How to Choose a Software Development Outsourcing Partner?
Choosing a software development outsourcing partner isn’t an easy task even though your Google searches have millions of results. The truth is the market is flooded with options and cracking which company best fits our needs is easier said than done.
We believe that a good fit between the contractor and the provider is the cornerstone for a good partnership. But how can we know which outsourcing partner is right for us?
We have figured out the main areas you should look into when selecting your software development partner. In our opinion, it’s important to search both for technical expertise and technical fit with your requirements; you should look for skills to facilitate collaboration; and you should make sure you find someone with a development mindset that is aligned with yours.
We don’t have a magical recipe, but we do know what questions you should ask to narrow your options and select the software partner with whom you can develop a long-term and reliable relationship.
So, here it is! Five key questions you should ask when you are searching for a software development outsourcing partner:
#1 What projects have you been working on lately?
Ask for their portfolio to better understand the scope and complexity of their projects and how they have contributed to business challenges and technical problems.
Simultaneously, you’ll have a better knowledge of what technologies and methodologies they are used to work with. It’s not necessary that the projects are exactly as yours, or that the technologies are exactly the same, but you will get a sense if they will be ready to help you with the challenges you have.
#2 How do you deal with communication?
Communication is of paramount importance for the success of any project. Developing software without clear communication can lead to misunderstandings on project requirements and deliverables.
So, look for key elements such as language proficiency and cultural similarities. And don’t compromise in none of them. It’s important to understand each other, but it’s even more relevant to understand the “why” behind expectations, guidelines, and standards.
Be sure to know what channels they use for daily communications and how they dealt with communication problems in the past.
In the end, don’t expect the ongoing communication during the project to be better than the one you experienced during the negotiation. If it does not feel like it’s working right now it probably will not work going forward. It’s better to learn it sooner rather than later.
#3 How do you describe your company culture?
We can learn a lot about a company by the way they operate on a day-to-day basis. These are the people who you’ll work with and share the responsibility of your business. So, look for healthy hiring, training, and retention practices!
Look for companies that you can relate to. Look for people who share your values. You should trust them to help you solve your problems, but you should also be able to trust them when things don’t go as planned. When you’re aligned, it’s easier to get more out of outsourcing and overcome any obstacle.
#4 What development methodology do you usually use?
Goals without a plan are just a wish. Software development without a method is just a mess! Look for companies that have structured processes and development stages. Yet, flexibility is fundamental.
Find a company that can adapt to your “way of doing things”, but can still be bold to recommend you new ways to enhance the productivity. Methodologies like Agile, Kaban, and Scrum can significantly improve your efficiency. If you don’t work with these methodologies yet, be open! Outsourcing partners can speed up changes within those organizations that have the audacity and skills to leap over the technology chasm.
#5 Are you open for an MVP?
All the tough questions are done. Now you want to know if you can work together. A great way to assess if both parties are aligned is to start small. Maybe you can begin your project with an MVP (minimum viable product).
Besides being able to quickly bring your product to market and get feedback from real users, you can evaluate how your partner is working. And if anything goes unplanned, you’ll be able to minimize the loss of time and financial resources.
Ask questions but do your homework
Part of this process involves some research work. Check out their website, what they do and how they present themselves. And remember, you can’t expect to find a company that does everything and has experience in everything (that would be a red flag, by the way!). Look for companies hungry to improve and with a problem-solving mindset. That is the type of partner who will make your life easier. And if you have a tech team, involve them in this process.
Another key element of this decision is obviously costs. But, don’t be tempted by low prices. Quality has its costs, and low prices are usually a shortcut to problems, which typically add to expenses later on. Look for the whole cost and not only for the lowest rates.
Finally, you want to find a partner who you can build a healthy and trustworthy relationship. You should be able to sit down and talk as if you were friends. That’s the type of partnerships we build at Near Partner. And that’s the partnership we think you should aim to.
Are you looking for an outsourcing partner? In your experience, what other questions do you think should be asked? Share your thoughts with us.