14 Steps to Choose a Software Development Partner in 2021
With 2020 well upon us now, the inevitability of new software projects comes as new budgets are released, and focuses are shifted for the new year. Outsourcing parts, or all of your software development team is becoming a lot more viable, but doing it right comes down to ensuring you cover all the details.
Depending on the kind of software project you are looking to work on, how you source and work with a development partner can be quite different. It’s important to follow a defined process when choosing to use outsourcing resources, this way you can maintain control over the quality of work you receive.
Let’s go over some of the things to do when you decide to remotely outsource your software development. This guide intends to cover all aspects of your outsourcing process. Use it to shape your process and hire the best remote talent.
14 Things to Do to Ensure you get the Best Software Development Partner is 2020:
1. Assess your Project
Before beginning your search for partners, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate your project, taking steps to consider how outsourcing will factor into it. Break down your goals for this specific project, and try to quantify specific benchmarks that you want to hit with it.
Take a step back and define reasons you are choosing to outsource parts, or all of your project. Having a solid understanding of this can make sure you are doing it for all the right reasons. Is it related to costs of in-house development? Make sure to budget an appropriate amount of funds to acquire high-quality talent. Are you lacking certain skills from your staff? Make sure to clearly communicate the skills you are seeking when you are searching for a new outsourcing partner.
These are all important questions to ask yourself when assessing your project. Take some time to also consider things like:
2. Define the Project Scope
Set clear goals and expectations for what you want your finished project to look like. Frame the exact requirements for you to be satisfied with your project, ensuring to maintain realistic expectations. Take into account the resources you plan on using so you can have a solid understanding of what is possible.
To get a visual outlook at what your project will look like, it might be useful to craft mock-ups and visual layouts of your software in this planning stage. It may sound like a lot of work, but this can be especially useful when presenting your proposed project to potential partners. Having a clearly defined visual vision has much more potential to outline your project than loosely described ideas.
3. Define the Time-frame of the Project
For this part, you are going to want to determine when you are looking to have your project done by. First, come up with a date in which you want your project finished. Sometimes with software it’s hard to determine when something is “done”, but for the sake of hiring outsourced talent, create goals that define a deliverable final project for you and your team, accompanied by a due date.
Sometimes it can be hard to come up with definitive time-frames if you are lacking in software development experience. If you are having trouble defining your project in time-based goals, don’t be afraid to rely on your development partner to help you plan out this aspect of your project.
Once you have an idea of how much time you need to accomplish your overarching project goals, you can begin to break down your project into parts. It can be helpful for some project managers to set out a general outline of how long each module, or part of your software project should take to complete. A lot of this can change as you begin to collaborate with an outsourcing partner, so be prepared to be flexible.
4. Define the Budget
To get a clear understanding of what level of development outsourcing you will be able to take advantage of, take some time to lay out your budget for the year. Determine how much of your budget makes sense to allocate to outsourced development resources. It can be very helpful to try and analyze your project to know how valuable it is, this can help you craft a budget that makes sense for your securing your development partner. If you are having trouble putting these figures together, don’t hesitate to collaborate with your chosen partner to determine a reasonable cost-structure.
For sourcing quality outsourced technical talent, money isn’t everything but it certainly matters. Prioritize quality over quantity when budgeting for outsourced developers, it is advisable choosing to outsource to budget for a reasonable amount of high-quality developers. This way you can have more confidence that your results will be satisfactory, and you can still maintain full control over the project if you wish.
5. Plan the Staff Resources
When planning your project, don’t forget to factor in the effect that outsourcing will have on your internal staff. Map out how your staff will be affected by outsourcing parts of your operations. Consider whether you will need to utilize your own, other managers, or internal developers time and energy in order to coordinate with your outsourced team and complete the project. It can be helpful here to estimate how many hours of work different aspects of the project will take from your various staff. Doing this will help you strategically plan out how your project will affect your broader companies operations.
Having a clear understanding of how your staff will interact with your outsourced team, and how their responsibilities and tasks will shift to accommodate your changing process. This is especially important for communicating change to your staff.
