What questions you should ask when outsourcing IT?


While outsourcing IT is getting more and more popular, there are questions to ask about how to do it properly.


Data about outsourcing from McKinsey Global Institute show that every year in the United States, over 300,000 jobs get outsourced. Business owners were asked why it is so accessible and appealing for them. The answer was that their main motivation is saving money while sustaining a high quality of product development services.


78% of businesses all over the World feel positive about their outsourcing partners. Want to join them? Answer the questions above.


How does outsourcing work?


You can easily find the full outsourcing definition in one of our previous blog posts. Many businesses decide to go for that idea, especially when it comes to software development. It’s because some companies are not capable of having an in-house development team. For them, that’s the only option to accomplish the project and make their business thrive.


On the other hand, business owners decide to outsource software development offshore because of lower cost.


outsourcing costs


Why do people look for outsourcing?


One of the most persuasive situations in favor of looking for software developers outside of the town or country is the difficulty of finding them locally. Very often, local software development teams are either occupied by different projects or too expensive to hire. 


Another one is limited time. Some projects need to be accomplished fast in terms of market development or another round of funding the company just received.


Sometimes when you look for experts who specialize in a specific technology, it may be hard to find them locally because of the limited number of such specialists in general. If you’d like to do it on your own, which means going through the recruitment process, it may take a lot of financial and time resources. Another advantage of outsourcing here is the vast range of developers who are both – acquainted with the technology you’ve chosen and cheaper than the local ones.


It also applies to the situation when you not only want to go head to head with your competitors but to be one step ahead of them. It’s incredibly important to find competent specialists who can do much more than the regular software developers you can hire on your own. Let’s say you’re in the blockchain industry. It would be best if you look for developers with specific skills who will manage to accomplish your project exactly how you want it.


outsourcing statistics


Does the team you hired deliver tasks on time?


The process of looking for the best in-house development team is expensive. If you’re not familiar with software business – hiring and firing people, who don’t deliver what you need may be extremely expensive. You want to pay just for the results, which is a standard for fixed-price contracts typical for most of the outsourcing companies.


How can outsourcing benefit an entrepreneur?


One of the main pros of outsourcing is that as a business owner, you can focus on what’s the most important for your company – your core business. It allows you as an entrepreneur to shift from peripheral activities toward serving your customers and your staff. 


Once you decide to outsource – the development of your website or app will take place in a highly professional environment. It will be led by specialists and project managers who know the team and are highly qualified in the chosen technology. They’ll provide you with information on how to combine the features you want to have with technological capacities. And also how to do it in the best possible way. Without you having to focus all of your attention on the project.


How to choose the right technological partner?


Let’s say you don’t want to look for the programmers on your own. You decided to find a remote development team out of your country. While looking for a technological partner, we highly recommend you to check out the company’s structure. 


Many IT companies look professional at first glance. Once you check out their team and experience, you find out that it’s their first year on the market, and it consists of few friends who run a business after hours. You need to check out how many people work in the company and find out what their experience is.


outsourcing developers


Whenever it is possible to make a stationary visit, go for it. Try to get to know the developers and the management team working on your project in person. If it’s not possible – because of a long-distance. Schedule a video conference, meet the team and ask for an office tour to see the infrastructure. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their experience and working culture. Find out whether they’re interested in your business and goals. If so, find out if they have enough experience and capacities to help you reach your objectives.


What does the process of software development look like in an outsourcing company?


No doubts you’d like to get into the process, understand it, and verify whether it seems legit and accurate to your plans and needs. Once you contact a software house from abroad or an outsourcing agency, ask them how their process looks like. 


Highly qualified and experienced software houses or outsourcing agencies have an established structure that can be easily applied to the project. Those will probably provide you a copy of a document such as a well-organized process book, like ours.


process book


At Applover, the development process consists of five steps:


Step 1 – Brief. It’s a list of questions about the product, which, after you answer them, will give us an idea of the desired functionality.


Step 2 – Initial valuation. At this stage, we determine the time and costs of the project in a very rough fashion based on the brief you sent us. 


Step 3 – First workshop. Its goal is to collect the information and materials needed to create the initial technical specification and mockups, including business and functional analysis of the product. (It can take place at our office or yours. We can perform it remotely if long-distance makes it difficult to meet in person.)


Step 4 – Second workshop. It aims to clarify any doubts or issues. It helps to create the final versions of your product’s specification and the basic look of your app, website, or tool.


Step 5 – Kickoff. When everyone is familiar with the project, a start date is set, and the team begins work simultaneously.


To find out more about our process, download Applover’s process book here.


Wondering if outourcing is a good idea for you?

Talk to our team and find out the answer!

Has the outsourcing company worked on a similar project to mine?


Consider technology (if you have already chosen one), sector, industry, and features.


When it comes to the industry – examine case studies shared on the company’s website. If they already worked on the project in your industry, they probably know it well and will understand your ideas or needs way better. It is also a good idea to check the reviews. Clients often post their experience with outsourcing companies on platforms such as Clutch, which is a great piece of knowledge for someone who looks for the best outsourcing partner.


In a situation when the company doesn’t have experience in the industry, find out whether the projects they established contain similar features you need. If so, they probably won’t have any problems with adapting them to your project.


case study


How do you communicate during the project?


In all of our blog posts on outsourcing, we emphasized that communication is key in such a relationship. At the beginning of the cooperation, ask your outsourcing partner how often they will be contacting you. Of course, it’s up to you whether you want to have a phone call or video conference scheduled every day, once a week or once every two weeks. 


It is also crucial to establish which tools they’re using when it comes to project management. Management boards such as JIRA, instant messengers like Slack, Skype, or Google Hangouts (as for our team, remote contact is perfectly fine, it is convenient and safe taking into account what’s happening nowadays). If you aren’t meeting the team personally or scheduling video calls regularly, it might be hard to react when something goes wrong. On the other hand, these tools will be incredibly helpful for the development team when it needs clarification or answers to business-related questions that only you can provide. Direct and straightforward contact may prevent many misunderstandings. Therefore try to establish which tools to use to discuss crucial aspects of your project.


Not only will you be faster and better informed about your project development progress. You’ll also be able to make sure whether any changes or arrangements you’ve discussed have been implemented or what’s the progress. A properly established communication channel will help you make sure that you and your development team are on the same page. As simple as that. Adequate communication will help you to head towards the same goal.


Should I stay in-house or outsource?


There’s no straight answer to that question. Everything depends on your in-house capacities, needs, and resources that you’re ready to invest – both financial and time.


Outsourcing is an idea worth considering, especially in terms of software development. It needs experienced specialists who know precisely what to do and who have a vast background on similar projects. Knowing that so many business owners are happy about their cooperation with their outsourced development teams, it might be worth considering the pros and cons of outsourcing and answering the questions mentioned above.


most popular
Read more

The state of outsourcing services in the post-pandemic landscape

Read more

The pros and cons of outsourcing

Read more

What questions you should ask when outsourcing IT?