What Makes for a Good Outsourced Software Development Partner?

So you’ve decided to explore outsourced software development opportunities. Good call! But now comes the hard part. Who should you partner with? Just what makes a good outsourcing software development partner? What should you be looking for and why? These are all great questions and so we’ve put together a critical checklist to help you make the very best decision.

We’ve analysed the learnings from over 10,000 outsourced development projects run through our trusted development partner network, to bring you the common characteristics you should be looking out for when choosing your external development team.

1. Problem solvers, with a genuine interest in the project

 

When evaluating potential technical partners, you want to consider multiple criteria in order to make the very best decision. Two of the most important to bare in mind are the team’s problem solving abilities and interest in the project itself. You need to ask questions that not only investigate their competence, but their motivation too. You want a team that is eager to get involved and emotionally invested in the project. If it doesn’t feel like your potential partner cares enough, then it’s worth looking at alternatives options.

‘You want a team that is eager to get involved and emotionally invested in the project.’

Beyond commitment, you also want to test their willingness to challenge ideas and strategies to see how they respond. This helps to avoid ‘YES’ partners that only ever agree to everything you say - not a desirable or productive working relationship at all.

Remember, the best partners will be keen to ask questions and regularly dive deep into the project to ensure even the smallest details are appreciated and understood.

2. Communicative and highly organised

 

Choosing to work with an external partner means you’re exposed to their organisational skills and so it’s important to find a team that operates efficiently. Good project management practices and strong client on-boarding are absolutely critical to an effective working relationship and so you need to ensure these fundamentals are in place and adhered to.

Before kicking off, a clear plan of action with KPIs and milestones clarified and mapped out is needed. This will help flag any challenges before they arise and quickly bring to light any concerns or issues. In addition, you also want to make sure their process documentation is created, managed and stored efficiently.

‘To help simplify and maximise communication, a daily standup should be scheduled to assist with the full integration of day-to-day operations.’

Finally to help simplify and maximise communication, a daily standup should be scheduled to assist with the full integration of day-to-day operations. This helps to avoid any nasty surprises and enhances collaboration efforts with your external team. Remember, regular communication is the key to a successful relationship and so daily contact is critical.

3. Experienced with the critical technologies needed in the project

 

Depending on the project, you’re likely to need particular set of skills in order to bring it to life. As such, you should be looking for a partner who specialises in that area. A specialist partner is always better than a generalist as they have the very best understanding of the field in question. This can help optimise output and maximise the efficiency of the development process. Finding a tech partner who is passionate and well experienced in a particular industry or technology can really make all the difference.

When it comes to a highly technical project, experience in the field is absolutely priceless too and can bring massive amounts of value to the table. This can be used to avoid common pitfalls, unlock hidden opportunities and create the most productive working practices. All great benefits that justify the time spent looking for the right partner.

4. Iterative and accommodating to feedback

 

A flexible partner is a good partner. You need to find a team that is prepared to be open-minded to new ideas and always willing to iteratively improve. This philosophy of progressive development should be the standard, anything less isn’t good enough for you.

‘You need to find a team that is prepared to be open-minded to new ideas and always willing to iteratively improve.’

The way your partner accepts and acts on feedback is also important. Feedback should be viewed as an opportunity for all parties to develop and not as a criticism of the work produced. If your partner can’t see that, then they may not be the right team for you.

Remember, a culture of ongoing improvement is essential to a successful long-term relationship.

5. Proactive and fix issues as they arise

 

No matter what your project entails, you can be sure there’ll be a few bumps on the road to completion. That’s the reality with any development project, but it’s how those bumps are managed that often has the greatest influence on the impact of those issues. If they’re ignored, they can crop up when you least expect it and create havoc. Alternatively, they can go undetected and make it all the way through to the final product in the form of a bug. As such, you need to find partners who can solve problems on their own and won’t just take execution based orders.

‘You need to find partners who can solve problems on their own and won’t just take execution based orders’

The best technical partners will offer valuable input when problems arise and take a proactive approach to solving them. Software development is an agile process that requires massive amounts of reiterations, so this skillset is absolutely key to a fruitful working relationship and a successful project outcome.

Summary

 

There’s no doubt about it, finding a good external technical partner for your business is tough. To get the most out of your external development partner, you need to know what good looks like and commit resources to finding the best fit for your requirements.

With this in mind, conducting proper due diligence is critical as it helps to avoid time wasters, con artists and all those who cannot deliver to the standards you’re looking for. Your screening process should be slow and steady to allow for a thorough review of the options, this helps to minimize the risk of missing key details and ending up with an unsuitable development partner.

Invest the time to find, evaluate and choose the right partner for you. If you don’t, you’re risking everything from the quality of the final output to your working efficiency and your budget.

Don’t take risks with your outsourcing efforts, use these criteria to find the very best technological partner and see the full benefits of efficient outsourced software development for yourself.

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