Here’s an example: Tim, a systems manager is responsible for all of our companies server infrastructure. We have decided to overhaul our backend systems, and are using staff outsourced from Brazil to do this. Tim will need to provide support to the outsourced talent, and this will take him away from other aspects of his job. This must be communicated to him so he can modify his routine, and potentially delegate some of his responsibilities to somebody else internally.
Being able to integrate outsourcing into your companies process and overarching structure can have large effects on workflow. Considering all internal staff is important when planning to rely on outsourcing your software project.
6. Define Technical Stack
In order to begin thinking about outsourcing some of your software project, you need to have a clear picture of what your tech-stack will look like. This will help you seek talent that is qualified to handle the technical needs of what you are trying to build.
Identify which programming languages you will be using for your software project. List them, and consider making a brief list describing what extent they will be used within your proposed project. This will help you communicate your needs with potential partners and find the best developers for your project. It can also make it easier to create a job-posting that clearly communicates your projects needs. Something that might read like:
Having a clearly communicated technical stack for your project makes it leagues easier to find the right partner for the job. Ensure you test their knowledge thoroughly through other methods mentioned in this article such as technical tests, credential checks, and reviewing their portfolio.
7. Consider Different Types of Outsourcing
Now that you have the scope of your project defined, it’s time to start planning how you will outsource developers. There are several ways to do this, in how you acquire the developers, and how the project in managed.
The first decision you need to make is simple:
8. Staff Augmentation or Project-Based?
How your outsourced development project plays out totally depends on this. Here's the difference between the two:
Outsourcing using staff augmentation, you take on external developers for a contracted amount of time. These staff are managed and overseen by your internal management, and ideally work closely together with the rest of the team.
Using staff augmentation has a multitude of advantages, including being able to contract and expand your talent as your project progresses. Some enjoy the power this brings to maintain a lot more control over all aspects of your project, stay flexible with the scale at which your outsource, and oversee all final decisions in the project. Finding a partner that offers these advantages is paramount to maintaining quality and having full-control over the end-result of your project.
Want a software development partner that has the flexibility to contract and expand a high-quality remote team as your project needs change? Let’s talk.
If you decide to instead use a Project-Based outsourcing model, you will hand over control of the project to your development partner. Reduced control works for some people, but this model requires more scrutiny when choosing a partner. Handing over the responsibility of managing your entire project requires maximum assurance that your partner is credible and experienced. Consider getting to know any partners you take on who you plan on using with this model of outsourcing. Trust is key here.
9. Location of Outsourced Talent: Onshoring vs. Nearshoring vs. Offshoring
Where you source your development partner from can be quite important. Geographical differences can drastically change how remote teams will work for you. Factors like language, time zone differences, and culture can have a large impact on how smoothly working with your development partner will be. Take all of this into consideration when choosing who to work with.
These are a few different types of location-based outsourcing:
This involves you sourcing remote-talent from within your country. If you live in highly-developed, first-world nations like the United States or the UK, this is by far the most expensive way to outsource. Though expensive, onshoring can allow you to have almost no barriers to a smooth remote-work experience. No worries about time-zones or language-barriers makes onshoring a great choice for companies that have extra resources to get their project done smoothly. Considering all of this, if you have a limited budget consider checking out the other options.
This is when you source remote-talent from nearby countries. This allows you to tap into lower salary expectations, while retaining timezone similarities. Often times nearshoring allows for a remote work environment with no issues with language or cultural barriers. An example of nearshoring would be a company in the United States outsourcing talent from a country like Canada, Mexico. Nearshoring can be a great compromise for a lot of companies wishing to outsource talent in an affordable way, while still retaining a smooth development experience.
A lot of American companies have started outsourcing development from countries in South America like Brazil, Argentina, and Peru. High-quality English, plus very affordable prices for high quality developers have made these countries a much more attractive option for nearshoring development as of lately.
This is outsourcing development to distant countries with very low costs like India or China. This can be an alluring option for companies wishing to achieve large amounts of work for small amounts of money, but can also come with a series of risks and hurdles to deal with. As an inverse to onshoring and nearshoring, offshoring involves time zone differences and language barriers. It can be harder to secure actual quality talent when using offshoring because there is a massive surplus in talent. Despite this, not all offshore development partners have these issues, and a lot of the downsides can be less of a problem for companies that require less control with their software projects. If you find yourself leaning towards a Project-Based outsourcing model, offshoring might be a good option for you.
