March 26, 2020
January 12, 2020

6 Easy to Avoid Mistakes When Outsourcing Software

Most companies are hesitant to outsource work, especially offshore. Giving up control makes us nervous. We think outsourcing introduces risk, but if getting the job done is essential to success, outsourcing is the fuel that makes success continuous.

You need to find someone who will bring the most value to the table. The problem is you can’t afford to hire the best here at home.

But instead of repeating others’ mistakes and working your team to a burnout, you can outsource to the more affordable European mecca for software engineering - Ukraine.

With a freshly designed outsourcing guide for 2020 choosing the right team is a streamlined process. But be careful not to make these 6 mistakes.

Is Outsourcing Scary?

Things that make us most nervous about outsourcing offshore.  

Take the time to ease these anxieties now by understanding how to outsource to an award-winning offshore agency the right way and avoid any pitfalls.

What not do when outsourcing to a software development agency overseas.

Don’t Outsource Your Core Business Value

The first rule of outsourcing - never outsource any core competencies or software your business solutions are built on.

If your software is your solution and key competitive advantage, don't trust anyone outside your company to work on it.

Work on the heart of your business in-house to avoid a lot of trouble down the line.

What you should be doing is outsourcing whatever is preventing you and your team to do the deep work. Deep work is almost always something you can’t delegate and are highly qualified for.

You can outsource tasks that don’t require the insight and unique capabilities of your in house team. If anyone who knows how to do this work can do it, chances are you can and should outsource the work.

Don’t Rush the Process

No matter how urgently you need to outsource some of your tasks, don’t try to rush and trust the process.

First, allow enough time and reflection to identify what needs to get done, when and how.

When you look for outsourcing agencies make sure to list the qualifications you are looking for and define expectations early.

Have a list of questions ready for agencies you’ve cherry-picked for interviews. Be ready to talk about the finer points of your software project in detail. For the interview process to run smoothly you need to be very clear about your requirements, your time allowance and of course, your budget.

Don’t Underestimate the Value of Onboarding

Onboarding is the process of introducing requirements, knowledge, and skills the agency will need to successfully complete your project. The more efficiently you onboard your agency, the smoother the outsourcing process will be. Providing your offshore agency with all the key resources and info enables them to function effectively as an augmented branch of your-in house team.

Outsourcing can’t solve your problem or build your project overnight. The agency you hire will have questions of their own and they will need time to map out the unique requirements.

This prework work builds the framework you need to outsource projects routinely and optimize your workload with great success. Clarifying your expectations for how long onboarding your new agency partner should take, will help your team avoid feeling pressured and rushed.

Don’t work without drafting your contracts and detailed technology requirements

It is basic, but starting work without written terms is one of the most commonly made mistakes in any outsourcing endeavor, not just web and app development.

Make sure your scope includes your expected deliverables as exactly as possible.  Remember the other team may not know how the outsourced task fits into your greater business strategy so providing clarity on the concrete objectives you put in front of them is crucial.

When hiring, make sure you cover all of your bases in writing: deadlines, office hours, deliverables, ownership rights, and so on.

Anything and everything that can affect the outcome should be written down agreed to and signed by both parties before initiating any work.

Don’t Neglect Setting Up A Management System

There is a good deal of coordination and management involved in bringing an agency on board. Whether local or an outsourced agency in Kyiv, Ukraine, without organizational structure, your boat won’t float.

Set clear responsibilities for how your in-house team should collaborate with your outsourcing agency and vice versa. Make sure that everyone knows who their contact persons are, how to contact them and what they are and are not responsible for.

Doing this will ensure that the teams are focused and motivated rather than stressed, confused and wanting to go home. Setting up a clear chain of command and routinely checking that reviews, updates, and QA are completed in a lean, effective manner should be in the top priorities list.

Don’t Assume Anything. One of the main reasons people give up on outsourcing is a fault in communication.

We all work and communicate differently. Messages are misinterpreted. Cultural differences like approaches to social interaction in high vs low context cultures are very prevalent in a software engineering environment.

Discussions about software model preferences like agile vs waterfall are more about psychological preferences than software.

The best thing to do is to be upfront about your work manner, how you want things handled and what traits do you value most in your team members. Concretely, politely.

Do you like using Notion to Trello? Telegram over Slack? Meetings in the evening or before lunchtime? Don’t assume anyone will “perceive” the actions you want them to take. Be clear.

Ask a potential outsourcing agency about their communication style, if you see a large disparity in your approaches try looking for a partner somewhere else. A breakdown in communication because of any minor thing could snowball into a rift that really hurts the development of the project.

Summary

  1. Never outsource your core technology solution
  2. Be upfront about all aspects of the project i.e. deliverables, deadlines, expectations.
  3. Don’t under or over manage the project. Let people do their jobs.
  4. Make time to establish clear communication guidelines
  5. Schedule times for each milestone/update and be on time

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