Are You Asking the Right Questions About Software Outsourcing?

Software Outsourcing

Are You Asking the Right Questions About Software Outsourcing?

Often, the internal software engineering team in a small or medium organization lacks the capacity to handle IT development projects. It becomes necessary for the company to consider the advantages of software outsourcing. However, there is a process that your company can go through first to determine if outsourcing is appropriate. There are also questions you can consider before choosing the right freelancer or software outsourcing provider.

Why Go Through the Process of Asking the Right Questions

Before you decide to outsource, it’s important to ask some important questions. These focus on whether the proposed IT project will take your software engineers away from fulfilling your organization’s core competencies. Forbes.com contributor Jim Blasingame recommends asking these three questions: “How much control do we lose, and can we live with it? What impact will our decision have on customers? How much of not using outsourcing is about ego?” These questions help you decide whether it is feasible to trust an outside provider to perform the work without hurting the company.

Considering the Results

After looking at these questions, your company may conclude that there are not enough hours available in each IT person’s work schedule to devote to the project. You might conclude that it would take too long to hire new IT employees to add to the project, which would prevent it from getting started on time. These types of conclusions will prompt you to outsource, but your company’s reputation is at stake. Take the time to find the right external provider.

Choosing a Software Talent Group

Not all IT firms are the same. Some are better than others. You want to find the IT firm with the right price point, but also with a proven record of handling a similar project. You’re turning to an outsourcing provider to create efficiencies within your own organization.

Asking the Tough Questions

Ask prospective IT firms these kinds of tough questions so they can reassure you that the desired efficiencies will be obtained through the business relationship:

1. Will you hire them on a project basis or an hourly basis? The company will either give you a quote for the whole project or elect to bill their software engineering services at an hourly rate. They may have multiple rates, depending on the types of assets they will assign to each aspect of your proposed project.

2. What results have they attained for other companies on similar projects? A company with confidence in its ability to produce software solutions will share its digital portfolio. The firm’s top leadership should not hesitate to give you the contact information for its past satisfied clients. It’s worth taking the time to talk to these contacts and ascertain what experiences they had over the software development life cycle.

3. Do they understand how your project relates to your core business strategy? It’s easy for a firm to go through multiple iterations in the lean development process and generate a software solution for your organization. It’s a matter of getting software engineers to focus on the project. However, the result could differ radically from what you envisioned and may not help your company execute your business strategy. That’s why the early process of reaching a mutual understanding of the project’s scope and objectives will help you determine if that firm is a good fit.

The entire process of outsourcing requires regular communication between your firm and the external provider. Instruct your internal IT people not to interfere with the progress of the project by providing conflicting information to external software developers. They need clear messages on your business needs so they can quickly move through the software development process.

For more ideas on what to watch for when choosing a software outsourcing provider, please contact us today.