Outsourcing certain tasks to qualified software developers can be a great way to lighten the burden of large projects, such as acquisitions involving the combination of rigid business processes and their respective software applications, or technical skills needed that your IT department does not currently specialize in. Evaluated correctly, outsourcing can reduce the time and costs of your software or application project.

1. Determine Deadlines & Scope of Projects

The best way to start an outsourced software development project is to create a pre-determined plan of goals. Make sure these goals are realistic in the timeframe that they need to be completed and create a judgment scale to analyze the results of the progress being made. Set a realistic budget and understand when your company needs certain deadlines to be met. Let your potential vendor know important aspects of your business, customers, processes, and your team. Software developers can provide you more accurate proposals and deliverability timelines with substantial and detailed information that are unique to your company and goals. Select a collaboration workflow structure that works best with the processes that you already have in place. Choose the software that will be used for quick communication, such as Google Hangouts or Slack, and for weekly conference updates, such as TeamShare.

2. Screen Your Software Developer like a Potential Employee 

A software development project is a long-term commitment. Your company needs to make sure they ask the right questions to determine if your candidate is the right fit. Such a selection is based on subjective preferences, and creating clear outlines of your qualifications will help you evaluate your software developer before reaching out to them. Compare and contrast several alternatives before selecting the right company, even if the first vendor ends up being the right fit.  Avoid traits such as aversion to feedback or following a strict set of rules, find a developer that either matches your current communication processes or enhances them. Talk long enough with your candidate to get a sense of their personality and if their values align with your business.

3. Select Based on the Type of Project

Makes sure your potential software developer has experience with the type of software project you have. Don’t be a vendor’s experiment unless it is cutting edge technology and you can afford the research and trial portion. If you need to create an in-depth software development project such as a multi-tier mobile application for iOs, ask for examples of similar projects and see if they have completed those products satisfactorily. If after reviewing their portfolio you still need more information, ask for a small spec. No professional works for free, so do not expect the spec to be a large undertaking.

7 Tips for Outsourcing a Software Developer (2)

7 Tips for Outsourcing a Software Developer

4. Do Not Select the Lowest Bidder

When evaluating estimates, eliminate the highest and lowest proposals. In the long run, your business ends up paying for the lowest bidders later on. Stay somewhere in the median of your total proposed prices. That happy medium should be a combination of price and quality.

6. Write It Down 

Once you have a more definite picture of your company’s needs and what your vendor can provide, create a payment schedule that is based on clearly defined project milestones. Make sure to elaborate on the dynamics of your new partnership such as ownership of creative rights to works made or renewal clauses. Your software developer may already have a satisfactory service agreement in place. Review the entirety of the document, and ask all the questions you need clarity on. If you have additional concerns or special requirements, have a lawyer assist you.

7. Support After Completion

After a successful software development project, everyone is happy. But what happens when you need additional support or revisions after your software is complete?  Unforeseen events such as new business processes or design changes can alter the effectiveness of your application. Outlining the type of support you may need or negotiate a discounted rate for specific necessities can save your company much time and effort. Negotiate these intricacies before starting the project.

Outsourcing can add substantial benefits to your company’s growth. It can help mid-size companies compete with larger companies while still maintaining their budgets and competitiveness, while assisting larger companies to attain a competitive edge and refine their effectiveness.

*This article was originally created by Jorge Campos, Sr. Software Consultant at WBpro.

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