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How to select the perfect partner for software outsourcing?

10-Parameters-you-should-be-looking-to-evaluate-your-Software-Development-Partner-on

So, you’ve heard all about the advantages of outsourcing, and you’ve finally decided to hop on to that bandwagon yourself. After all, which business doesn’t want to opt for a cost-efficient practice that can facilitate better distribution of resources, right? However, when you decide to outsource your software requirements, one of the most pressing questions is this – How do you go about selecting the perfect partner? 

There's no one-word answer. Still, it’s not impossible to figure out what the best partners for outsourcing software development are. To help you go about this exercise, we’ve put together some pointers that make it easier for you to choose the right outsourcing company. 

Checklist to find the Right Outsourcing Partner

1. Define Your Requirements

The first step to follow when you’re planning to outsource your software requirements is to understand your own needs. Only when you do this can you identify whether a vendor is right for your project. So, start off by evaluating the nature of your business and understanding the requirements of your software development process

Knowing these parameters can help you give your outsourcing partner a clear picture of your requirements. Of course, you don’t need to get to the specifics. Simply chart a broad outline of your general requirements and be open to the possibility of changes and suggestions from your outsourcing company.

2. Do Adequate Research

Once you’ve defined your requirements, the next step is to conduct adequate research and identify the outsourcing vendors who can meet your specific needs. Look up the various forums and platforms that give you short bios of possible partners. Scour through customer testimonials and shortlist a few B2B service providers who fit your bill.

Do Adequate ResearchRemember that at this stage, you’re only looking for various options. So, it’s alright not to find the perfect fit. However, if you have any deal-breakers, it’s best to use them as filters. For instance, if you’re 100% certain that you need an outsourcing partner who is Agile, you can filter out potential partners who do not have experience in this technique. 

3. Do Not Choose the Cheapest Options

As a general rule of thumb, vendors who advertise themselves as the cheapest in the industry are clearly the wrong choice. Let's look at the numbers here. The average salary of a good outsourced developer is as high as $2200-$2600 per month. Add to that infrastructure costs and overheads, and it goes up-to $3200-$3600, at the very least. 

3. Do Not Choose the Cheapest Options

So, if you're hiring much below these values, it's highly likely that the project will never be delivered or will fail in the future. Hiring freelancers is also not a wise choice, as most of the developers on freelancing sites run a side job and only want to make a quick buck. So, don't shy away from spending what your project is worth.

4. Evaluate Their Team

Another important aspect to consider when you decide to outsource software development is the dynamics in your vendor’s team. At the outset, it is extremely important to see whether your team can communicate in the same language as your in-house experts. This enables smoother communication and ensures that a lot of kinks are eliminated from your process.

If possible, talk to the team leader and look at the credentials and the experience of the team members to gauge their level of expertise. Understanding the work culture of your vendor’s team will give you some insight into what you’re in for. At best, you’ll want to opt for an outsourcing partner whose team is cross-functional, dynamic, and flexible. 

5. Look at Their History

As a business, we’re sure you want the best outsourcing partner in the market. The relevant question here is – How do you go about finding them? The answer lies in their market reputation. Customer feedback and market history can tell you a lot about IT outsourcing partners

DO YOU NEED TO OUTSOURCE

Look at their history and evaluate the projects they’ve delivered to their previous customers. If there’s a possibility of finding testimonials from their past clients, pursue that option and get to know what their reputation is like. Should you spot any red flags, either get it clarified from the vendor, or scratch them off your list and look at your other options.

6. Executing Tasks vs Product Thinking

It was in the past decade that leaders were looking for cheap resources who could just execute given tasks or lines of codes at a fraction of a cost.

EXECUTING TASKS VS PRODUCT THINKING

In the current era, business like to partner with vendors who bring to the table Product Thinking. What is Product Thinking? Simply put – it is problem solving.

Think about it. Why do users or consumers buy/use your product? They are looking to solve a problem. Why do you make it in the first place? Because you want to solve a problem.

Would you rather have an organization who would problem solve or just simply keep executing menial tasks? IT outsourcing companies are now like advisers and consultants. Make the most of it and choose a partner that envisions the bigger picture.

There's no one-word answer. Still, it’s not impossible to figure out what the best companies for outsourcing software development are. To help you go about this exercise, we’ve put together some pointers that make it easier for you to choose the right outsourcing company. Read on to find out more.

7. Pay Attention to Scalability

In this day and age, scalability is no longer an option. It’s a necessity. Your requirements as a business are bound to evolve and change with time. Is your outsourcing partner capable of meeting those growing requirements? That’s a question you’ll want to answer in the affirmative before you sign on the dotted line.

Verify if your offshore partner has the capacity to tap into local talent and quickly ramp up their team if needed, so that the product is seamlessly able to onboard new users. Also, check if there’s a local pool of talent for your outsourcing vendor to hire from. In the same vein, your partner should also be ready to scale down if, and when, it’s necessary.

8. Assess Their Development Process

Before you join hands with a vendor and outsource your requirements, stop and think about this – How does your outsourcing partner go about the process of software development? If you’re looking for an Agile partner, you’ve got to be smart while choosing a vendor, because Agile is a term that is thrown around a lot. 

SIGNS OF A GOOD PARTNER

Owing to the growing popularity of merging the Agile technique with the practice of outsourcing, almost all companies have started to claim that they follow the Agile way of software development. However, not all companies have the experience of doing it. Look for practices like DevOps development and SCRUM to help you understand how your product development will take place.

9. Don’t Choose a Yes-Man

Sure, you want to outsource software development to a vendor who understand your requirements and strives to deliver the results you seek. However, there’s a thin line between following orders and solving problems. The former kind of vendors simply does what you tell them to do. Their teams lack the initiative to be proactively involved in problem solving.

However, the best partners do more than merely executing their tasks. They resolve problems as and when they arise. This forms the basis of Product Thinking. Service providers are now like advisers and consultants. Make the most of it and choose a partner that envisions the bigger picture.

10. Make Sure They’re Accessible

Communication is key. And if you’re going to outsource requirements, opt for a partner who is easy to communicate with. Several factors may get in the way of establishing a clear communication channel. You and your vendor could be in different time zones, or they could simply take a long time to respond to emails.

The Bottom line

Irrespective of the cause, make sure that the end result is something you’re comfortable with. Ideally, your outsourcing partner needs to be accessible during business hours, and available to handle any emergencies. Good and open communication ensures that your collaboration is smooth and hassle-free, making it possible to deliver the results you seek.

A Final Word

Aside from the above aspects, you also need to take your budget into consideration. And while it’s essential to take affordability into account, don’t make the common mistake of choosing the cheapest provider available. They may be inexpensive upfront, but in the long run, a cheap vendor will also leave you with a lot of technical debt. And you’ll be paying the price for poor services.

So, opt for a modestly-priced vendor if you’re on a tight budget. And while you’re at it, verify if they’re customer-centric and if they offer adequate after-sales support.