Managing Your Software Outsourcing

Last updated: September 6, 2018

Reading time: 10 minutes

We hear this all the time. Companies start outsourcing with high hope that their vendor will solve all their software problems. But a few weeks or months into the engagement, the engagement’s gone sideways.

 

 

How to Manage Software Outsourcing

Once you start your outsourced software project with your provider, the last thing you want is for the outsourcing partnership to deteriorate into an order-taking relationship with developers who only do what they’re told. When processes backslide, innovation is back-burnered and continuous improvement is forgotten, you’ve officially arrived at low-performance outsourcing.

Manage your way to high-performance outsourcing

High-performance outsourcing requires consistent attention, assessment and enhancement to remain optimized. Accelerance provides periodic engagement review with you and your development partner to manage expectations, ensure that milestones are achieved as scheduled and that your software is stable and scalable throughout the life of your software engagement. Potential issues are identified and addressed before they become real problems that put your software at risk.

Skills You Need to Build High-Performance Outsourcing

  • Project management with your global team
  • Partner relationships and contracts
  • Understanding cultural differences
  • Ongoing, effective communication
  • Managing multiple vendors
  • Knowing when to scale up or scale down

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Establish metrics to measure your software outsourcing success

If you’re outsourcing software development, you’ve got a “gut feel” for how your engagement is going based on the quality of the software you’re receiving, the kinds of bugs being found, and how many crises must be addressed via conference calls.

But does that mean your software outsourcing is successful? How do you really measure the success of your software outsourcing? What metrics should you use, and what should you do if your outsourced software development process doesn’t measure up? Or, do you even use metrics? Metrics may seem like overkill. If your offshore team delivers software on time at a comparatively low rate and the code contains a reasonably small number of bugs which are fixed quickly, isn’t that enough?

Are you winning or losing with software outsourcing?

How do you really measure the success of your software outsourcing? What metrics should you track? What should you do if your outsourced software development process doesn’t measure up?


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The Value of Software Outsourcing Metrics

In software development outsourcing - if it’s worth doing it’s worth measuring. Establishing metrics is not “busy work” or relevant only for large companies. In order to manage software development with quantifiable objectives, a gut feel is not enough. You cannot afford - literally - to be casual about monitoring and measuring performance. Here’s why you need metrics:

  • To quantify the results of your outsourcing, so you can judge objectively whether your software development is succeeding or not.
  • To improve the productivity of your outsourcing for greater cost savings.
  • To assess individual and total team performance.
  • To create better and more meaningful development estimates.

Communication Is Key to Software Success

Communication is key to the success of every software engagement - but especially critical with software outsourcing.

Get on the Same Page with Your Provider

Open communication is extremely important from the beginning and throughout your outsourcing relationship. Both parties must be on the same page regarding the software engagement and must be specific, concise and realistic about what they need and expect from each other. Expect to use weekly conference calls, regular emails and instant messages every day. Frequent status reports and constant communication will help ensure that your engineers are working on the most important tasks.

 

Look for English Proficiency

Partner with a software development team that has, at minimum, a conversational level of English proficiency. Senior members, especially, need to be able to clearly understand the requirements of your software engagement before they’re able build your product. Don’t always expect English proficiency equivalent to that of a native speaker, but do expect language-driven misunderstandings are kept to a minimum. To aid in communication with non-native speakers, put effort into speaking calmly and clearly.

Software Communication: Nuances and Style

Even two English-speaking countries like the U.S. and the U.K. have different communication styles that must be considered, so it goes without saying that there will be differences in language and other communication styles between all cultures. What you might consider rude, odd, or confusing in another culture might be considered perfectly normal, and vice versa. The key to bridging the gap is mutual respect and embracing your differences.