Best practices for managing outsourced software development

Outsourcing is a concept that sounds too good to be true. It buys you time and helps your budget. Still, many are skeptical as to how can you trust someone working in opposite part of the world to deliver your strict standards in such a limited time frame.

Distances don’t matter anymore:

Given the advances in the field of communication technology, specially video conferencing, staying in touch with developers from a different continent and time zone is as convenient as with the person sitting next to you. The proof lies in the fact that most successful start-ups have never had an office per se or employees who worked fixed hours. Outsourcing is the magic key.

Skype, Hangouts, Google Docs or their alternatives form the holy grail of outsourcing for today’s start-up. Combine there powerful team-concentric features and you have a winning combination. These tools come in handy when communicating to your developers or other outsourcing partners abroad. They are pretty common but offer a good environment for sharing ideas and for bonding.

Whether it is one-on-one meetings you are conducting or a multi-party meeting, everything is achievable, no matter where you are. Project managers can track progress on tools like Asana, whereas freelancers can be aptly managed with Toggl. Such tools are great help for a small as well as a large enterprise equally, and come in specific flavors for each.

Choose your work force carefully

Finding the right person for the job can be a daunting task when recruiting. More so when outsourcing. Make sure you follow a defined checklist when recruiting a person from around the world. These checks can include experience, past record or even criminal backgrounds in some cases.

The good news is that through outsourcing you get access to people with specialized skills: that developer who dreams in CSS, or that other guy who knows all there is to know about XMLHTTPRequest and even a Fantastic Four team that would be quite difficult to assemble internally.

Outsourcing gives you the license to go with the better guy instead of training a good guy. This saves time and in many cases, money as well. A beginning is usually mediocre and that implies a lighter kickoff. You want people who have done it before, not the ones who somehow believe they can do it or don’t want to say no to you.

With someone experienced in the particular area you’re interested in, all you have to do is let them show you a couple of projects similar to yours. This will give you a fair idea of how they stand in comparison to your requirements and needs. One less worry for you.Remember, you want people willing to commit time and energy for your project.But it is not a one-sided test though, keep in mind that if you work with gifted and hardworking developers, they expect the same from you. They are also selective when choosing a client or a project.

Define specific roles

In a business relationship, much like a love affair, has its ups and downs. You may have found the best .NET developer for your next big project, but don’t expect them to read your mind. Regardless of how gifted developers can be, the idea of the project originated in your mind. You need to make sure that he understands it exactly as perfectly as you do. Spend extra time making him understand the project, this will save you a lot of time and trouble late.

By now, your targets, schedule, business objectives and budget should be well established. Developers who care about their career are eager to help and do the job right. All you have to do is tell them precisely what you want from them.

Never assume that a single person can do it all. Even a star developer may need your advise in some point in time. Don’t shy away from such responsibilities. Offer your help whenever needed and make them feel part of your adventure.

Leap of Faith

For many companies or start-ups, outsourcing is a leap of faith, a road less traveled. But it is the bright start of the future. We will only hear about it more, and in a positive light most probably. Starting now, it is the perfect time to build the craftiness and cleverness required to find trustworthy people to work with, which might pay off in a couple of years and help your company succeed.

August 21st, 2014|Strategy|