Factor these different models into your outsourcing plan when undertaking your next software project. If you were having trouble planning your scope, whether that be budget or time-frame, having a good idea of what types of outsourcing you will be doing can help you come up with these figures easier.
10. Compare Potential Partners
At this point you should hopefully have a firm understanding of how outsourcing will be implemented into your company's structure. Once you have a clear picture of this, then it makes sense to start a search for your next partner.
Where you find your partner can vary greatly, there are countless places to search for developers for hire. The place you find your talent can have a large effect on things like price and reliability.
Consider these different places to source tech talent and notice their differences:
11. Research the Marketplaces
Going to a marketplace online essentially entails you using a web-based platform that simplifies the process of connecting with talent. They allow individuals to sell their services, and streamline the process of communication and payment through their platform. There are numerous places to do this and the prices and quality vary.
Websites like Fiverr (Cheap, harder to find top talent), Upwork (Moderately expensive) and Toptal (Very expensive, high-quality talent) all make the process of finding a developer easy, though results can vary with quality, and flexibility isn’t often these platforms strong suits.
We compare some of the most popular marketplaces with our software development firm in this article.
12. Hiring A Software Development Firm
Sometimes you need more of a managed touch to your outsourced operations. When this is the case, it makes sense to hire a development firm to take on your projects needs.
Doing this can allow for a lot more flexibility with how you can grow and shrink your remote-based team, and allow the firm to do a lot of the internal management of their employees. Hiring through a firm is a fantastic way to ensure you are getting high-quality talent, and allows you to have as much, or as little control over your outsourced team as you want.
A lot of firms can be pricey, but some great smaller development firms like Trio have come onto the scene and are shaking things up with affordable pricing schemes while retaining a premium experience.
If it makes sense for you, a software development firm can make a huge difference development speed, and the level of quality work your project gets from your outsourcing efforts.
13. Contact and Evaluate
Once you know what type of partner you are looking for, it’s time to make contact. Being able to actually talk to your potential partner should give you some sort of idea as to how well you can work together. Pay attention to how well they communicate, and take it into account in making your decision to hire them or not.
Interviewing all your potential partners will allow you to narrow down top candidates. You can start to take advantage of creative methods of narrowing down your top choices for talent like coding challenges. These can determine whether your potential partner has what it takes to take on your project, and are great ways of selecting the absolute best candidate.
A lot of software development firms, and a few marketplaces will allow you to trial their developers for a certain period of time. This can be a very handy policy to take advantage of if you really want to put your development partner to the test. Having a policy like this in place is good assurance that the partner you are about to hire has true confidence in their staff to do the job right.
14. Hire That Partner
Once you have decided on your next partner, and the parameters for the project are set, all that's left to do now is prepare the contracts to be signed. These are exciting times. Make sure to keep consistent contact with your outsourcing partner after contracts are signed, and align on next steps as to when the project can be started.
Once you have thoroughly gone through this “outsourcing to-do list”, you should have a clearer understanding of how to find your ideal partner this year. Hiring your next partner can be a big step for a lot of companies, as finding an outsourcing partner that vibes really well with your organization can make a huge positive impact on your development processes. By partnering with a firm or developer who is flexible, and affordable, you empower yourself and your company by accelerating development and reducing costs.
If you need help with your next software project, don’t hesitate to reach out. We work with various scales of companies with our qualified developers, and have many key benefits including US-centric timezone and affordable pricing. Get in touch
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With 2020 well upon us now, the inevitability of new software projects comes as new budgets are released, and focuses are shifted for the new year. Outsourcing parts, or all of your software development team is becoming a lot more viable, but doing it right comes down to ensuring you cover all details. Depending on the kind of software project you are looking to work on, how you source and work with a development partner can be quite different. It’s important to follow a defined process when choosing to use outsourcing resources, this way you can maintain control over the quality of work you receive.