You've finally decided to grow your business with a tech partner. That’s great.
Choose the right one and you'll increase quality, workflow efficiency and profit.
Choose the wrong one and you'll double your work and lose precious resources trying to recover your project. More importantly, you'll lose trust within your own organization.
Offshoring has a bad reputation - but you’ll only learn why if you go into it uninformed and unprepared. When done right, collaboration with another firm can bring you huge growth and benefits that your company wouldn’t otherwise have access to on its own.
Why finding a reliable software company is important
Remember Nike's lawsuit in the early 2000s? After investing $400 million in a new software meant to review warehouse orders, they discovered it was faulty and 20% of their orders weren’t going through.
Multiple class action lawsuits later, they lost an estimated $100 million in sales and struggled to recover from the PR disaster that followed.
Most SMEs aren’t as fortunate to be a giant in their industry. And partnering up with the wrong company can cost them far more than it did Nike.
To avoid this, and get the best out of offshoring software development, there are some guidelines you should follow.
So, here's a step-by-step process to help you find a company that's both efficient and trustworthy.
What to look for when researching and choosing a software development company
Since the IT outsourcing sector has exploded over the last 10 years and there's no go-to recipe for the perfect company, you'll need some pointers to help you weed out the good from the bad.
Simply put, you want a remote team that:
- works in SCRUM (or is at least familiar with agile methodology)
- uses the same technology stack you have for your business
- can communicate their expectations and limitations clearly
- prioritizes user adaptability and is able to solve complex user problems
- understands both the strengths and weaknesses of your product
- is able to build and sustain a scalable architecture for your project
You're looking for a partner - so you don't just need a company that has the technology and ability to write code for you, but a company that's able to advise you and work side by side with you to optimize your product.
Another important factor to consider is the location. Make sure there's some cultural compatibility and that language is not a barrier. Nowadays, Poland is among the top 3 countries with the best English-speaking developers in the world.
Lastly, you want a company that preferably has relevant experience working in your industry. That way they're already familiar with the technology you're using and will have valuable input for you if they've built similar products in the past.
Creating your first list of remote companies
Make up a list of around 20 names.
Don't look for the cheapest service out there, but don't stray too far from your original budget either. Make sure you can afford the names on your list long-term.
What's left now is to start verifying each company's credentials.
Look up their reviews and get an idea of how they work. Also, ask for referrals from previous clients to assess how reliable they are.
How to evaluate each company
Now that you have a list of viable options, it's time to see which of these remote teams would integrate best with your already existing internal team.
There are 3 main factors to consider here:
Does the team have the tech resources you need to carry out future outsourcing projects? Do they use the same tools and communication channels?
Ideally, you want both teams to feel like they're working in the same office.
Does the team test at every stage of development? Do they have daily standups, weekly demos, and sprints?
Can you get in touch with them daily? Are they transparent about their resources and expectations? Could they become an extension of your current team? How well would the two be able to collaborate on future projects if needed?
Once you've assessed if this remote team can work well with and within your company, you can start asking the big questions that will help you figure out the details of your collaboration.
So, make sure to get clear and specific answers to the questions below:
- What are your expectations and responsibilities?
- What are your communication procedures and what system do you prefer?
- What tools do you use during each project?
- Will you be committed to other projects while working on ours as well?
- What are the strengths of your company?
- Would it be possible to scale your team?
- What are your best practices for writing code?
- Have you done any similar projects in the past?
- How did you handle it when a project went wrong?
- Who will be the owner of the source code?
- How do you maintain software quality?
Narrowing down your list
Use the pointers above to shorten your list down to 3-5 names.
These are the top software development companies you want to consider partnering with.
What you need to focus on now is cross-checking your research. Do their reviews and backgrounds check out?
This is the time to scope out any red flags. You should be suspicious of lawsuits or complaints that were handled unprofessionally, a lack of transparency (or refusal to give you references), and poor work samples.
You should also be wary if the company advertises itself as a jack-of-all-trades. Smaller remote teams can’t be experts in various fields and will most likely only be able to focus on mastering up to three relevant skills.
Lastly, you'll want to work with a project manager that is dedicated and wants to understand the details of your business.
Reaching out to the companies
All that’s left for you to do now is to contact the companies and set up an interview.
You can start by sending them an email and an overview of your project, resources, and deadline. Once you get in contact, schedule a call or in-person meeting (if possible) to discuss additional details.
When it comes to RFPs (request for proposal), the process can be quite lengthy and burdensome.
Here are some tips to make it easier:
- Have a template ready for the RFP with the type of service you are interested in
- Build a relationship with the companies before sending the RFP and make sure you follow up with them
- Keep questions on-point and direct
- Create a timeline for your project and be clear about the details
- Keep communication lines open with the companies
Finding the right IT partner can be difficult in today’s marketplace. But knowing how to go about offshoring your work can give you access to a talented candidate pool that helps you provide software to your clients in less time, with lower costs.
Software development is highly interactive, that’s why you’ll need a team that you can trust and be transparent with. And once you find the right one, it can open doors for growth that you never knew possible for your SME.