Welcome to Software outsourcing hacks - a blog series in which we discuss software development project outsourcing tips and tricks. If you are new to this series, I suggest you to have a look at the earlier blog posts here and here.
Software development outsourcing has always been around and yet it’s one of the most daunting task of the Project Manager.
To choose the right supplier in the sea of pesky, aggressive emails, phone calls and Skype connection requests which won’t take NO for an answer is a painful process.
Don’t you wish it could be as easy as Rock Paper and Scissors? Let me assure you, it is easier when you pay attention to these basics.
The Rock - Cost
We all have done it! choosing something purely based on cost. Cause that’s the rock, that’s the most important entity that we are answerable to stake holders. And when the cost is lower everyone is happy, well except for the supplier. Yet, you must resist!
It is important to know your budget when you are outsourcing software development project. Often, I have seen clients starting with a project with no idea of what their budget is.
1. When you have no clear idea of how much your budget for the project is, then you rely on the costing provided by the 3 different suppliers.
2. When you choose one of the supplier purely based on the cost, you don’t consider the pros and cons of the supplier.
3. If you do choose the higher cost supplier based on cost, hoping that cost would translate to quality then you are making a huge assumption.
Studies say there is little or no difference between the service offered by suppliers who quote medium cost and higher cost
Hence, it is important to look for quality and compare the quality when you are choosing between 3 suppliers. Find out their strengths, their experience, track records and clarity of the proposal.
The Paper - Partnership
Low cost, affordable solutions, quick turnaround, experienced team are the slogans which suppliers would identify themselves with. While these are important elements, the most important aspect is you are picking a development team, a partner to work for this project and probably for projects in the future. Even if you think you don’t need any future contracts with the supplier, think about maintenance of the project that you are outsourcing. Surely you don’t want people with “do and forget” approach.
Choose a partner instead of one time supplier. Even if you think you have found the “one” for your project, try to re asses the supplier in terms of quality, communication with in the team, their development model, approach to problem etc.
The Scissors – Research
Judging the supplier by their website is like judging the book by its cover. Remember there are hundreds free and paid templates which can make the site look cooler and high tech. Probably the only thing you can conclude from the site is their UI/UX and ability. Perhaps look at the blog and their technical / non-technical contents.
Go deeper and understand more about the company, the culture and the people. Look for review, and past clients and the quality of the solutions. Is the supplier flexible with changing requirements or rigid and focus on cost implications alone? is the supplier dependable?
Finally, meet them face to face or have skype calls if you both are not from the same location. Ask your questions to the real people. There’s nothing that can replace face to face talk. I wish you all the best in choosing the right supplier for your next software development outsourcing. If you have questions please feel free to contact me here.
Business Analyst - Snr Software Consultant.