Hiring an offshore software development team is a big decision. With so much on the line, it’s important you have a clear view on the factors that really matter and understand what actions to take before signing any paperwork.
Choosing the right development team for your needs is essential and will play a significant role in the success/failure of your project. With this in mind, you need to think very carefully around what you want from a team and how you can identify these qualities.
While it may have a negative reputation, it has become common practice for high-growth startups and larger corporates to leverage talent offshore, laying the foundation for their substantial growth.
Players like Slack, Skype, Whatsapp and Monese all used offshore software development teams to develop apps, provide support and even build fundamental infrastructure. The reality is, without external development support, these companies would not be where they are today.
In this blog, we offer our top tips gathered from thousands of projects, on what you should consider when hiring your own offshore software development team.
Tip 1: Set clear goals and identify priorities
Communication lies at the heart of good team selection. You need to have a clear picture of what exactly it is you want to achieve from the development project and be able to effectively communicate the vision to potential partners.
This is critical to ensuring both yourself and your partner are aligned on objectives and priorities, and all involved understand what they’re getting into. The more detail you can provide, the easier it will be for the partner to explain why they’re the right fit for you.
We’ve seen it time and again, a client is eager to get their project started, but when questioned, clearly isn’t prepared to choose a partner, let alone kick off the project! In many instances, they haven’t even asked themselves the basic questions or scoped out what’s actually required.
Tip 2: Ensure your tech partner’s culture fits with your own
When it comes to choosing a partner, it’s essential that you review and critique their culture. This covers everything from their ideological beliefs and employee treatment, to working practices and process. Every facet of the partnership between an offshore software development team and the employer is impacted by the cultures of both - and so putting the time and effort in to really get an appreciation for how a partner operates is key.
You can’t afford to sign up with a partner only to find they work a different way to what you need, or have beliefs, professional or otherwise, that contradict what your organisation stands for. Culture is the bedrock of a working relationship and so it’s essential you find the right fit, or you risk major challenges before you’ve even started.
You don’t want deadlines pushed back because of a questionable company policy and you don’t want to be affiliated with a company that holds views that directly contrast with your own. In this situation, nobody wins. Remember, finding the right fit is just as important as finding the right skills.
Tip 3: Align on the definition of ‘done’
Any partnership with an offshore software development team is built on trust and communication, but to effectively develop these crucial foundations, ground rules must first be discussed, set and agreed before the project begins.
It’s important all stakeholders involved appreciate the expectations in play in terms of what is produced, the process they follow and the timeliness of delivery. Before any paperwork is signed, both sides must understand exactly what they’re signing up for and believe they can deliver on their responsibilities and promises.
Concerns and questions should be fielded pre-emptively to ensure all parties are satisfied before starting work together. It should go without saying but any concerns or technicalities should be ironed out before commitments are made.
This ensures unforeseen challenges in the project don’t quickly undermine the relationship. With all these variables agreed before hand, both sides of the relationship should be able to maximise their efficiency working together and optimise the quality of the final output.
Tip 4: Conduct proper due diligence on potential external technical partners
Due diligence is the single greatest defining factor when it comes to finding a great offshore software development partner. Of course, to conduct good due diligence, you need to know what it looks like. The very best due diligence investigates every element of a potential partner, including:
- Previous work and projects
- Skillsets and qualifications (with verification)
- The individuals who’ll be working on the project
- Internal processes
- Company culture
Understanding how a partner operates and works on a day-to-day basis is key to appreciating what they can deliver, and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses. Everything from the processes they use, the tools they prefer and the skill sets they have available in-house will provide a good indication on what the company can do.
All of these elements will impact the working relationship and as a result should be tested to confirm what is said is the truth and that any promises made can actually be fulfilled. Beyond just reviewing processes, it’s important the individuals that will be delivering the project are also reviewed to prove they know what they’re talking about and can be trusted to deliver the quality required.
Reviewing process and people is important, but it’s still not enough. You also need to look at a partner’s past projects, understand how they delivered and the quality produced. This will give you yet another indication on their quality and capabilities. If a partner claims they’ve done similar projects before, ask for details to verify what they’re saying and ensure the client was satisfied.
With a fully scoped out due diligence process, you’ll have a clear understanding on just what you’re evaluating your partners on, enabling for a much easier comparison. Ultimately, this will give you the critical information you need to make the very best decision for your organisation.
Choosing the right offshore software development team for your needs is essential to making your project a success. You need to be confident that the partner you choose can not only deliver on your expectations, but will effectively integrate into your organisation as a fully functioning external resource.
They should be able to deliver as and when required to a more than suitable standard, giving you a reliable resource that offers you the development power needed to meet your growth ambitions.