You can outsource software projects or have your in-house team do it. When you consider how to accomplish all or part of your software project there are many factors to be considered.
If you have an internal software development team and normally do software regularly, the first thought is to have your team work on the new project – which can be great to take advantage of the labor you are already paying for.
However, before deciding to outsource software projects or not, don’t miss these 3 important considerations:
- Your software team’s capacity
- Your developers’ knowledge and skill sets
- Any new project requirements and technologies
Plus, 3 pitfalls to avoid.
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Outsource Software Projects When Your Team Doesn’t Have the Capacity
Capacity is the easy one. If there’s an extensive project coming up, you are going to need to estimate how much capacity you will need and compare it to the capacity you have. You may need to augment the team. This brings up the question of leadership.
To expand your software team, add developers with the required skills if you already have strong leadership. (Software leadership could include VP of Engineering, CTO, or Software Development Manager.)
For teams without strong leadership, you must think about adding fractional leaders as well. These leaders should have a track record of taking contracted help and integrating them with the team to get large complex projects done. When you outsource software projects and combine that with the right leader, you have a winning formula.
You Need the Right Experience for This Software Project
The next consideration is having the experience on the team for what the new project entails. A lot of executives make the mistake of letting the development team make recommendations based on their own skill sets.
For example, you might have a major modernization project for an existing software system. The application has been in place for a long time. It has become more difficult to maintain and very costly. Perhaps the stability of it running in a production environment has become worse. You task your developers to modernize the system and rewrite it if necessary.
Without outside advice or a third-party opinion, this can be a risky proposition. A software system that has degraded over time has gotten worse because of something lacking in the current team’s experience, methods, or training. Unless the team identifies the missing element, they will carry the same problem over to the modernization project.
This is precisely the situation when you should outsource software projects.
Outsource Software Projects to Address New Project Requirements & Technologies
Sometimes, the recommendation that a system that has had a lot of investment is no longer adequate surprises an executive. There needs to be an outside opinion to make recommendations on the next steps. It’s difficult to see the needed changes clearly when you are the one who has put so much into the software.
There may be new project requirements that include modern advances the team has never used before. New technologies always come out like mobile apps, IoT, web tech, AI, and security.
If your project involves something that your internal software development team has not done before, then you need to consider that. Once again, you just need to recognize you have a skill or experience gap. Often that can be a good reason to outsource software projects to an expert in that area, as opposed to just expecting the team to make these upgrades flawlessly. It is also likely you are setting them up for failure.
While utilizing outside help, consider using the outsourced help to train your in-house team to learn these new skills. This would be a great time to incorporate training so they can increase their skills in this area. Until they do a project with a new concept or approach for the first time, they won’t have the experience needed to streamline the delivery of new features.
It may be a good option to outsource the entire project rather than augmenting the existing team if the team has no capacity because of other projects.
But with any of these options to outsource software projects, there are pitfalls you must avoid.
Do you want to empower your software team
to be effective:
moving fast with high quality?
Avoid These 3 Pitfalls When You Outsource Software Projects
1️⃣ The first pitfall is not defining a specific budget and length of time for the project. When you outsource software projects, it is most likely a temporary solution.
After the outside team builds the solution, you need the in-house team to learn how to operate and maintain it in the future. The other option is to have the professional engineering firm efficiently deliver the entire project and continue to maintain it as well.
2️⃣ The second pitfall is not knowing if the outsource firm can fulfill the maintenance you need before hiring them. This is important because putting the software into production and onboarding users is critical. It can be the riskiest part of the project because end-users can quickly expose any of the mistakes and missing components in the system.
Don’t release the vendor before knowing if the system will work in production. Don’t allow the contractor to be released before testing and operating the solution. They should be engaged throughout the entire process.
3️⃣ The third pitfall is not having the team fully understand how to change the software system. The team needs architectural diagrams, run books, and other tools to support the new techniques and technologies.
The final deliverable should always be for the contractor to cross-train the internal team.
It’s a win-win! When you outsource software projects the right way, you can accomplish them with great efficiency and expand your in-house team’s capabilities.
If you are exploring the idea of outsourcing your software projects, we can help.
Learn more about in-house development vs. outsourcing by reading this post: In-House vs. Custom Software Development
And here is a post about the Benefits of Outsourcing Software Development to America.