Top tips for offshore software outsourcing

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Offshore software development outsourcing is becoming increasingly popular.

It allows businesses to access a global pool of talent, enabling them to choose from software providers all around the world.

For organizations in the West, providers in countries like India, China, Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, the Philippines, and Vietnam are often significantly cheaper than other alternatives

Still, while there are many advantages to hiring offshore software developers, there sometimes are drawbacks. Learn about pitfalls to avoid and how to get the most out of a partnership with offshore software outsourcing companies.

Define parameters

Nobody understands your project better than you but, at the same time, you can’t expect anyone to be able to read your mind. That’s why you need to define the specifications and requirements of your project upfront before your team begins working on it. This will not only help your partner set a more accurate timeline for completion, but will also ensure that you both understand what completion means.

This is true of any contracting relationship, but it’s especially essential for offshore software development outsourcing. In this case, you’re often dealing with developers who don’t speak English as their first language, so you’ll need to be specific about your terms and avoid being vague. You also won’t be working with them in a face-to-face context, so most or all communication will happen remotely. Things often get lost in translation when you’re communicating virtually, and you must do your best to avoid this problem.

Combine forces

Using offshore software developers doesn’t mean you need to completely replace your in-house team. While this can certainly be a good option if you’re building your business and don’t have the budget for full-timers, it can also be helpful when you need help or expertise on a certain project or are scaling your operations.

If you do have onsite developers, have them work with the offshore software developers together. Strong collaboration often ensures better results in the end. For instance, you might divvy up tasks according to the different teams’ strengths and schedule regular check-ins to ensure that the pieces are fitting together as they should. You might also start by outsourcing smaller assignments so you can see how the offshore team works out, as well as how it collaborates with your employees.

Do your due diligence

With so many options available to you, it can be difficult to sift through all the possibilities and know which partner to choose. However, vetting candidates is an important step in the offshore software development outsourcing process. You should be asking questions like:

  • How are they rated on freelance and outsourcing sites?
  • How long have they been in the business?
  • What are their pros and cons according to the reviews?
  • Can they provide you with references?
  • What do their previous clients say?
  • Do they have experience working on similar projects?

The last question is an especially important one because you want a partner who has experience developing projects in your niche — that means they understand the requirements and audience.

Meet face to face

While this isn’t absolutely essential, it can be helpful to meet your outsourcing team in person before the project gets underway. Given the fact that offshore development services may be on the other side of the world, this may prove difficult. Still, if you can make the trip, you’ll be able to learn about the organization’s work culture and interview the people who will be contributing to your project. Ultimately, this can be a key step in ensuring fit.

Prioritize communication

Communication can be tricky when you’re working with offshore development services — they’re likely in a different timezone and your workdays may not overlap at all. Moreover, there can also be language barriers you’ll need to overcome, not to mention the fact that all communication will take place virtually.

In order to ensure success and avoid frustrations on both ends, it’s best to establish how and when you’ll be communicating upfront. For example, you should have a point person on both teams. That doesn’t mean no one else can talk to members of the other team, but important messages should be relayed to and delivered by these go-to contacts. You should also have a clear check-in time and plan, such as every Friday.

In addition, decide together the tools you’ll use to check-in. It might be email or Slack, for instance. You could also use Zoom to discuss issues face to face. Make sure you have a system for emergencies that arise as well — if something occurs, both teams should be able to respond immediately, regardless of the time zone.

Look ahead

Right now, you may be using offshore software development outsourcing for a single project. But in the future, you may want to use this partner for other projects or formalize a longer-term relationship. This means paying attention to their strengths, as well as areas that could be improved for next time. It also means being a good partner on your end, too — not being overly demanding or micromanaging, for instance.

Software development offshoring can be a viable, successful option for many businesses, but it’s important to keep these tips in mind before establishing a relationship. While the benefits are many, there are also certain risks you need to account for prior to signing any contract. This will help ensure that both you and your offshore partner are on the same page and ultimately happy with the results.