Software Outsourcing Lessons you MUST Learn for the Desired Outcome
Navigate through these lessons for a successful outsourced project
Remember those group tasks when you took up added responsibilities more than any of your teammates because the topic was closer to your heart? You plugged in end number of extra hours just because you couldn’t entrust the most significant bits to any other.
Building your dream project brick-by-brick in front of your eyes brings in an unmatched level of satisfaction.
But what if you do not have the right skills required for the project or the work is too much for you to handle? You seek help! And this is exactly why you need to outsource for professional projects.
Outsourcing software developers or hiring a dedicated software development team is a crucial decision for any enterprise, but it can give you immense impetus if your firm lacks the required tech expertise.
Most businesses these days house their own IT teams, but more than often, the in-house IT resources are found immersed in maintenance work or are consumed in solving non-IT but related functions, which leaves them with no room for taking on new tasks.
Deciding to outsource a software project can be fuelled by several other reasons. But as a technocrat, my understanding of the CIO says that — most enterprises fear giving up control of their software project.
And there are enough supporting incidents to add to the apprehension when offshore software developers have been responsible (if not wholly) for projects getting tanked.
But 2020 has anyway been a year of disruption right from the start. With the outbreak of COVID and closing down of the geographical borders, even the most traditional of CIO’s have been pushed to re-assess their business processes.
The stringent of rules for data protection have been mellowed down, and enterprises have moved on-premise systems to the remote. This has led to a spur in the trend of hiring remote associates with unmatched skill sets — something traditional CIOs never saw themselves doing even 8 months back!
Outsourcing the right resources can indeed be the wind to your wings for more than one reason, and the right outsourcing partner, your most trusted ally. Take a look at my first-hand experience:
Takeaways from Successful Outsourcing Stories
- Outsourcing is cost-effective:
An in-house team would cause you to spend a considerable amount on the hiring process, onboarding, insurance, and additional benefits, and even on the retention of employees. Other than the recurring annual salary, you end up paying a hefty consultancy fee and lose productive hours during the ‘time-to-hire.’
Also, in case you are sitting in the developed part of the world, the recurring annual salary of an average employee from the local market is way much higher than that from an outsourced location.
2. Outsource Non-core functions first:
Your core functions are called ‘core functions’ for a reason. You and your team have certain expertise over it. The thumb rule for outsourcing is to begin buying support for things that you lack insights about.
Once you rope in an expert team to take care of your concerns, you can move your attention to do what you do best. Many start-ups tend to outsource every business function right from the start — that is a recipe for disaster!
3. A mix of an in-house and outsourced team increases productivity:
Your in-house team knows your business process in and out and will have a better understanding of their own tech-gaps that your outsourced team needs to bridge. Inputs from your in-house team will clearly define the objectives of your software project.
On the other hand, your outsourced team is a global talent pool and a stack for know-how on emerging technology. Their knowledge will enhance the processes of the in-house teams in ways you cannot imagine.
However, despite several success stories, the software ecosystem is filled with stories of failed outsourcing efforts. If you go through these case studies, you can’t miss a common link joining these stories — lack of farsightedness.
Software development is a very intuitive process — right from defining the areas you need help with, choosing the correct outsourcing partner, and knowing what the probable pitfalls could be.
I have collated a list of learnings that some CIOs had to learn the hard way.
What Failed Outsourcing Projects Taught Us:
1. Know what you need to outsource:
Your most crucial function as an entrepreneur is to analyze the tasks that you need to outsource and when. Hiring a remote team doesn’t mean that you leave to their care and expect fabulous results.
Most outsourced teams have on-point project management capabilities, but you being the entrepreneur, have to overlook and provide feedbacks for a seamless deployment.
Another essential part is to know exactly when to outsource and when not to. DO NOT outsource from Day one. Test the waters yourself, analyze the capabilities of your in-house team, and then hire a remote team.
This will save you a lot of time and money. Also, you need to know and weigh if your outsourced team is at all, serving your purpose. If not, you can always scale down your engagement model.
Outsourcing when it is not 100% necessary is possibly the biggest mistake the CIOs make.
2. Do not disregard communication gaps:
The whole concept of outsourcing is based on effective communication skills. As a software consultant, the most valuable tip I can provide is to choose your software partner with utmost care.
Indulge in extensive research, ask peers for references, and check the recommendation reviews on most preferred listing firms. Once you have zeroed down on a couple of names, inquire about their workflow to know if they provide blueprints of their strategies.
Your outsourced projects should always be defined by milestones. Do not go by vague verbal software strategies. Even after selecting your preferred outsourcing partner, set up a proper update and feedback integration model.
3. Be prepared to upscale continuously:
One of the primary reasons for outsourcing fails is that CIOs fail to upgrade their own legacy systems with time. Understand this, you opt for outsourcing software development because of unavoidable in-house incompetence. If you carry on with legacy systems, your amped up software will only be an overload to your system.
It would be best if you were ready to introduce changes to your business process to integrate an updated system powered by emerging technology smoothly. A laid-back system will only drag you down.
Your in-house team should be trained to accommodate the fast-track process in their workflow, or you will only be counting product development costs with no tangible results.
There will be too many stories supporting software development outsourcing and a lot more corroborating against it. But at the end of the day, your software project depends a lot on how you navigate it.
Take hasty decisions, and you mar it, leave it to take its course of action, and you sign up for more disaster. Weigh the scope of your project, understand your business capabilities, and choose the right outsourcing partner — your software outsourcing project will never fail you.