31 Jan 2019

13 Problems You Can Avoid When Growing Your Outsourced Software Team

“If you deprive yourself of outsourcing and your competitors do not, you’re putting yourself out of business” said Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister and founding father of Singapore.

“If you deprive yourself of outsourcing and your competitors do not, you’re putting yourself out of business” said Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister and founding father of Singapore. At IT Teams, we really do not want to see you out of business. Application development and software development in general can be difficult to handle at times. Let us help you develop your innovations into a successful business

We’ve been helping Fortune 500 companies, solopreneurs, and start ups develop their products and services for over 20 years. Having worked with hundreds of clients all over the world, we wanted to share some important pitfalls to avoid when growing your  software team.

Define your goals

What is it that you’re looking for? Is it a dedicated team? Maybe a custom application development project?Are you looking for a long-term or a short-term solution?

There are a lot of questions you can ask about the type of team you’ll need to reach your goals. Remember, you want to optimize your processes and get the best results. The first step is always asking the right questions. This will allow you to get clear answers that will help you make more informed decisions.

Decide on a pricing model

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” This is a quote from Warren Buffett, one of the world’s most successful investors and a pricing guru in his own right.

What this means is that you should avoid starting with the assumption that the lowest price is the best price. What you are looking for is the best value. Don’t choose based on the lowest cost, choose based on your return on investment. This is how your make profit at the end of the day.

For example, an outsourcer in Asia might give you a pretty attractive low quote. Later on, you might find that part of that was a weak NDA, which in turn can lead to breaches of confidentiality, lack of trust, and, ultimately failure. On the other hand, EU has the GDPR, the strongest data protection regulation in the world at the moment. Romania, for example, also boasts an amazing broadband speed, among the fastest globally. The quotes will not be as low as in Asia, but still reasonable cost of living and a booming economy have already determined several IT giants – IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Dell, UbiSoft among them – to open shop over here.

Choose the outsourced application development provider best suited to your needs

This can’t be emphasized enough. Research is very important here. There are many vendors out there, but what you’re looking for is quality, communication, experience, and expertise. These are not empty words; this is the difference between success and failure. You want to know with whom you will be working and you need to be able to trust your business partners. Together you will turn innovations into achievements.

Make sure there is a proper and solid contract covering all the aspects in cause

Legal matters are not fun in general, but when we talk about application development and software in general, this can be a real problem. Remember, you depend on well-drawn contracts to define the rights and obligations of all parties. This way, you will never have to worry about failed deadlines and unclear requirements – it’s all laid down in your framework agreement, SLAs, or master service agreements.

Prepare your in-house professionals for the upcoming changes

You want everyone to get along if you want everything to run smoothly. Time zones and languages may vary, and there may be many cultural differences. Make sure your core team is prepared on all accounts. They will have to work efficiently with the remote teams and without resentment. Hold meetings, ask for their opinions, and decide on potential communication models together. Explain the overall benefits for everyone and try to leave no man or woman behind. This way you will ensure a friendly environment, free of hiccups, and conducive to a wonderful partnership on all sides.

Define your communication model

This might well be the single most important aspect to your success. Communicate, communicate, and then communicate some more! Establish proper communication channels, schedule meetings, enable everyone to share opinions, emphasize the importance of follow-ups and prompt replies. Encourage everyone to be open and contribute. This will ensure efficiency and good teamwork maybe more than anything will.

Agile,Scrum, and Skype…there are plenty of options

Set up a proper hierarchy

At the same time, you do not want to do everything by yourself. You cannot. Nor is it a good idea to overwhelm one person with every single decision, major or minor. Micromanagement is bad, clearly defined roles and structures are good. A major factor in the success of any project is through organizations. The better people understand what their part is, the more efficiently they will handle their tasks.

Make sure you have a solid project management team for your project(s)

Always assign the right task to the right person. Sure, in your application development team there are experienced developers who could perform as a project manager. Of course, there are marketing people who know some programming. These are the exceptions, however. Make sure you know your team and everybody is supposed to do what they do best. Clearly state your expectations and match them with the person you’ll be working with..

Use proper software development methodology

Schedule, milestones, release, these words should become your mantra. Everything needs a proper schedule. “Soon” and “ASAP,” or “stat” and “next week” will just not cut it.  Talk to your teams, encourage them to talk to each other, break down the project into tasks that can be quantified and time assessed..

Testing and coding standards, teamwork and documentation, these will become your best friends as you confidently navigate the challenges of a successful project.

Make sure you set up quality assurance processes as per the industry standard

In tight correlation with the above come the QA processes. This one should be easy. How sure are you that your product is absolutely perfect? Because it probably isn’t. Do you want the end user to be the final judge of your beta version? Because users usually expect top quality “out of the box”. Do you think that automated testing will solve all of your problems? Because it might, at the cost of countless bugs – of various importance – that will have to be fixed yesterday.

Set up proper testing and proper QA processes and procedures. This is the best way to avoid unpleasant time and money-consuming surprises.

Communicate, trust, and commit

We have already mentioned how important communication and trust are for any positive outcome of a project. It is a question of partnership and teamwork, and the only way you can nurture any relationship is to show trust and commitment, to communicate openly, and to be honest. Give to the others what you expect the others to give to you.

There is no other better way to avoid mistakes stemming from the lack of communication or trust.

Match your expectations to what is possible

Dreams and deadlines have nothing in common. Do not assume that just because “it should be possible” it necessarily is. Make sure you express your wishes clearly and wait for the feedback of your management team. “Wednesday” may seem like an option, but do not set it into stone.

Many a project have failed because the team manager was too afraid to speak up against “Wednesday”. Make sure you have the trust of your team. Listen to them and weigh your options. Make decisions rationally and do not ask for the impossible. Otherwise, you will make it impossible for them to deliver.

Continuous evaluations and assessment

Do not leave anything to chance; the stakes are, after all, high. As the team and the project get bigger, the stakes will continue to get higher. To best way to prevent failure is to constantly make sure that everything is running as it should. What worked last month might hit a snag tomorrow. The more people need to work together, the more snags might occur. Set up constant assessments for people and processes. Find out what might happen before it happens and you will always be prepared.

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