Working in IT for over 5 years, I have seen a lot of companies that make bad decisions when outsourcing the software development process. It is not a great sight to see, it’s a shame that good ideas could be lost because of bad management. That’s why I decided to sit down and write this article. I will try to warn you about potential pitfalls and wrong turns that companies often make.
How to succeed with software development outsourcing
When a company decided to outsource software development they strive for a flawless app, that will be delivered as fast as possible and as cheap as possible – but you have to know that there’s almost impossible to give a straight answer to the question “how much does an app cost to make”. It depends on different factors. You have to know about main outsourcing milestones. First of all, never make a development management decision based only on a quick Google search and never pick the cheapest outsource development company. You can say, that was a “rule of thumb”.
So, let’s break it down, starting from quality. How do you value the quality of software? The first thing that comes to my mind is bugs. Sure, almost every mobile app or other software has some bugs, especially when they are fresh, just released. For example, more than 70% of mobile apps are released with as many as 10 bugs.
To minimize the chance of this kind of an error, do some interviews before picking a company to outsource. Ask potential partners about their QA methodology and how they will test the software. What kind and how many of test they will use to confirm quality? You have to be completely sure that they know what they are talking about, so before scheduling an interview do some research, or consult with someone who is competent. Here is a shortlist of common tests that should be included:
- Regression testing
- Static testing
- Dynamic testing
- White-box testing
- Black-box testing
- Visual testing
But, if you managed to pick a great software developer team, one that focuses on your objectives and goals, then try not to overwhelm them with this kind of quality standards. Yeah, this is kind of contradictory to what I previously stated. There is a thin line, you have to make sure that the potential developer knows what he is doing, that’s why you need these standards. However, if you are sure that your idea is in good hands you can cut them some slack.
How to choose a perfect software development company
So, you have probably already figured that one of the most crucial steps of outsourcing software development is the choice of a development team. And I haven’t provided any tips on that, besides not picking the cheapest one. Well, some of these tips may be obvious, but I had to include them:
- Always ask for a portfolio. Always. And don’t be shy to ask some additional questions about their previous works, maybe some specific details about an app, or was that app a success or not, what experience they acquired from previous tasks, etc.
- To avoid scams always ask for references that can substantiate their previous work. And check that sources!
- If it is possible, talk to one of the potential developers in private. Ask him to evaluate the potential of your app and is he sure that his team can handle it.
- Find out what development process is established in their team and is acceptable by you.
- Ensure that they prioritize the security of development, sign NDAs, everything possible to assure that you will not lose the rights for your idea.
- Check their attitude about new technologies. Do they implement them the newest possible or do they stick with old and stable versions?
You should prepare for outsourcing too
Another key element of any outsourced development process that can screw up the app in the result is you. Yes, don’t be surprised, very often the client is the main reason why app failed. So, how to be a customer that doesn’t ruin the outsourced development process? Frist of all you have to establish a detailed definition of your app, core elements, ideas. Before you have it there is nothing to discuss with the developers, research similar applications, write down what you want and what you should avoid. These elements are:
- Social media integration
- Login features
- In-app purchases
- Push notifications
- Landscape and portrait views
- Media content
When you have figured this out prepare a project description with the list of features. Afterward, choose a developer and establish a list of features and screens, user flow and the basics if UX. And final and one of the most important things, for the love of Lord, try your best to not change all of the previous points after the start of the development. You might think that if you want to swap some things around or change an element is not a huge deal and it won’t affect your app in an unexpected way. But this kind of changes are the main source of bugs and missed deadlines.
If you follow these guidelines you have a better chance to succeed with outsourced development. Now you know how to look for a decent outsource development team and what should you ask when interviewing them. Also, you are better prepared for this kind of collaboration. You know how to prepare for this process, what to do during the development process, and what type of influence you should avoid.
Author – Alex Volski:
I am a tech/copywriter and a business analyst at Thinkmobiles for over 5 years. I am always happy to participate in new and innovative mobile app projects. Currently working on several projects that use AR. If you have any new ideas or feedback feel free to contact me.