Outsourcing your software development needs can yield endless benefits for your business practice. It opens a whole new world outside of your home country giving you the opportunity to bring in outside perspective and experience, as well as cutting price tags and increasing your bottom line. For these reasons, you have probably either considered outsourcing or have made it a resident part of your business model. But whether you are still exploring or have had your share of experience with outsourcing, it is essential that you ensure your practices are precise and are going to improve your business climate rather than cause you unnecessary headaches. To help you do this, we’ve created a checklist of mistakes that you should avoid when outsourcing software development:
Do your due diligence
Just because a software company is based outside of the US doesn’t mean that it’s not subject to the same scrutiny as its American counterparts. Ask around when looking to partner with a developer from another country. Recommendations are the best way to ensure quality if you trust that the recommender is not biased. Go through a regular interview process just as you would in the US (albeit you may be using Skype or some other form of telecommunications).
Be sure you trust your contract
Contracts are contracts, regardless of in which country they originate. The integrity of those contracts is subject to local laws and institutional strength. Know the relationship between your country’s laws and those of your contractors. One way you can start this research is by going on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report. It has a comprehensive ranking of each country’s ease of doing business. But it also breaks these scores down by various types of business interactions, and can help you find anecdotes of these scenarios. No matter how relaxed you feel with your contractor, make sure the contract is crystal clear with deadlines, products, deliverables, and scheduled communication.
Don’t contract someone unless you get along on a personal level
This is not to say that you need to be best friends with your software developer. But when it comes to working in an international setting, it is important that you don’t find yourself working with people or companies that have a completely different sense of what is good business practice. Some cultures, for example, won’t value deadlines and communication as much as the company culture of an American organization. This can make one party feel pressured, while the other party feels blown off.
Don’t outsource too far away if you think you will need to communicate often
If your project is short and you are confident you can do it all from afar, this isn’t as important. But if you think you will need constant communication or some in-person meetings, you may want to consider nearshoring within the hemisphere. For one, the language and time zone barrier will be mitigated. But if you are going to need to meet in person this is even more important. Just one flight to India or Bangladesh could end up costing you an extra $1,000 and a day spent on an airplane.
The benefits of outsourcing software development needs outweigh the risks. For this reason, there are many advocates of this practice, and those who have experience outsourcing generally encourage it. But like anything, there will be negative byproducts if not done with best business practices in mind. So consider and mitigate the potential pitfalls and experience the benefits of outsourcing your software developers.