When it comes to outsourcing software development, there are often a lot of misconceptions in play, and this can overshadow and wrongly influence strategic decision making. And it makes sense. After all, they always say there’s no smoke without fire, and if misconceptions are common in the market, they have to have come from somewhere, right?
However, most outsourcing horror stories come from businesses who went about it the wrong way, and then complained when it all fell apart. It’s these experiences that have created myths in the market that don’t accurately reflect the genuine opportunity of development outsourcing… when done well at least.
'Most outsourcing horror stories come from business who went about it the wrong way, and then complained when it all fell apart.'
In this blog, we’ll explore 3 common myths that often influence the perception of outsourcing, but in reality, are not worth bearing in mind when it comes to making a decision about your own development strategy.
Myth: There are no good outsourced software development teams
Reality: Good software (engineering or development) teams are hard to find, but do exist
Finding a good external software development team is all about recognising what you need, and then taking the steps to find a partner who meets those criteria. A good outsourcing company for one business, won’t necessarily be an effective option for another.
With this variability in mind, it’s important that a whole range of factors are considered when evaluating what ‘good’ looks like. You need to think about their:
- Company culture
- Specialist skills and experience
- Internal processes
- Quality of coding capabilities
- Project management tools
- Learning philosophy
- Commercial strategy
Many organisations considering outsourcing often turn to the worst options on the market; a 1000 person Indian coding factory or a body shop in Eastern Europe with hundreds of junior developers working ‘behind the scenes’, you know the type of operation. These unusual alternatives are often cheap and produce the bare minimum at every opportunity, leaving clients with very little worth using at the end of the relationship.
In reality, these companies should be looking for a professional development outfit that has a genuinely invested interest in their project, understands the full requirements, and is vigorously passionate about taking it on.
The very best partners pride themselves in being experts in their given industries and technologies. They are entrepreneur-minded, problem solving technology natives at their very core.
‘The very best partners pride themselves in being experts in their given industries and technologies.’
The contrast between cheap alternatives and a real technology partner is significant, and so is the final product. In many instances, you’ll find the very best outsourced boutique engineering companies are referral based, and often don’t need to push the hard sell. Worth keeping in mind when you’re searching for a partner. Remember, good software teams do exist, but it takes time, effort and resources to find those that will deliver what you need and beyond.
Myth: Outsourcing software development is risky
Reality: Outsourcing software development is a great option to rapidly expand/diversify development resource, but requires the proper due diligence
Let’s get this out of the way, outsourcing software development is only risky when done wrong. Organisations who approach it without a clear view of their own needs are destined to fail from the start, but this doesn’t stop many going in blindly nonetheless.
‘Outsourcing software development is only risky when done wrong’
To avoid inevitable project-threatening challenges, companies looking at making outsourcing a success need to know how to communicate their needs, and then identify and choose a partner who can best meet them. Communication is key, but in many instances businesses fail to effectively outline what they need and expect from a partner, and this makes it very difficult to find the right team.
Many companies commit too quickly to a development team without first coordinating communication processes and this creates major issues in the delivery phase. In fact, misunderstandings and misalignment are common and often lead to significant challenges or in some cases, total project failure. This highlights just how important foundational efforts are to making outsourcing a success. Companies who don’t put the effort to prepare and integrate their external development team will undoubtedly view outsourcing as a risky venture. However, when the right processes are followed, more often than not, outsourcing is a complete success.
Companies that do make outsourcing a success can take full advantage of a wide range of benefits, including:
- Access to a wider selection of skill sets
- Faster time to market
- A ready-made out of the box efficient and skilled workforce
- Increased team flexibility (ramping output up and down)
- Empowered internal teams with greater resources
Myth - Outsourcing software development is a good cost cutting opportunity
Reality - Good outsourced software development teams are not cheap
In the world of outsourced software development, ‘you get what you pay for’. This is the true reality of the situation. Many organisations look to outsourcing as a cost-cutting tactic and this is often where it all goes wrong. In fact, this approach is so common, and fails so often, it’s arguably where outsourcing gets its bad name from in the first place.
Cheap outsourcing is an extremely dangerous road to go down and is not advised under any circumstances. The output you receive from such ventures is likely to differ so much, and lack the standard you require that the stress, pain and logistical challenges are usually more hassle than they’re worth. It’s a very noisy and saturated space with no guarantee of quality, and no way to tell the con artists apart from the genuinely skilled organisations. We’re not saying it can’t be done, but it’s a game of russian roulette when you choose your outsourced software developer based solely on price.
'59% of companies that outsource choose to do so to reduce or control costs' - Your Team In India
Most ‘cheap’ development resource comes from the likes of India, Vietnam, Philippines and Ukraine, and while there are certainly ‘diamonds in the rough’ to be found, the risk is extremely high. When companies go searching for the cheapest talent on the market, they usually end up in difficult positions, and in many cases starting again from scratch after being ‘screwed over’ or underwhelmed.
Most cheap developers will charge between $35-$100 an hour in Eastern Europe, but if you’re looking at extremely cheap options ($30 and below), then your only choices will be countries where English is not the first language. This throws communication issues into the mix and further adds difficulty to getting real value from such opportunities. Beyond potential language difficulties, these teams will expect bullet point instructions and have very little ability to solve problems or think creatively. They follow instructions, nothing more, nothing less.
The myths around outsourcing software development are born out of the ambition to use it improperly. When organisations cut corners and try to skimp on their development projects, they pay the price, and then paint all outsourcing opportunities with the same brush. This is totally misguided.
Companies who are serious about their outsourcing ambitions will ignore the exaggerated myths and commit the resources to finding the right partner for them. This will help avoid the common pitfalls and turn outsourcing into a genuine competitive advantage.
‘Companies who are serious about their outsourcing ambitions will ignore the exaggerated myths and commit the resources to finding the right partner for them.’
With the development of increasingly complex digitally connected tools and platforms, it’s now easier than ever to work in a more distributed way. This means the outsourced team model is easier to embrace and make a success. There has never been a better time to work with a remote tech partner.
As the pace of the commercial world continues to grow, interest in outsourcing software development is set to rise as companies look for ways to improve their flexibility, capability and growth. Don’t let the myths put you off exploring these opportunities and unlocking the potential of outsourced software development in your business.
Remember, if you’re going to outsource your software development, do it right, or don’t do it at all!