The most important decision you can make to determine the success of custom software is the development team you choose to undertake the project. After all, software is only as good as the team developing it. That being said, choosing the firm for the project is no easy task. In this day and age, there are an overwhelming number of options domestic and abroad. Let’s review 10 common mistakes companies and individuals when outsourcing software development to keep you from making the same errors.
1. Putting price ahead of value
In custom software development, the amount you spend is secondary to the return on your investment. In other words, the value of your spending is more important than what you spend. This is true in any case where you’re spending money – talk about a life lesson.
Of course, budget is a major factor in what you will be able to afford. But the old adage “you get what you pay for” is not always the case. Plenty of software development firms are counting on you agreeing to high costs without reviewing their portfolio or skills. Likewise, it is most times unfair and unrealistic to select the lowest-cost firm and expect elite custom software.
Always be sure to ask a company for the contact information of previous clients who would be willing to talk to you about the company’s work. Additionally, check out third-party review sites such as clutch.co, Google reviews, and business Facebook pages to ensure you are getting unbiased feedback from real customers.
2. Choosing a firm that’s incommunicado
When it comes to pulling off custom software development projects on time and within budget, communication is key. The beauty of the internet is that it allows companies from anywhere in the world to work together. In theory, this should lead to stronger-than-ever business synergies. And it can, in practice, if you’re careful about conducting your due diligence before selecting a company. Be certain to ask the companies you’re interviewing – and the clients they’ve done work for in the past – what their policy is when it comes to communication. Go a step further and ask if you can give them a small project to test your compatibility in working together. The beauty of the technology industry is in measurable data. Give several companies you’re interviewing for a big project value-adding smaller projects. This will give you the best idea – better than any interview – of how skilled and communicative the developers are.
3. Unspecified goals & objectives
Clarifying goals and objectives at the onset of a project is key to measuring the degree to which it is successful. Before contracting a company for your custom software development needs, clearly define how you will define success in the scope of the project. Talk about it first, internally, and then be sure to communicate those qualifications to your development team. Good goals and objectives are measurable, achievable, and able to expand as your business grows.
4. Loopholes in contract
Securing an air-tight contract with your custom software developers is key to completing your project on time and within budget. Make sure to spell out every step of the process, every deliverable, payment schedule, and what will qualify the project as complete. If there is a satisfaction guarantee, spell out how that is measured. It can be uncomfortable to think about what could go wrong at the onset of a project. However, if you end up disagreeing, and eventually going to court, your contract will be analyzed to the letter to determine whether there was a breach.
5. Bypassing the NDA
Before even opening the lines of communication to recruit a development team for your software, a nondisclosure agreement is a must. Even if you know the company in question, it never hurts to be careful. Keep in mind you, yourself do not have the resources to develop your groundbreaking software. The companies you’re talking to do have the knowhow to steal your idea, The reality is, the better your idea, the more likely it is to be stolen, so why tempt fate? Get an NDA signed.
6. Failing to secure code as your intellectual property
The value of custom software is not in the packaging of the software, but the code itself. For this reason, it is critical that you make clear from the start that the custom software development will be in your company’s name. Be sure to get this in writing, as part of your contract. With rights to the code, you will be able to insure your company against theft from the developers producing your software. Additionally, you have access to the code and will be able to work with other development companies in the future, should you not be happy with the services provided by your initial software development team.
7. Unclear & Incomplete Software Requirements
It’s important to be clear about what you want to achieve when outsourcing your software engineering project and make the project successful. Not producing a clearly articulated, well-understood requirements document is one of the most common mistakes companies make when outsourcing software development. It’s important that both parties have a solid understanding of what is being asked for and not simply a vague idea of what is required.
8. Lack of a Clear Project Plan
When outsourcing your software development to a service provider, it’s important to have a clear plan of action in place. This will outline what needs to be done and by when in order for the project to meet its deadline. Without this detailed project plan, the outsourcing company may not know how to proceed or what they need to do next and you will be left in the dark as well.
9. Absence of a Clearly Defined Communication Process
Establishing clear communication methods with the outsourcing partner is a must to ensure project success. Without seamless communication, it can be difficult to reach out with questions or concerns leading to miscommunication and unnecessary frustration for both parties involved.
10. Insufficient & Infrequent Project Tracking and Monitoring
Many companies do not frequently monitor the progress of the outsourced project and this can also lead to its failure. Often the status updates turn out to be just “Yes, everything is on schedule,” or “things are fine.” and not a comprehensive in-depth update on where things stand compared to the project plan. Without proper oversight, it’s difficult to ascertain if the project is on track or if any issues have arisen. This can cause delays in the project and lead to frustration from all parties involved.
Keep these in mind. Take the time required to research your prospects for custom software development. Ask your development company finalist tough questions and see how transparent they are in their responses. You’ll be glad you did – good luck!
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