Despite the enduring popularity of outsourcing, not all companies take full advantage of its hidden potential for business growth. Using outside services for app development, for example, can be a great way to minimise costs, lower risk and gain extra value in the form of know-how. In this article, we’d like to share our tips on getting the most out of outsourcing - with a focus on outsourced software development services.

As iRonin is an outsourcing partner and provides external development teams for many companies, you can be sure we have the experience and knowledge to back up our claims. There are a few tricks that can help your company grow more effectively through outsourcing.

Choosing the best offer

There are several parameters to take into consideration when choosing an outsourced team to supplement your business. The quality of service they deliver is the most important - look through their portfolio and don’t be afraid to ask for their previous clients’ contact information. Be careful not to fall for vague or low cost and time estimates. It’s best when your partner can give you a step-by-step breakdown of their pricing. Transparency is key, as is communication, so make sure to establish a satisfactory manner for delivering daily updates and scheduling meetings (whether online or offline). Finally, our advice is to choose an organization rather than freelancers. Some jobs can be done by independent professionals without a problem, but developing a complex software project is not one of them.

If you’d like to know more about choosing the right software development company as your partner, you might be interested in learning more about outsourcing. Always remember to focus on value for your business, which may not be obvious at first glance.

Using the time & materials model for transparency

There are two main approaches to pricing software development projects: fixed price and time & materials. Both have their advantages, but in this instance, we’d like to point out the very obvious benefit of using time & materials estimations: transparency. The model fits Agile methodology very well in that the client only pays for work that has been done, and can do so in increments - say, every month. This allows for quite a bit of flexibility, so even big changes to project requirements aren’t a problem.

Another positive aspect of using time & materials is that the client can easily track what tasks were completed and at what price, either in a project management tool like Jira, a time tracking tool like PM Sentry, or through reports prepared by the development team. This is important for critical decision-making. It’s easier to decide which features to prioritise when you know what goes into developing them - and you might find yourself dropping or changing features that are just not worth the trouble. This way, you can maximize value for money by deploying your team in a cost-effective manner.

Establishing good communication with your team

In a fast-paced project, communication is critical - for both sides. Your developers might be unable to move forward with their work without your acceptance or direction. Although they have a lot of market experience and can advise you when making choices for your app, you know your business best. Without your input, the project can come to a standstill. Similarly, if you can’t get a hold of your team, you might worry that they’ll go off track and cause delays, or misunderstand specifications. That’s why it’s important to have multiple channels of communication available at project launch. We use Codebase, Jira, Slack, PM Sentry, and a number of other tools to make sure information about the project is always available. Our developers assigned to a project can be messaged directly, so nothing gets lost in translation. We’ve learned over the years that good communication is an absolute must.

Setting a Definition of Done

As part of quality assurance in the software development process, it’s important to agree upon a Definition of Done for tasks. The purpose of this is to foster transparency and build a solid software development process. DoD may include various aspects and methods of software development, such as testing by QA Engineers, usability tests, visual review performed by UX/UI designers, or automated tests for new pieces of code. Forgetting about it could lead to disappointment on the part of the client, or lower quality of service. Another useful way for meeting client’s requirements is to define Acceptance Criteria for each task or created functionality. We believe that every client should ask for their development partner’s DoD. It’s a great way to build trust.

Aiming for remote collaboration experts

Although you might sometimes prefer a local company to be your partner, consider focusing your search on remote-first teams. They are usually dispersed, and rely on various tools for daily communication and collaboration, such as messaging platforms and shared files. It gives them the advantage of having highly developed online communication skills and long-distance collaboration processes. Remote-first companies will always perform better and provide a more satisfying experience when collaborating than companies (even local ones!) that primarily work from a single location. They have to think about working with people who are not physically near all the time. It gives them a very useful perspective on cooperating with other teams.

Understanding outsourcing contracts

We know that we don’t have to tell you to read a contract before you sign it. It’s important to remember that it’s not all on you - if it’s your partner providing the contract template, have them walk you through anything you don’t understand. This might be legalese or IT jargon, but either way, make sure the contract and the rules of collaboration you’re about to sign are clear to you.

Conclusions

Hopefully, you’ve found our advice on how to get the most value out of software development outsourcing useful. There are many ways in which services like these can foster business growth and help you through effective processes. Don’t miss these opportunities.

Still have questions about how to use software outsourcing for effective business growth? Just ask!
We’ve been on this market for a decade, and we’re always happy to help out. Talk to us about app development outsourcing services or IT consulting.