How to Outsource Software Development

software development

Outsourcing is one of the best solutions available to a business. That might seem like a dramatic statement, but it’s true. There are numerous benefits up for grabs to those that take the plunge and outsource their needs to a third-party.

These benefits include the ability to save money and time, benefit from specialist expertise, and seamlessly scale up or down. While it’s possible to outsource virtually every area of a business, there is one area in particular that is growing in popularity: software development

Software development is notoriously complex and difficult to master. It requires specialists that know what they’re doing to complete development-related tasks. Yet hiring an in-house software developer is not only expensive, but also difficult due to supply and demand. These points are why many are turning to outsourcing.

Yet how does outsourcing developers work, exactly? 

This article will go through the main points to ensure you get it right when you outsource your software development needs. 

Decide on your requirements 

Before anything else, it’s important you make a note of what you require from a prospective developer. There’s no point reaching out unless you have a firm understanding about the type of software solutions you need creating, modifying, or maintaining. 

As a result, you should make a quick checklist of your requirements. As well as providing clarity for you and your in-house team, it does the same for whoever is selected as your outsource developer. 

The less confusion the better. Everyone knows where they stand and what has to be done. The result: tasks are completed as expected and delays are minimized. 

Onshoring, nearshoring, or offshoring

As you might expect, there are various methods available when it comes to outsourcing. Each one has their pros and cons, and it’s important to settle on the one which best fits your requirements and budget. In terms of location, there are three main outsourcing types available: 

  • Onshoring: Work is outsourced to a third-party that is located in the company’s same country. 
  • Nearshoring: Work is outsourced to a third-party in a bordering region/country. 
  • Offshoring: Work is outsourced to a third-party overseas. 

Onshoring is advantageous as there are no foreign taxing policies or cultural differences to worry about, although the cost might typically be higher than other options.

Nearshoring shares a number of benefits with onshoring, such as compatible time zones and the ability to have face-to-face meetings with the provider. In a lot of cases, developer services will also be available at a more affordable cost, although the talent pool can be restricted. 

Offshoring typically involves outsourcing your work to distant countries such as the Philippines and India. In these locations, the talent pool is packed, and development work can be done relatively cheaply. However, there’s more risk associated with offshoring and time zones are unaligned – although it does mean work can get done while you sleep!

Research your options 

Once you have settled on the outsourcing method you want to use, now it’s the most vital part: picking the right provider for your company. 

First of all, you need to know how to find viable providers. There are dedicated outsourcing platforms available such as Freelancer and Upwork. Yet if you’re searching for reputable, high-end developers, it is often best to use a business listing platform like Clutch, which supplies key information about providers alongside independent B2B reviews.  

This is when it’s time to put together a shortlist of potential candidates. Say you want to hire a Python developer. Here are some of the key points you want to know about each candidate: 

  • Python knowledge and skills
  • Years of experience
  • Available resources/approximate project turnaround time
  • Cost

Now you might think cost should be the first point on the list. However, you could end up spending a lot more if the other points are not up to scratch. It’s important your Python project is completed by a provider that has the necessary proficiency and experience to get the job done. A quick turnaround time can also prevent expensive delays. 

Cost remains an important factor, make no mistake. Yet it also shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all. 

Test the waters 

You have put together a shortlist of possible candidates. You’ve received quotes from each one, and they align with both your budget and objectives. Now what? Well, it’s time to make a decision on the provider you want to work with on your development projects. 

This is a big decision to make. Along with the importance of software solutions in the modern business world, getting them produced eats up a significant chunk of your budget. The latter is only reinforced if you outsource to the wrong provider, receive substandard work, and therefore need to outsource to someone else. 

With this in mind, and if you have the necessary expense flexibility and time, it’s wise to test the waters. Set the same small project for each of your candidates. Once this is done, you are able to compare their turnaround time, approach, and final products. 

This should give you a clear picture about which candidate matches up best – and which one you should hire for your future software development projects. 

Working with an outsourced developer

If you’re unfamiliar with the way outsourcing works, it’s important to learn how to maximize the business-outsourcing relationship. 

One of the most essential ingredients is regular communication. You might not be able to monitor the development work being done in real-time, so communication is necessary to stay in the know with project updates. It also allows you to convey expectations and any changes you feel are necessary. 

Clarity is also vital. You need to make clear what your goals and objectives are from the beginning. These also have to line up with the resources and ability of the development provider. When this is done correctly, it minimizes the potential for surprises to spring up in the future. The provider knows the timeframe when specific targets have to be hit, which helps keep them on schedule for the entire project.