Outsourcing software development is becoming an increasingly popular option for businesses who aren’t able to justify employing full time software staff. There’s also a growing desire to access the very best development talent, and they aren’t always available in your local area. It can be a difficult and murky market to navigate, so we recommend employing a clear set of criteria when outsourcing software development.
Here’s a few things to consider when outsourcing your software development.
Ask for Proof of Past Success
If you’re entrusting an important software development task to outsourced individuals or teams, you want to know they can back up their claims. There’s often a perception that outsourced staff aren’t professionals, and we shouldn’t expect them to have websites or online portfolios. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Just because someone outsources themselves to many different businesses, it doesn’t mean they’re not a professional service. As such, they should be presenting themselves in a professional way. Particular in the world of software development – would you really hire someone who hasn’t been able to build at least a basic website for themselves?
Look for Good Communicators
Outsourcing comes with some challenges in regard to language and communication, which we’ll touch on later. But that doesn’t serve as an excuse for poor communication. A popular way to outsource software development work is by posting a job ad on a freelancing service such as Upwork or Freelancer. You’re given the opportunity to communicate with those who apply for the job, and this is a great chance to test them out.
If you’re sending messages and experiencing lengthy delays waiting for a reply, that’s a big red flag that they’re not the type of people you want to be working with. Just make sure you know the time difference, as this can be a legitimate reason for delays in response.
Develop a List of Interview Questions
It’s likely you will have plenty of people applying for your software development outsourcing job. It’s a good idea to prepare a list of interview questions to ask them. This way you’re prepared and convey a sense of professionalism yourself. Also, it means you can evaluate all applicants on the same criteria.
Interview questions should centre around their skills, experiences, approach to projects, communication skills and also their current workload. It’s important to find out if they will be dedicating their time to your project, or jumping from job to job.
Be Aware of Cultural and Language Differences
As business owners, you have certain expectations for your employees and contractors. That’s natural, because you’re responsibility for the efficiency and success of your operations. But when it comes to outsourcing, the goal posts need to shift a little bit. We don’t mean you should accept a lesser quality of work, but not all countries approach work in the same way.
Be prepared for some difficulties in communicating. English won’t be the first language for most outsourced software developers, so you’ll need to use clear, simple communication. It’s also important to remember that cultural and religious holidays can impact an outsourced worker’s timeframes. Some folks also won’t work on certain days of the week.
None of this should be an issue – just make sure to discuss it upfront, so both parties have clear expectations and obligations.
Find People Who Understand Your Industry
Finally, make sure that an outsourced staff member really understands your business and what you’re trying to achieve. For example, if you’re running a retail store in Australia, ask them if they’ve worked with other Australian retailers. This can give you some confidence that they know your industry and understand what you need. Remember, a good software developer should be able to provide suggestions and direction to the project. In effect, they should really know more about your needs than you do.
If you’re looking to outsource your software development needs, don’t leave it to chance. Time and money can be wasted very easily by hiring the wrong staff, but MRU Consulting can help. For the best advice and assistance with outsourcing software development, contact MRU Consulting for a risk-free quote today.