Outsourcing the software development has a significant number of advantages. First of all, it makes it possible to choose highly qualified professionals since there is access to the best offshore developers around the globe. Moreover, you can save your development costs by choosing the country where the average cost of the software development is lower than the one in your country. Eventually, it enables focusing on your core competence and not diving deep into the development details since this function is delegated to your outsourcing partner.
However, there are some common mistakes businesses very often come across when outsourcing, which result in failures, costs and time loss, and postponed project launch or no launch at all. Therefore, extremely important here is to be aware of those pitfalls and be ready to prevent them.
So, here are 10 common mistakes the companies make when working with outsource vendor and possible ways to avoid them.
Lack of company’s analysis and poor selection process
It often happens that companies choose an outsourcing partner basing mainly on the price and deciding on the lowest cost on the market while demanding the high quality product. For sure, the cost factor plays a significant role when searching for the offshore software development services, but it is far not the only one. So, in order to find your offshore developers, you must conduct a thorough research and analysis including cost and non-cost factors. Except setting your business and technical requirements, you should examine their operating model and functioning on the market, type their name in search engine and see what you receive, check out the reviews about the company and feedbacks from the previous customers, its portfolio, website, blog posts and social media channels, where a company is presented.
Moreover, it is crucial to be aware of your future partner’s relevant experience, whether these professionals are qualified enough, whether they are able to handle the tasks within your project, if the capacity of the company fits your current and perspective project needs, learn about the corporate values and culture aspects, and so on. Eventually, after a thorough analysis, it will be much more visible whether that software development team will manage to work effectively and efficiently on your project and just put your idea into practice.
Unclear requirements and vision of the project
Many times, due to misunderstanding and unclearness of the requirements in the beginning, work results of the team do not satisfy a customer and it takes time and money to fix it. That is why, it is necessary not only have a clear vision of the project and a plan how to reach it, but also, what is of the utmost importance, be able to communicate it clearly to your team. Your team must understand exactly what you want to create and how you see it in order to get into your idea and start implementing it. There must be clear requirements set so that your outsourcing vendor realizes how to fulfill them. Everything has to be understandable from both sides and if there are any questions – they must be asked upfront in order to avoid any troubles.
Communication is the issue that should not be underestimated. It is very usual that projects hit bottom because of the lack of communication. That is why it is extremely important not only to make your idea and requirements clear from the beginning, but also continue constant collaboration with your team and be aware of what is going on. So, when you choose a software development vendor, you have to be really attentive to the speed with which they respond, communications channels they use, and their communication capabilities since it will have a direct impact on your working process.
Now that there are so many means of communication, which do not require both counterparts being located in one place, distance is not a problem for the effective collaboration at all. There are emails, messengers, phone and video calls, and many other modern collaborative tools. So, there is a possibility to arrange regular meetings and be aware of what was done before, what is going to be done next, and whether there are some challenges or obstacles at all. Losing track with what your outsource developers are up to may lead to undesirable results and the need to re-make something, which obviously has its impact on costs and effort involved into the project.
When you find the software developers abroad, there is high possibility that there will be discrepancies between the culture of your country and your outsourcing partner’s one. Of course, having the proper knowledge of English is a must and goes without saying because it is world’s communication language. Nevertheless, speaking English is not enough. There are also gestures, intonations, behavior norms, traditions, and customs, which differ from country to country and, in case of neglecting them, may be the cause for misconception and bad influence on the working progress. Therefore, it is worth to get acquainted with the cultural differences and even have some orientation programs for the staff.
Out of date about modern trends
In the pursuit of outsourcing software development teams, customers can come across the ones which due to some reasons do not keep up with the latest trends in their area. Sometimes, the work which has to be done does not require it, but mostly working on a project means looking for the new solutions and ways to deal with the obstacles using the latest technology trends. Therefore, it is important to know that the dev shop you chose keeps track of modern technology tendencies and will be able to face some challenges if there will be such.
No technician from your side
Sometimes, working with a team of offshore developers without any technical knowledge from your side may pose some risks for a company. Even regarding that you directly hire outsource company to develop your product, it is very important to have somebody at least to some degree tech-savvy on your side to look after this process. And it is not only about checking whether the work is done properly and whether it is high-quality, but more about being able to set things clear and have strong documentation with clear-cut requirements for your outsourced developer team.
Not reasonable time measurements
You have to set adequate project timelines and measurements even if there is a temptation to launch a product as soon as possible at a lowest cost. Frequently, clients set the unreasonable timeline and over-high expectations, which will not lead to positive results. While gathering main counterparts, it is important to discuss, decide, and agree on the timeframes for the project and its tasks executing. Nevertheless, you should take into account that setting too concrete time measurements does not usually work out because, during the software development process, some unpredictable challenges may appear.
Being too strict concerning features
Of course, having got the vision of your soon-to-be-launched product and the clear set of the features which will make it up is great. However, during the working process, it may become obvious that not all of those features are relevant or reasonable. There are plenty of cases when a project did not bring the desired success since there were too many ‘must-be’ features from the beginning. Being sure that the product must be perfect, especially its first version, does not usually guides to the best results. Overall, the product must have its core functionality and the problem it solves, so when it comes to some additional features, there should be some place for compromising and flexibility, which can cause meaningful improvements.
Not enough protection
Different countries have different legal systems and contractive rules: something that works and is usual in your country, does not always work in another one. For instance, intellectual property legislation in US and India varies a lot. So, when you hire an offshore vendor and trust this company your project’s source code, it may pose some risk if you not pay enough attention to the contract management. That is why, it is critical to set a non-disclosure agreement without any unclearly defined areas, which would cover all bases and protect your project as your intellectual property.
Absence of a team spirit
The last but not the least common and important mistake is that despite the close together work, there is no team spirit and connection between the outsourcing vendor and the party, which hires him. It is understandable that the distance can be the key obstacle here, but there are ways to tackle this issue. As long as you find and start managing the international software development firm, the employees of that company who work on your project also become your employees and your team. So it is essential to make them feel the part of something great and not be ignorant about their growth. As a matter of fact, the project becomes more success when all the parts form one strong team, which works on the project idea.
So, along with all great benefits, which outsourcing software development brings, there come some challenges. Hopefully, the common mistakes highlighted in the article, which startups usually make on their outsourcing journey, will prevent you and your company from repeating them and make your offshore experience smooth and successful.
Author: Vadym Kovalenko
Chief of Business Development at Exoft