5 Tips That Will Save Your Time and Money While Looking for Software Development Outsourcing Provider

February 14th, 2017

Web / Mobile / Outsourcing // Mykola

How to Save Time and Money while looking for outsourcing provider

Outsourcing software development can be a very convenient and efficient if you keep these five things in mind when choosing the contractor.

One of the main rules: keep the tasks that you’re good at for yourself and hire professionals to do the rest. This is the main motto for businesses when they choose to outsource. Outsourcing saves time and money because if you decide to entrust a portion of the tasks to external service providers, you can select the best combination of price and quality for your business.

The range of areas in which outsourcing is used is rather wide - from administrative support and business strategy development to graphic and web design and software development.

When you’re looking for an outsourced team for your business, finding the right team is the key, but it equally important to build proper communication and interaction with the team and we’re going to share 5 things to remember in this process.

Thing #1: Don’t Fall for Cheap Prices

When you are choosing a team for outsourcing, do not make your choice based solely on the price. Granted, such an idea may first occur when you’re studying the existing market offers and we agree - it is very tempting to get the service and pay less money. However, experienced entrepreneurs who have realized many projects using outsourcing and who have evaluated numerous offers from suppliers recommend rejecting the proposals with the highest and lowest prices. According to them, you should be looking for candidates among the optimal combination of price and quality.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions when evaluating proposals from service providers. Just like when hiring a full-time employee, vendor selection is a very subjective experience. Ask for recommendations and study the reviews of other customers who have already used the services of this or that company. If you have any concerns about specific things, express them during the negotiation stage, listen to the supplier as well as share what you are thinking.

Thing #2: Check out the Completed Projects Portfolio  

Explore service provider’s portfolio (previous projects) and make sure that their previous work meets your expectations for quality and style. If you looked at the projects and experience, but still aren’t sure this is a good match, ask the outsourcing partner to do a quick mock-up or provide a basic outline of the project’s work plan. This way, you would get a feel of what cooperation with this or that company feels like.

Nonetheless, never cross the line between the request for a basic mock-up and the requirement to provide you with the finished product “up front.” No self-respecting professional will work for free.

Ideally, the service provider you need would have at least some experience in projects similar to yours. This mostly depends on the kind of task you need to be done, but you wouldn’t want your project to be someone’s “guinea pig” for gaining experience. That said, again, if you are doing something incredibly groundbreaking, you will have to trust your intuition in this question.

However, if you are looking for someone to develop an application for Android, you can check out the outsourcing company’s completed commercial projects for this platform, created for other clients. This advice doesn’t only relate to software outsourcing, but to outsourcing other tasks as well. For example, if you need a business plan to open a retail store, you would get better results if you hire a consultant who has experience in implementing projects in the retail sector.

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Thing #3: Get the Documents Straight  

When you work with someone via the outsourcing model, always secure the relationship with your business partners on paper (or e-mail) - and it is recommended to record each step of the process.

This doesn’t mean that once you sign the documents, everything will be set in stone - the course of the project, it’s size, and even budget might change. Therefore, it is necessary to make sure that everyone is on the same page and all the changes from the initial documents are recorded and everyone understands them. This applies to changes from your, as a client, side as well as to the changes requested by the service provider (even if you end up rejecting them).

Here’s something which might be obvious but it’s an advice that often gets ignored: be sure to save a copy of all correspondence with the contractor concerning the project.

Thing #4: Work Plan and Payments Schedule

Any successful project (whether it involves outsourcing or not) always begins with a clear definition of what you want to achieve in the end result. This might not be a detailed description, but everyone involved should know what is expected - especially when you deal with an outsourced team who might not understand your business idea right away as well as those who work in your company.

Service providers need accurate and complete information in order to present you with their realistic proposals and to set the price of developing such a project. Be specific in describing the results you want to get.

You don’t need to give the service providers ALL info about the project but share as much as you can about the features you need and the ways you want the work to be done. Also, be clear and realistic in your demands for timings - the outsourcers’ work schedule can have a great impact on the cost of the project. Usually, you will need to pay extra if there is very little time for the development.

If you are beginning cooperation with a new contractor, begin with something small - this will give you a feel of what the outsourcing provider is like to work with and if everything fits your demands. This stage of “testing” will help you in deciding whether to entrust the critical part of the project to this contractor or, perhaps, look for someone else.

Finally, the schedule: just as you should have a clear idea of your project’s scale, you must define the work plan for its outsourced part, dividing it into stages. Determine the control points where you will check the status of the project and assess the milestones achievements - this will help you to make sure that everything is going according to plan and you will be able to plan other activities with this in mind. It is common to pay the outsourcing provider at the milestones as well.

Thing #5: What Happens after the Project is Done?

For any type of outsourcing projects, it is important to establish who is the owner of the finished product and all the important components.

Make sure your service provider understands how you intend to use the expected results of the provider’s work. For example, development of a software for personal use will different significantly from the development of applications that you want to “pack” and resell.

Ask about product support after the completion. It is much easier to discuss the support details at the beginning of negotiations and before the development than after the project is done. Even creative of business projects might need outsourcing support after it’s ready (for example, if you have changes in your business plan, based on feedback from your potential investors.)

Defining and agreeing upon the amount of free or discounted support hours to work on the future product modifications can save time, money, and protect from a headache in the future.

Outsourcing allows you to focus on your core business without extra expenses on hiring necessary staff and wasting more time on finding solutions to secondary problems than necessary. Do not be afraid to hire outsourcing companies to help with your business. In this way, you will be able to play to your strengths and compensate some of the weaknesses.

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Author: Mykola

Having worked in IT development field as a Software Engineer, Team Lead and Head of IT department for a long time, Mr. Slobodian founded Grossum in December 2013, gathering a passionate team of professionals who together work on developing a better future. Since April 2017, Mykola is the CEO of the APP Solutions web & mobile development company that has acquired Grossum. Mykola Slobodian has participated in many IT events as a speaker. Audiences varied from first graders to IT-oriented teenagers to attendees of IT conferences. He holds a Ph.D. in Physical and Mathematical Sciences, which helps him find solutions to all kinds of IT challenges, including the Internet of Things.

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