certain pitfalls that could negatively impact your business and any projects the developer touches.

In addition to communication and other related issues, you'll want to think carefully about code quality. It's imperative that you're able to determine which code quality standards the team is working with so there's clarity and maintainability. Otherwise, you'll end up with headaches down the road.

Putting it All Together

At the end of the day, successful outsourcing is rooted in intentionality. The objective is not just to streamline the process and lower costs. It needs to result in high-quality deliverables that benefit your business and serve your customers well. Take the time to ensure you measure up in these key areas.

Discussion (1)