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The problem with outsourcing software development projects

LAST UPDATED: September 17, 2020

Sokari Gillis-Harry

Rubiks cube on a desk

Software development outsourcing can be very beneficial if used properly. However, if you don’t employ the best practices, you might encounter some problems when outsourcing software development projects.

 

In this post, we take a cursory look at some of the popular issues that clients encounter with software development outsourcing, and we proffer some solutions that will help you get a better experience when outsourcing software development projects. 

 

What are the Problems with Outsourcing Software Development Projects & How Do You Resolve Them?

 

Although there are a plethora of reasons why many companies are now embracing the decision to outsource their software development projects, unfortunately, there are also some drawbacks to outsourcing software development projects especially when you don’t work with the right individual or company. 

 

‘In our experience at Sprinthub Mobile, we have found out that there are four main problems that individuals and organisations face when they consider outsourcing software development, or when they do outsource the projects. These issues include the following:

 

Control (timeline)


We have seen that one of the major reasons why people are a bit hesitant to outsource their software development projects is because they are afraid that they might not be in total control of the project’s timeline as much as they will if the project is handled in-house.

 

Owing to that, we usually advise our clients at Sprint Mobile to have a defined timeline in place when we start our projects together.

 

Although we rarely falter when it comes to timelines for our clients, we still want to have a full grasp of the client’s expected due dates for segments of the projects as well as the expected time for us to conclude the project.

 

Intellectual property rights

 

One of the main things you want to resolve quickly when outsourcing software development is intellectual property rights.

This entails the company paying for the software development project, making sure that what you are paying for, actually belongs to you.

We usually advise clients that contact us to have a proper contract in place that states expressly that they own the rights to the software being developed during and after the development process.

 

There are four intellectual assets that you want to protect during your software development process. These are:

  • Functional requirement specifications,
  • Business process designs,
  • Technology and data architectural plans,
  • Algorithms, and source code.

 

Low quality

 

The biggest issue that scares businesses and individuals away from outsourcing is probably the possibility of getting a low-quality job.

 

We have all either experienced this ourselves or heard about it from an associate; an individual is contracted to do a job on your behalf and when it comes to the time when the project is submitted, you get so disappointed that you have to part ways with the contractor.

 

You’d agree that it is an all-round disappointing situation for both parties. A client does not get the quality of the job needed, and a contractor loses a relationship.

 

As a solution, we normally advise that clients make their proper research before signing a contract with any software development outsourcing partner. It is integral that you trust a company’s process before signing off to collaborate with them on your software development project.

 

Another way to combat low-quality is to ask your software development partner to include quality assurance and testing in the development process.

 

Software Testing is a process that evaluates the functionality of a software (product), with an intent to find whether the developed software met the specified requirements or not, and to make sure that the software is free of bugs and defects.

High Cost

 

Many companies decide to outsource because they want to cut costs when it comes to hiring an in-house software developer/software engineer, but when they reach out to individuals and companies to outsource, they quickly find out one thing; outsourcing might cost more in some cases than hiring an in-house engineer.

But, in most cases, we have seen that clients don’t pay high development costs because they are simply outsourcing, instead they pay more for revisions and changes as the development process go on.

We also have seen in many cases that organisations set unrealistic timeline goals for development, and when the timeline elapses, they end up having to pay more.

What we usually proffer as a solution to clients to help them prevent having to incur huge costs in the software development process is a “Times and Materials” contract.

 

A times and materials contract is a situation where you only have to pay us for the time spent on your project (usually per hour), and the materials we use on the project (tools, apps, equipment, and the likes.)

 


Outsourcing software development projects: Why Should You Consider It?

The pros of outsourcing software development projects
Pros of outsourcing

Outsourcing software development projects is a practice that is as old as the development profession itself. 

In the past, it was companies that did not have the time nor money to get an in-house developer/engineer that often opted to outsource their software development projects. 

However, today, individuals and organizations choose to outsource their software development projects for several reasons.

 

Cutting Costs 

 

Outsourcing your software projects often saves you the cost of having to recruit an in-house software team.

 

The average salary of a software developer in the US in 2018 was 108,080 USD. Add that to the cost of the recruitment process, staff welfare, etcetera and you will have yourself a huge overhead cost that you can avoid altogether by outsourcing your software project.

 

Outsourcing your software development project helps you skip the tedious process of recruiting a competent hand, saving you the cost of recruitment as well. 

 

It also guarantees you inbuilt risk management which means that your organisation will not have to spend more when the development process faces a technical challenge as the development company will cover that.

 

Saving Time

 

Apart from gunning for business cost reduction, individuals and organizations outsource software development projects to save their organisation time. 

They believe that by outsourcing the software development project, they will have time to focus on other pressing matters in the organisation.

Outsourcing software development projects usually helps you reduce your internal costs while giving you the freedom to focus on your core business mission.

 

Flexibility

 

Outsourcing software development allows you to quickly scale your development team either up or down, as a response to your changing requirements and business needs.

Scaling an in-house team takes time as good talent does not come easily or cheaply. More so, scaling down an in-house team might require firing some of your employees, which could, in principle, ruin the morale of your team.

When you outsource your software development project, you will not have to worry about that.

 

Risk Mitigation

 

Collaborating with a software development agency allows you to work with an organization with fantastic information security policies and quality management systems; this significantly reduces your software development project’s risks.

Good software development agencies usually utilize project management and monitoring tools and processes that have been tried and trusted. They also typically have better predictability due to their experience.

 

Access to talented developers that you might not have in-house

 

By outsourcing your mobile app projects to an agency, you get the value of a tested team with highly-skilled developers who have gained a high level of knowledge by working on many projects like yours.

In this sense, outsourcing software development gives you access to skill and dedicated talent that you might not be able to find or afford otherwise.

 

Improved compliance

 

When you outsource software development projects, you have the advantage of the agency creating a systematic compliance system that will then knock back the need for human follow-ups thereby improving compliance greatly.

 

Access to developers with experience in different business domains.

 

Development agencies often amass a breadth of experience from working in different domains. Innovation can come from such an interdisciplinary background.

 

Helps develop your in-house staff (if you have a team)

 

You can initiate a collaboration strategy between your in-house developers and the software development company, with the agency executing and your in-house team monitoring and essentially learning from the agency team who are usually more knowledgeable than the in-house team.

This will in turn help develop your in-house team and make the team more competent in development processes going forward.

 

Conclusion

 

Outsourcing software development projects has become a necessary outlook for organizations and individuals looking to position their software development projects for success.

 

But as with everything good, outsourcing can become counterproductive if not handled properly. The problems and solutions listed in this post will help you choose a good software development partner while reducing risks.

 

 

 

 

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