Software outsourcing has witnessed exponential growth over the last few years and is continuing to rise. However, despite all the benefits that outsourcing brings, there also many challenges that need to be overcome, such as time zone differences, culture, language and ofcourse the physical distance.
When these factors come into play and problems or miscommunications start to arise, it takes the collaboration of both the client as well as the outsource team to fix them. Just like there maybe times where the outsource team fails to deliver the exact requirement of the client there are also occasions when the client may have relied too much on implicit factors which would be perceived in a different way by the tech team. This in turn could cause a lot of wasted effort, time and frustration on both parts, especially since these challenges cannot be addressed in person.
So here are a few typical points an outsourced team would wish the clients knew;
1. Be as descriptive as you can be with your requirement
The purpose of working with an outsourced development team, is to help you achieve your unique software ideas. But doing so will be difficult, unless you communicate very clearly and descriptively on your requirement and what you hope to achieve. It’s ok if you do not have a clear idea on the exact requirement. If you can explain your problem statement and what issue you are trying to solve, the development team can work with you to find a solution that fits the best. The more descriptive you are, the better the software development team will be able to understand and cater to that precise requirement. It is for this precise reason that we have a well-structured development team with a business analyst who oversees information gathering, documenting and eliciting requirements in a structured format.
Bringing your software service to life is an exciting adventure for any client. However, it is essential to stay clear about the prioritize and not to try and do everything at once. A cluttered work schedule will lead to a messy and delayed development time coupled with a very confused team of software developers. Remember that things can get overwhelming even to your outsourced team, and as a client it’s very important that you work with the development team to orderly prioritize your various requirements, so that the development team can work as effectively and efficiently as possible in a well-structured manner.
3. It takes a good plan to give you a cost and delivery date
The two most important questions, once a client has their software idea or requirement is, ‘how much is it going to cost?’ and ‘how long will it take?’. Which is most often than not, a fairly urgent requirement. It is however essential to note that it’s close to impossible to give an exact cost and timeline for a project based on a high-level requirement. It often takes lengthy discussions, project and resource planning within the internal team as well as the client, to give a proper estimate without having to go back and forth multiple times.
4. Custom software development takes time
Even though introductions of development methodologies such as the Agile framework have come about, it’s put in place to help facilitate a better and quicker delivery but that still doesn’t change the fact that full cycle software development takes time. Once you have given your outsource team the requirement along with the timelines, they are going to be doing their level best to try and achieve those deadlines. However, an important fact to consider here is setting realistically achievable deadlines with adequate time for a thorough QA process.
5. More team members don’t always mean faster delivery dates
The age-old adage, ‘too many cooks spoil the soup’ applies here as well. Software development is an intricate process and development planning has multiple complexities and dependencies which cannot be speeded up by simply assigning more resources to it. Here quality is more important that quantity. It is crucial to understand that a skilled development team and efficient plan is all you need to get the job done as fast and as effectively as possible. Trying to make it quicker by adding more resources will only cause more friction with too many people working on the same thing and in-turn slow down the development process.
6. There is no definite ‘done’
The technology industry is always improving with new technologies coming up almost every day. This is why it is essential to be strategic and choose an outsource company that can be a partner for the long term as opposed to a short-term provider. Your software partner has to grow with you enabling you to entrust them with the maintenance of your software and keeping it up to date with the latest technology. This way you can focus on growing your business without having to worry about how your software is going to keep up.
7. There are multiple roles in a software development project
In any successful software development project, there will be a diverse set of team members with a diverse set of skills. This is to ensure that the solution is developed after having analyzed and looked through things in every possible angle. A software development lead and their team will work on developing whilst the quality assurance team will search the software for bugs and take the necessary corrective actions whereas the user interface and user experience team will take care of the design and usability elements of the project. Thus, developers could direct you on aspects pertaining to their expertise however, they cannot be expected to provide services outside their scope of specialization.
8. Make your outsourced team feel like they are part of your organization
Most often when working with an outsourced team, both the customer and the development team are likely to feel a sense of alienation followed by communication barriers – mostly due to the lack of personal meetings and discussions having to take place over the phone and email. One great way to overcome this is by treating each of the teams as part of your organization, talking in a less authoritative manner and including them in certain decision-making discussions by sharing your goals and plans and asking them theirs. This will motivate the development team to work better and feel connected to your company.
9. Performance and final product are a result of combined effort
Most clients think that once they have given the development team their initial requirement, it is in the hands of the development team to deliver a flawless product/service. Outsourcing is always a two-way deal. Especially when it comes to agile development, you must frequently monitor the project and provide your feedback which is crucial for the development team to build and improve on. The development team is also responsible for delivering according to the scope and set timelines and inform the client of any delays beforehand. Its best that both the client and the outsourced developers understand that client involvement is crucial for every step of the project and receiving regular feedback as the service is built is much better than receiving feedback after the project has been completed and delivered which will prove to be slightly more difficult for the team to go back and change.
10. Feel free to ask for advice; we are the experts after all
Apart from the outsourced services an agency will be providing, you are also purchasing their expert advice. Don’t hesitate to reach out and speak to the team to get their advice on any technological aspects.
Building an attentive, trusting and a highly teamwork spirited relationship is the key to a successful collaboration. Think of your outsource software development company as your long-term partner not your one-time service provider.