7 Helpful Tips for Making Your Software Outsourcing a Success


Outsourcing software development is a tricky challenge. Every business leader who takes this move wants the process to go smoothly, be both budget and time effective and all in all to be a success.

To reach this goals you have to understand this process, realize that you should be proactive and become essential part of this software development mechanism for its perfect performance.

In this post you will be invited backstage and guided through the internal workings. You will get useful tips on how to behave at the different contact points to put software development life cycle right in the palm of your hand and get the most out of this venture.
Let's begin.
Tip 1:

Being a part of the project team is essential. It's you who examine the product on different stages. It's you who approve it. Does it meet your requirements? Is it user friendly? It's your project and you are responsible for its success. From the beginning to the end you should be in a close contact with the provider.
Project Management

Before entering business relations make sure vendor of your choice has project management. It is a must for IT development and is necessary for your comfort. Project management lets a provider run the project smoothly and move gradually towards the end product.

Find out how often the provider will report to you on the project success and get your feedback. Interaction frequency usually depends on the model to perform software development process. And it should be negotiated with the client.

Waterfall and agile are the most commonly used models. Waterfall is strict and good for big business projects. Agile is much more flexible and suitable for small and medium sized companies. This model is aimed to get maximum feedback from the client and has the ability to change development direction easily.
"We usually combine "waterfall" and "agile". Such approach protects both our clients and us from risks to exceed time and budget limits. Every two weeks we report on the progress made and get client's feedback throughout the process. We always try to find a compromise deciding what to adjust in early iterations to prevent snowballing in future."
Polina Pushkareva
Project manager
Aspirity, Ltd
Phases of Software Development Process

The phases and their number may differ in IT companies in one or another way. There are five basic phases of software development process:

  1. Initial consultation
  2. Prototyping
  3. Development
  4. Testing & stabilisation
  5. Delivery & Go-live

1. Initial Consultation

Everything starts when you reach out to a provider. You can make a call, send a letter or just fill the form on provider's website and the manager will get in touch with you within company's working hours.

It's also possible to have the initial consultation via Skype. The consultation is completely free and without any obligations.

You may send technical project or just express your idea and list specific set of features the future product has to possess. You may also specify the budget.

During the initial consultation you will learn what solutions are the best for you needs and get honest professional advice on how to make the project realisation cost and time effective.

If you are not tech-savvy IT specialists will explain everything to you in plain language to make consultation more comfortable for you.
Tip 2:

Express your business goals properly. Be straight on project usefulness and its strategic steps. Why do you need this application? The reason you've decided to build this software is of a great importance. What technologies would you prefer? How users should behave? Who are those users?

For example, you need Personal Finance Software. Be clear about your target audience. A finance software for housewives will greatly differ from one for businessmen. The budgets and time limits for completing these two projects will vary substantially. Provider needs to know all these things to create perfect product for you.
2. Prototyping

This phase consists of requirement gathering, analysing, creating technical project and designing. Be clear on your business goals, your current processes, your budget limits.
All your comments will be carefully examined and by the end of this phase you will get detailed design (or interactive design) of your future product.

"Analytics is of a high priority in our work: we figure out all the requirements and business processes, make marketing, strategic and tech analysis. We make technical project and design, glossary of terms and user manual. We plan every step of our work, agree on the functionality, time-limits and the price. Then we conclude an agreement."
Dmitry Ivannikov
Business-analyst
Aspirity, Ltd
Tip 3:

IT IS A BIG DEAL. Technical project review is the most important point at this phase. Read technical project very carefully. Check it on inconsistencies with your expectations and requirements. Same for the agreement. Check if everything works for you to prevent misunderstanding in later project phases. Stay focused for your product success.

So you approve technical project and mock-up, conclude an agreement and make the upfront payment. And here the real work starts.


3. Development

At this phase team gets together at the instructional meeting.
Project manager determines the task pool and provides the crew with the general outline of the project, points out clear directions, assigns roles according to the project map and set time limits.

Every team player gets clear understanding of the project and everyone gets to work with the end product in mind. The coding begins and web experts throw themselves into the process of developing.
"Our products meet requirements set to the projects of new generation. Every two weeks we demonstrate the progress of our work so the customer is always aware of the latest project development updates."
Denis Zavershinskiy
Teamleader
Aspirity, Ltd
4. Testing & Stabilisation

Testing is essential step in the whole development process. To get a bug-free software solution it has to be thoroughly tested. In case there are any imperfection in the system it goes back to the coders for further work. Testing and bug fixing is repeated till the system is sharp. Then Demo is presented to the customer.
Tip 4:

Every two weeks you will be presented with project Demo version. You will be provided with the username and the password to try the system. It's done to let you hold your hand on the project pulse and to amend any system imbalances at the early stages. Try it. Seriously. Try it and ask questions. Examine everything properly and give vendor maximum feedback. It is time effective.
"We ensure effective quality control, work out the documentation and monitor the product's implementation. We take care of the product efficiency and robustness and ensure the end-product compliance with all the standards and requirements."
Alexandra Postovalova
Quality Engineer
Aspirity, Ltd
The stabilisation phase occurs right before the deployment. Final system running is tested. And when everything works fine the process moves to the Go-live phase.
5. Delivery & Go-live

Well-defined bug-free product that meets all the requirements is deployed on your server and starts running. You are provided with all necessary documentation and instructions on how the system should be launched and operated.
Tip 5:

It is a good idea to involve one of your employees to the software development process. This way you will get a responsible person who will be informed of product nuances and taught to use the system. It will play right into your hands in future.

So the system runs fine. The client is satisfied. The project is closed. And everyone is happy.
Feedback

After the project is finished it is important to give feedback on service satisfaction. Being a part of software development process you have what to say. Good software development provider has to ask you for the feedback and have special form for your comfort.

According to this final interview software company can evaluate the quality of their performance, draw appropriate conclusions, improve their work and provide you next time with even better service.
Tip 6:

Give your vendor timely feedback after the product is done. Tell them how pleased you were with their work. This information will help development company to deliver even better service that meets your expectations next time.
Warranty

Vendor takes responsibility for the product's quality. As a rule software company guides the system during the warranty period providing client with consultations and debugging existing errors that can be detected even after the software deployment is over.

Support

When you need weekly or monthly data loading to server, system upgrades or adding new features to your product it is possible to conclude an additional agreement to perform this sort of works.


CONCLUSION

The process of software development is a complex business. It has to be planned and managed thoroughly. And continuous dialogue between you and provider has to take place during the whole process of development.
Tip 7:

Remember that process of software development is a team work and you are the essential part of this mechanism. You should be considerate and focused. You should cooperate with the provider. If you will not be engaged into the life of the project the things will not work out. You have to be ready to play at your best for the project success.


We hope this post was helpful to you.
Do you have any experience outsourcing your software development to a third party provider? Have you faced any problems? Did you find these tips useful? Share your thoughts with us. Ask questions.
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