Mistakes to Avoid when Outsourcing Web or Mobile Development

May 2nd, 2017

Web / Mobile / Outsourcing // Grossum Possum

Outsourcing software development can be a great advantage for a company because it allows the business to concentrate on its core services.

For example, if you own a hotel and want a website or a management system custom-built for your business, outsourcing web and mobile development would be the best option since you will be able to run your business and let the professional developers do their jobs. As a result, it's a win-win situation. You've got your app or website and the developers are happy because they got paid for what they love to do. 

At the same time, if it's your first time outsourcing web / mobile development, the process might seem uncontrollable or unmanageable at first. We've compiled a list of mistakes that are common so you can make sure to avoid these. 

Here's to successful IT outsourcing!

It is a common mistake to think that because Agile methodology allows to easily implement changes in the project, initial planning is much easier or not necessary. Wrong. Analysis and planning ahead are required always, albeit with an agile project you can adapt your product to the dynamic market demands as you go.

Set clear expectations. Without a defined goal of what you want to achieve, the outsourcing company would not know how to do what you have dreamed up in your mind. You have to communicate what exactly you want your provider to do so that you won't spend time and money on re-making what could've been done right the first time. 

Besides clear expectations, you should also think about clear measurements. Time is money and especially when you are just starting to work with outsourced providers, it is important to define how are you going to measure whether this cooperation works or not.

"If I outsource, then I don't need a manager for that project. My outsourcing company provides the project management service." While it is true that outsourcing providers have project managers who handle the communication with the client, it would be better to have a dedicated person on your own team who would be responsible for that communication as well.

(By the way, we wrote an article on Medium about the time when we made this mistake ourselves and it... didn't go well. Should've known better, but we've learned the hard way. So trust us when we say: you need a project manager - either get him/her on your side or make sure your outsourcing company provides one.)

Fixed price has its advantages and, we know, it feels "safer" to have a fixed budget, so you can plan your expenses. However, make sure you're not sacrificing flexibility in exchange for safety. Don't know which option to choose? We recently wrote about it and shared a comparative table for various ways of cooperation here

Want your employees to be motivated to work for you? While there are many ways to motivate your staff, it's hard to buy groceries at the store or pay rent with a "feeling of being a part of a big and great project." Therefore, while we are not saying you have to overpay your developers, but don't try to cut costs on everything. 

There is a psychological trick involved. When someone offers you the same deal but for less money than someone else, it seems like a better choice. (Same as in situation if you're offered a price that is significantly higher, the first thought is "This might be a better quality.") Nonetheless, in real life, it might not be the case. Check out the portfolio, read reviews and testimonials, and then make your choice. The key is to know where you can cut costs and where it is better to pay a bit more but to find the best possible talent. 

Outsourcing will decrease some of your expenses, but don't expect a drastic change. The main reason to outsource is to delegate some of the business processes, like web development, to those who specialize in this and to free your resources like time to take care of the issues that cannot be delegated. Therefore, IT costs might go down because, for example, you choose to outsource to countries where labor is cheaper than in your own country, but otherwise, someone is still doing the job and needs to be paid. 

When you outsource or outstaff (have a dedicated team), the employees of another company become "virtually yours" so, as their employer, don't just consider these virtual employees just temporary helpers. The feeling of being a part of something good is a strong motivator, so invest time in your employees - both virtual and those sitting with you at the office. 

Can workers be anywhere in the world? Technically, yes. This is the beauty of Internet these days - you can be connected to all the necessary resources pretty much anywhere. However, while some countries might be more pleasant to communicate with due to cultural similarities, they might lack the necessary skills or the price would be too high. 

If your business is located in Australia and you hire outsourced employees in Brazil, you're in for some fun time mix-ups. Europe is pretty much between the time zones, so consider hiring Grossum or other East European companies because, among many other benefits, our time zone easily adapts to times from the US to Australia. 

Outsourcing from another country? Keep in mind that some cultural trends of your country and the country where you are outsourcing from might clash, so investigate the traditions and customs of that nation. This would greatly help you to communicate with your employees well.

Due to cultural traditions or other reasons, some countries or companies might not be up to date. Perhaps, they simply never had to do anything outside of the boundaries they have grown up with or they don't want to get outside the box. In some cases, this might be an advantage, but only if you need some routine work done. When you want solutions that work in our modern world, you have to apply modern standards and follow trends.

Ukraine, however, is the rising star of the software outsourcing and the standards are high. Check out 12 reasons to outsource to Ukraine.

Ready to outsource your web/mobile development?

Author: Grossum Possum

Grossum Possum. He loves using Symfony2 for his projects and learning to implement Symfony3. He also likes developing web and mobile applications using other programming languages and frameworks, such as PHP and Java. In his free time, Grossum Possum likes to write about his experiences in the blog.

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