We’ve all heard our fair share of outsourced software engineering horror stories: low-quality output, stolen ideas, late deliveries, flimsy excuses. Yes, some of the stories may have been slightly exaggerated for the sake of drama, but there is undoubtedly a kernel of truth to all of them.
The thing is, potential risks aside, outsourcing your software engineering team is one of the best moves you can make for your business. It gives you the freedom to hire specialized professionals without having to retain them once a project is completed. It also gives you the flexibility to reduce costs and stay in budget whilst allowing new approaches and modern technologies to mix with time-tested strategies.
Indeed, due to outsourcing’s many benefits, it remains a popular choice amongst businesses of any size, in any industry.
But as with any business process, there are risks. Hence the horror stories.
Regardless of its advantages, partnering with the wrong outsourcing agency can negatively impact your reputation, your products, and your productivity. You need to work with a high-quality outsourcing company if you want high-quality output. And even then, mistakes can happen.
If you want all of the benefits and none of the drawbacks that come with outsourcing your software engineering team, you need to effectively minimize the risks. Here are seven great ways to do that:
1. Make Communication a Priority
One of the most common mistakes companies make when outsourcing software engineering tasks—or, really, any tasks related to their business processes—is failing to communicate clearly and consistently. You need to constantly stay in touch with your software engineering team—as well as the project manager—throughout the duration of the project.
Clarify that you need regular progress updates from them. Be firm regarding the submission. Transparency on both ends allow you to track the progress of the job, conduct a code review, and making a detailed project plan—all of which will get the results you want within the agreed deadline.
2. Create a Structured Approach
You will save a lot of time and effort if you keep every task process-oriented. It also reduces the overall overhead fees when it comes to the work delegation.
Most outsourcing firms make the mistake of not using the right project management tools and only rely on emails for giving out tasks to other team members. And while we’re not bashing emails, it’s obviously not the best choice for disseminating information and sharing task management-specific conversations. There are hundreds of apps and programs specifically designed to aid and promote efficient project management.
3. Don’t Always Choose The Cheapest Option
There are companies that choose their outsourcing partner based solely on the price. Yes, outsourcing is a great way to save money and properly budget your available finances. However, in many cases—especially with outsourced software engineering teams—you do get what you pay for.
Low cost? Probably low quality, too.
This isn’t to say that high-priced services automatically equate to high-quality work, but such is the case more often than not.
Instead of basing your decision on price, why not focus on cost-efficiency. Do thorough research beforehand to calculate whether the agency you’re working with is capable of giving you the most bang for your buck.
4. Look at the Bigger Picture (Business Goals)
If businesses want to clearly and effectively communicate their vision for the software with their outsourcing partners, they need to start with their business objective. In order to produce the best possible version of the program, the software engineers, designers, and developers need to know what your company hopes to achieve with it.
Understanding the development goals and business objectives of the project enables the software engineering team to really utilize their skills and creativity to come up with a solution that best fits what the business is looking for. If they have nothing to go off of except for a simple product description and little else, the final output may end up rigid, inflexible, and lacking.
5. Pay Special Attention to Security
The last thing you want as a company, regardless of your industry, is a major security issue. When outsourcing software engineering tasks, your company is at risk as it deals with security concerns—hence the need to protect your intellectual property.
Every year, companies invest more and more in IT security because they understand that a single data leak or security breach can damage their name and reputation.
The most important step to reduce such risks is hiring a software engineering company that provides a clear security policy. Do your research and check if your offshore partner complies with all standard security regulations, and they can show you the certification to prove it.
6. Find a Team with Relevant Technological Expertise
Outsourcing your software engineering project gives you access to a vast pool of fresh talent from all over the world. And while we all crave creativity and praise out-of-the-box thinking, there’s no replacing experience and expertise. You need to find an outsourcing company that has both the experience you expect from an established agency and the expertise to handle most any project you ask of them.
7. Consider the Company Size Before Hiring
Every company expects the best from their outsourcing partner. Unsurprisingly, many of us unconsciously subscribe to the “bigger is better” belief, and it shows when newer business owners naturally gravitate towards a larger software engineering team or outsourcing agency.
However, you’ll find that seasoned project managers prefer to collaborate with medium-sized outsourcing agencies. Why? Because bigger companies almost always cater to a large number of clients. The more staff they have, the more customers they can handle.
Since medium-sized agencies don’t have as many clients to cater to, their efforts are focused almost exclusively on you. For companies that require the utmost care and attention to detail for their project, this is a godsend.
All in all, there is no clear-cut solution to eliminating all potential risks when you outsource your software engineering tasks. However, there are dozens of measures you can take to effectively reduce or potentially eliminate your risks. Hopefully, the tips we’ve listed here will prove helpful to you when deciding how to best mitigate those risks.