Acc. to Statista, in 2018, the global outsourcing market amounted to 85.6 billion U.S. dollars. Cost savings, access to global talent, faster time to market, prioritizing core activities, etc. being the most popular reasons for it. But, when software outsourcing fails, most of the time, the aforementioned reasons have nothing to do with its failure.
Working with an offshore software team demands attention, communication, and effective management. It is pivotal to remember that outsourcing is more of a relationship than a process.
Being in the software outsourcing industry for almost 8 years now, I created a five-point list of the mistakes to avoid while outsourcing software development.
Mistake #1: Lack of research
Lack of research and due-diligence about your potential software vendors raises your software project failure percentage exponentially. Let’s be honest – You don’t know anything about the outsourcing firms and there is a high chance that you’ll not have coffee with them in the long run either.
This is why due diligence is important! Research your providers as significant value is involved in outsourcing software both in terms of time and money. Start with googling your potential firms. See their reviews on independent third party forums. Take a look at the testimonials that they have on their website. Ask for references when you talk to them.
Also, take a deep look into whether they know your industry. If you are a medical pioneer, you don’t want to hire someone who has no idea what the medical industry is about. With an overview of the industry and working experience, it is easier for both your software outsourcing company as well as you to fit together.
Mistake #2: Unclear project requirements
Out of all the common reasons for software outsourcing failure, ‘Client Has Unclear requirements’ is by far the most common outsourcing challenge. For an ideal requirement analysis, it is of utmost importance that the person-in-charge of the project has a clear vision of the end-goal and the requirement of the software.
A requirement analysis directly shows what features, attributes, functionalities, and properties of the software are required to be implemented. This is the most crucial phase of any project. If you are making an app, list all the features you would want your app to have and also the objective of those features. Discuss with your software team and understand the complete flow. If there are two endpoints A and B, make sure both you and your team know the complete flow from A to B and document it.
Documenting requirements help developers work better and faster and also acts as a holy grail for both you and the software team to fall back on in case of a dispute. If the requirement analysis phase goes wrong, the final quote and time estimates will largely vary from the ones that will be provided to you initially.
Mistake #3: Underestimating Quality Assurance
The aim of spending loads of money in software development is to first and foremost ensure the quality of the software. Good software means fewer bugs, an intuitive UI and solid logic in the backend, addressing all use cases.
The quality of software can be ensured by rigorous testing of the software from day one. Your software has a hundred components and even more, user flows. It’s important to make sure each of them works before the software goes live.
Neglecting QA from the initial phase means knowingly taking a huge risk. If bugs creep in when your software is live and you have actual users working on it, testing and debugging gets complicated, time-consuming, costly and worse, it makes you look bad to your end customers.
Software quality assurance saves you money as well as clients. It prevents catastrophic corporate emergencies, ensures great user experience and finally, promotes the organization, its productivity, and efficiency.
Mistake #4: Poor communication
Clear-cut communication between the outsourcer and the outsourced is critical. From describing your requirements to receiving the software, make communication a priority and don’t let it get lost somewhere along the way.
Always get yourself a single point of contact, establish multiple communication channels, be proactive and ask for updates. When you get updates, review them religiously and provide suggestion feedback.
Don’t blame communication failure on cultural differences or time zone differences. If you went uncommunicative for a few days and expected that you were tacit with your requirements, you are the reason why the communication failed.
Mistake #5: Micromanaging
While going completely silent doesn’t help, dictating everything doesn’t help either. Dictating and micromanaging every process makes your software team feel inefficient and incompetent. Also, it prevents the team from brainstorming new ideas, following the latest trends and technologies, and incorporating them into your software.
Don’t get me wrong here – Transparency in a software development process is good, micromanagement is bad. Keeping tabs on where your project stands and what features are yet to be done is a must-do. But, asking the developers why a particular component will take so much time or pinging every hour for updates demotivates and demoralizes the team. This, in turn, will discourage your team from making decisions and end in your software project being a failure.
On average, 33% of software projects overrun their predicted schedule and almost 66% of software projects overrun the predicted cost due to poor planning. Don’t let these stats define your software project! Avoid these 5 mistakes when you are getting started with outsourcing and see the software project sail smoothly.