You’re a business maverick, but not necessarily a technology development expert. So while you can identify the need for new software programs in your business, you can’t sit behind a computer and bang on a keyboard to get those results.
Is outsourcing the answer? It depends. In most cases, the companies who seek software outsourcing fall into one of two categories:
- Trying to solve a particular problem, or
- Trying to build a particular product or service.
Before you spend a dime on outsourcing, you need to understand whether your own company aligns with one of those descriptions. Your findings will help you determine if outsourcing would prove fruitful or wasteful.
In most cases, there are three reasons that companies shouldn’t pursue software outsourcing as their development solution.
Reason 1: You Don’t Know What You Want To Achieve From Outsourcing
This pitfall doesn’t just apply to software development. Say you wanted to build your own customized home, so you hire an architect and general contractor to bring your vision to life… except you don’t have a vision at all. Instead, you hope or expert for your vendors to invent a concept you approve, which is frustrating for everybody involved.
If your company can’t specifically describe what it wants to achieve from outsourcing, it’s impossible for your vendor to succeed.
The same issue occurs when you fail to define priorities for your service. What matters more to you: Quality? Budget? Timing? Security? If you can’t identify your most critical priorities, that vagueness will trickle straight down to the people writing the code. You won’t be satisfied with the end results.
Try to answer these questions to gauge whether you’re ready for outsourcing:
- What is the purpose of your software?
- Why do you want to solve the problem?
- What is the vision for your product or service?
- What are your top priorities?
The clearer your vision is, the easier it will be to find a partner who can share that vision and bring it to fruition.
Reason 2: The Level of Innovation Required Is Too Extreme
What type of innovation does your software vision require? Outsourcing can support innovation, but not to an extreme level. If you’re on a mission to build a novel solution with new technologies, you’ll struggle to find an outsourced vendor capable of committing to such large-scale innovation.
Innovation of that scale requires a “meeting of the minds” from different disciplines who share the same core values and goals. It relies on internal team members who share an intense focus and dedication to a united mission, who exist within the same culture. That kind of unity and culture can’t be manufactured through outsourcing.
Reason 3: You’re Not an Experienced User of Professional Providers
You have a solid vision, reasonable expectations, and a viable product or solution — you just need someone to build it. You’re a prime candidate for outsourcing software development. However, if your understanding of outsourcing software development isn’t based on actual experience, you could still have a problem.
If you don’t have experience using an outsourcing vendor, find someone you can trust to guide you through the experience. Find someone who will work to set up an effective collaboration with you. A good vendor will tell you how both of you together could be successful, because good vendors are looking for a win-win, partner-to-partner relationship, not a directive “client-vendor” relationship.
Additional problems come if you’ve been given the responsibility — but not the authority — to build a software product. You hire a development team, but you still have to run every little decision in the development process by someone higher up. Where this is the case, outsourcing can’t deliver the success you envision.
The Bottom Line: Get Clear on Your “Why”
Whether you want to begin outsourcing software development in one week or in five years, start getting ready now.
Clarify why you want to outsource: to achieve your goals faster? Find better talent? Beat the competition?
Knowing your why will help you decide if you’re ready for outsourcing. It will also help set you up to win when you do move forward with a development team.