Startups and mid-size companies that are in a period of high expansion and growth often need to develop and deploy custom software solutions quickly. They then debate whether offshoring or nearshoring software development is the best option – but if there’s not enough budget, or time, outsourcing is usually the best option. Outsourcing has been around for a while, but it’s gotten a bad reputation in the past because of easily avoidable problems in prioritizing selection factors. Here are what we consider some of the most important factors in choosing the right team for a custom software development project.
Most Important: Clear Communication
Your outsourced development team absolutely must be able to communicate with you about project requirements and specifications. The need to establish healthy communication with your outsourced software team precedes any other technical abilities in our book. A developer team that doesn’t read specs or answer questions, spends two weeks coding without any updates, and then bills you thousands of dollars for work you never needed or wanted will cost far more than a great team that takes the time to really understand you, your project, and your needs before beginning the work.
We advise companies to filter out any team that doesn’t respond quickly to your communication, or doesn’t seem to have understood the technical requirements of your project. On the other hand, when they’re active on whatever channel you use to communicate with them, proactively and regularly reach out to you, and frequently ask clarifying questions, hire them as soon as you can!
Another Must-Have: Organizational Ability
A lack of organization is a loss of time. The right software team for you should be able to show you that they’ve handled projects of your size and scope before, and that they have an organized workflow for getting things done on time. When you hire an outsourced software development team, you’re not just hiring workers – you’re hiring a project manager who will also handle all the management, monitoring, and hiring/firing functions so you can focus on higher-level tasks in your business.
You can tell that the development team you’re interviewing is organized when their communications make it clear what roles they have within the team, and your communication consistently flows through the same channels. You’ll be able to interview multiple key players in each role, and find out how they work together.
Good Qualification: Realistic, Detailed Proposal
The third most important qualification for hiring a remote software development company is receiving a realistic, detailed proposal. If they’re professional, they should propose a timeline with specific milestones, and the amount of time they’ve given themselves to reach those milestones should be achievable. You can always negotiate the terms of their proposal, but by being proactive about setting deadlines on the path to completing your project, a contractor is showing you that they’re experienced and that they understand your desire to periodically check in to see progress.
Least Important: Exact Technical Skill
Think of it this way: if you’ve already chosen a team that can communicate with you clearly and proactively, and is well-organized and realistic in its proposals, then odds are good that they’re intelligent professionals. If they don’t have the exact skill set that you need for your project, but they do have related skills within the same field, asking them to learn a little before starting your project will produce a small delay – about a week. But if you’ve prioritized exact technical ability in your search without paying enough attention to communication, organization, and realism, then your project will probably have much worse delays down the road that you might not have even anticipated. While at Ekipa we don’t advocate hiring a team completely out of its technical field of experience, if they’ve got enough related skills and they’ve shown you they’re professional and serious, then they can still be an excellent candidate for your project.
Finally, it’s always useful to remember that Ekipa’s teams are already preselected to exceed client expectations in all of these areas, so it’s easier to find the right software development team for your needs through us. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can work together, drop us a line and let us know how we can help you!
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