Outsourcing is a common way to do business, but what should be considered before outsourcing software development?
In fact, the onset of the global pandemic accelerated outsourcing as companies realised that they could achieve faster results at a more expedient cost.
In fact, research conducted by the University of New South Wales reveals that up to 70% of leading businesses in Australia outsource IT support and development for their technology needs.
This figure has grown over the years and is expected to keep rising as Australian companies see the benefits of cheaper costs and faster production.
1. Before you start outsourcing software development
Ensure that your goals and objectives for the project are clearly outlined. This needs to be the first step in the process. This includes broad based objectives such as deadlines, data and materials to be used, processes, budget and technology.
Once your outsourcing partner can agree to those conditions and has the capacity to fulfill your requirements, you can then get into the details required.
2. Document your systems and processes
It is important that if you want to outsource your software development that you have all documented systems and processes in place. It is important that you adopt Cross-Cultural Management best practice and make things as clear as possible.
It is imperative that you have well documented systems and processes in place that are easy to follow and understand. This will ensure minimum disruption to the project and allow for streamlined delivery.
Also, remember to use plain English and avoid any colloquialisms that can be lost in translation.
Make sure you find a partner who can fulfill all your requirements for software development, not just some, as that way the project can be completed with one supplier, meaning overall project management will be simpler.
3. Project management plan
For outsourcing software development to be completed to your satisfaction, it is essential that you have a project management plan in place.
The software project management plan is a central document that communicates expectations to everyone working on a project. It has subsidiary plans that describe in detail what is needed to accomplish the project and can be updated or continuously improved upon during a project.
To start, gather and analyse all information related to the project. Then set goals, create a schedule with tasks and deadlines, appoint responsible persons, and estimate the budget. Also, assess risks and create special documentation.
It is vital that whatever company and/or country that you outsource too, that you have clear communication protocols in place. You need to meet with the project team that will be implementing your software development to comprehend their experience on these types of projects, as well as ensuring that they have a clear understanding of what is involved.
The benefits of communicating today is that we are all so used to instant messaging, video conferencing, email and other channels like Slack. This makes it easy to discuss project deliverables and other challenges in real time; regardless of where all parties are located in the world.
5. You need staff onshore
When outsourcing your software development, it is important that you have a technical lead onshore and local to your business. Someone who understands the technical nature of software development and software projects. This will ensure that project work is completed in line with quality expectations. Without having an onshore technical lead to manage the project you expose your business to unacceptable risks.
Given that Vietnam is so close to Australia, it is also completely viable and reasonable to consider sending your Technical Lead to meet your outsourced team in person. Although this is not necessarily a requirement for a successful outsourcing initiative, it is often incredibly beneficial in terms of change management, team development, and quality outcomes.
6. What should you send when outsourcing software development?
A useful way to think about what tasks to send to an outsourcing provider is to consider the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC). The SDLC consists of 7 stages:
- In this stage, project goals, requirements, and scope are defined, and a plan is developed to guide the development process.
- During this stage, the software requirements are gathered from stakeholders and analyzed to identify any potential issues or conflicts.
- In this stage, the software architecture and system design are created to provide a roadmap for the development team.
- The actual coding of the software takes place during this stage, and the development team works to turn the design and specifications into functional software.
- In this stage, the software is tested to identify any issues, bugs or other problems. This is a critical stage to ensure the software is functional and meets the requirements.
- Once the software is tested and deemed functional, it is deployed to production environments for end-users to access.
- During this final stage, the software is regularly updated, maintained, and improved to meet changing user needs and requirements. This includes bug fixes, patches, and enhancements to ensure that the software remains functional and effective over time.