Wouldn’t it be great if you could just find a software development company across the street and hire them to transform your concept into a fully-functioning product? Or maybe, you could simply do all the work yourself, without having to depend on others, using an in-house team.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.
When you involve other people in your project, product development becomes a collaborative endeavor, and when you outsource, people from different cultures spread across the world have to click as a team. Unless you choose the right organization and the right people for your project, the benefits of outsourcing will elude you.
So how to make it work? Here’s what you need to keep in mind to while hunting for the right software development partner, if you want to ensure the success of your outsourcing project.
1) Define your Requirements
Before you initiate the search for people who can build your product, gain clarity on what exactly you want them to do, and put it on paper. Are you looking for external help with QA & Testing, or do you want a partner capable of handling the entire application development lifecycle. Are you are looking for 2-3 developers, or does your project demand the involvement of a larger team?
Apart from the budget, duration and scope, also focus on the end goal – “What problem does this product solve, and what are my expectations from it?” Once you have answers to these questions, it will be easier to determine what type of a partner to pick.
2) Create a Profile of the Ideal Vendor
On the basis of your project requirements, narrow down your choices. Outsourcing companies come in all shapes and sizes: from five-person startups to behemoths with more than five hundred thousand employees. It is imperative that you approach companies that are best suited to projects your size.
For example, if you need 3-4 developers and have a budget of more than $1 million, approaching a firm with less than a hundred employees may not be a good idea. Similarly, if you just need to hire 1-2 developers, giving your business to an outsourcing behemoth won’t work – they are simply not built to cater to projects that size.
So, it is best to send your RFPs or requirements documents to companies that are the right size for your project.
3) Check Relevant Expertise
Do you know what’s worse than an extremely difficult development project that needs to be finished on a shoestring budget, within crazy deadlines? – The same project, after it has been burnt by amateurs.
You definitely don’t want your project to get stalled due to the inability of the vendor to build what you have envisioned. So, dig deep and make sure that your prospective partners have the expertise to see your project through and deliver on their promise.
Also, evaluating expertise in relevant technologies, frameworks and domain may not be that important– make sure that they have the Project Management capabilities and process maturity needed to make outsourcing work.
4) Find a Vendor you can Trust
It is best to take a close look at the other product development assignments the vendor has delivered for others and speak to the references for real reviews. This, more than anything else, will help you identify the ability (or the lack thereof) of the vendor to do justice to your requirements.
At the same time, you don’t want to play in the hands of an unscrupulous vendor or programmer that steals your ideas or your source code. Look for security certificates like ISO 9001 (ensuring that they have a security physical facility as well as processes) and sign a strong NDA agreement before beginning. Performing due diligence at this stage will save you from potential headaches later.
5) Look for Scalability – Ramp Up and Down
Chances are that the market already has a product similar to yours. Maybe there’s other teams working with the same concept. It’s going to be a bit of an arms race if you are one of two core competitors who sell the same kind of a product.
So, the vendor you choose will have to be able to ramp and get more resources on your product when you need to add extra features to your products in double quick time, just in time for the next release. At the same time, you should be able to ramp down quickly once the critical period ends.
But that’s not all. When your product takes off, you will need a team that can step into bigger shoes. The people who have worked on your product from start will be in the best position to help migrate or port the application, and also for offering technical support & deployments. But for this you need to…