What to Consider Before Outsourcing Your Software Project

25 Aug What to Consider Before Outsourcing Your Software Project

According to Gartner, the worldwide IT outsourcing market was $288 billion USD in 2013, up 5.1% from the year before. Custom software application development in particular was responsible for a large portion of this growth- and it’s not projected to stop anytime soon.

Whether you have your own in house IT department or not, you have likely considered whether or not outsourcing your software development project would make sense for your company.

If you are running a business, the number one thing you are likely worried about is money. The common idea is that outsourcing can save you money- whether you are looking to hire a team offshore or in the building across the street.

This can be true, but it is definitely not a guarantee.

If your outsourcing project blows up, it can end up costing you time and money. If you do decided to outsource your software development, you need to take many of the same precautions that you would if you were assembling a team in your own office.

Know Exactly What Your Software Requirements Are

The first thing you need to do is have a set of objectives. They need to be as well thought out and detailed as possible. If you end up outsourcing, you can’t just walk down the hall and check with your programming team to see how the progress is coming along.

Although, the advent of work management software and the cloud has made it much easier to work with companies from elsewhere. You still need to figure out the team’s defined roles. Find out who is in charge, when the milestone deadlines are, and whether they will be hit on time.

Lines of communication need to be opened and they need to stay that way. Ideally, your outsourced company will utilise Scrum agile development, which emphasises client-programmer communication. Although it is absolutely necessary to have a plan in place before you begin your application development project, you also have to realise that this plan might need to change.

Your Requirements Should Be Flexible

If you are truly going into outsourcing just to save money, you might think that having a set budget with an inflexible timeline is the way to go. The fact is, as your programming team works on the project, they might come up with a better way to do something, such as new functionality ideas.

Yet, they might hit roadblocks.

If you are paying a flat fee that ends on a specific date, the team will be more focused on just getting the job done as quickly as possible. It sounds like it would be less expensive, but in reality, they might have been able to implement something that would have made your return on investment much higher in the long run.

Requirements always change, no matter how prepared you are. It could be feedback from customers, changes in the market, or even the release of new, helpful technology. These changes will have an impact on your budget, your schedule, and your project scope.

Why should you be flexible in your requirements? Because 86.9% of agile development users attribute increased profits to being agile. So if you are going to outsource, make sure you find an agile team!

You Might Need an Adaptable Team

Noticing a “flexibility is good” theme here? It goes beyond just your project requirements. One of the main advantages of outsourcing is the idea that you can virtually expand your company to become as large as you need to get a project done.

If you hire a team of programmers and decide that you need more, you have to go through the entire hiring process to bring more people in. This will do nothing but cause more delays.

At the same time, if you end up bringing in a bunch of new workers and complete your project faster than you anticipated, what do you do with the extra help? Lay them all off?

Outsourcing projects gives you the flexibility of expanding and contracting as necessary if you need to get a larger project done in a shorter amount of time. However, if you anticipate needing your company to grow at a steady rate for a longer period of time, simply hiring people into your business might be a better option.

Another advantage to outsourcing is that you can target a group that has the specific skills that you need to get your project completed.

You could spend time assembling pieces in your office until you had the team with all the necessary qualifications, but if you find a software development company with experience developing the type of program that you need, you will save yourself time and most likely end up with a better product.

This is especially true if you are looking to develop one particular project, and don’t plan on making changes to it for years to come.

Check References

If you need to hire programming staff, you would make sure they actually knew how to program, usually by checking their portfolio or finding out which clients they have worked for. If you decide to outsource, you should do exactly the same thing.

If you are desperate to save money, you could find a team that has no previous clients…and likely end up with disastrous results. On the other hand, you can also find a development company with a long list of clients and successful projects- hopefully in your designated industry.

These are just a few things to think about before you decide to outsource. The most important thing to remember is that initial cost doesn’t mean true cost. If you end up outsourcing to an unreliable company for less money, you might end up spending far more than you had originally anticipated.

You want to hire the best people to work inside your office – you should try and hire the best people outside of your office, too.

Red Rock Software are a Perth based custom web application development company. If you are seeking to outsource your software project give us a call today – we will be happy to discuss your requirements and software needs.