Every form of outsourcing requires some introspection from the company looking to hire external specialists. After all, what's the point of getting someone to help achieve your business goals if you don't know what exactly you need in the first place?
In this article, we share expert advice with you about how to start an IT outsourcing project successfully. We're going to discuss the most important steps in the process so that you get to make the most of outsourcing for your company.
Identify your needs
The first step to launching a successful outsourcing partnership is having a clear idea about your unique business needs. Before assessing potential outsourcing providers, consider your company first.
- Who are you?
- What projects or tasks have you got ahead of you?
- What is the exact nature of your projects? And is it going to change in the future? If so, how?
Answer these questions to identify the key areas of your business that could benefit the most from IT outsourcing. For example, if you spot a task that requires engaging a specialist on a short-term basis, this task might be a good candidate for an outsourcing service like staff augmentation.
Choose the best cooperation model
When outsourcing your IT tasks or projects to an external provider, it's essential that you first become familiar with different hiring options. Here's a short overview:
In-house hiring - this option comes with the benefit of a stronger alignment of the team with your business goals. However, you will have to take care of everything, from the expensive and time-consuming recruitment process to the costs of salaries, perks and benefits, and many overhead and administrative costs.
Project-based outsourcing - in this model, you delegate the entire responsibility for building your product to an external service provider. This leaves you with a lot of time to focus on your mission-critical tasks. This approach is most popular among non-technical founders or companies that have limited technical capabilities on board and want to outsource the development of a Proof of Concept (PoC) or Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
Staff augmentation/team extension - this strategy allows hiring experienced specialists from all over the world and then managing them directly to gain greater control over your project. An IT staffing company can provide you with skilled developers on both a short and long-term basis. Most of the time, these developers will be employed directly by the vendor, so the costs and liability that come with hiring full-time workers aren't your problems anymore. In this model, people are dedicated exclusively to your project and spend 100% of their time on it (they don't switch between different projects).
When to choose staff augmentation?
Staff augmentation works best if you already have an in-house team working on the project but want to develop another part of it faster. It's also a good choice when you're building a solution with an external team and need some extra software engineers, having the possibility of communicating directly with your team.
Prepare for a remote collaboration
Successful team cooperation means knowing how to solve various challenges that emerge when outsourcing IT work. Here are a couple of problematic areas together with solutions to help you ace IT outsourcing.
Managing time zones
Our clients are based in different places around the world. This means that we just had to learn how to manage collaborations with companies located in different time zones. The 8-9 hours of time difference between Central European Time at Pacific Time is often difficult to handle. However, providers like us can address this issue by implementing a flexible working hours policy that works wonders for our clients in the US. Clarify whether your provider has a strategy for dealing with time zone differences before teaming up with them.
Build a solid process
Planning is easily the most important thing at the beginning of any remote cooperation, including staff augmentation. Make sure that communication happens regularly to facilitate planning. For example, at Teams by Sunscrapers, we hold a sprint meeting every two weeks to discuss feature priorities and make plans. We also follow the Scrum framework and arrange daily scrums wherever team members can tell everyone what they've been up to and what they will be working on next. Thanks to videoconferencing software, team members can see each other and feel more connected to the project.
Get the right tools
To make remote cooperation work, you need to equip your employees with different tools that enable collaboration. For example, project management tools such as Jira, Trello, or Asana keep the team up-to-date with the current project status without unnecessary communication. This type of transparency is critical in remote collaborations where workers can't just reach out to one another in the open space. Instant messengers like Slack are just as important for communication as they allow answering all the urgent questions immediately, and you can create special channels for projects. Emails are useful, as well. For example, at Teams, we use email to send meeting summaries, research information, and longer reports. Thanks to all of these tools, you'll be able to build efficient and productive communication with your remote team members, setting your business on the path to success.
We hope that this article helps you understand what you need to prepare to start outsourcing IT functions and roles. If you'd like to learn more about outsourcing best practices in IT, keep a close eye on our blog where we share our expertise gained during more than a decade of cooperating with clients from all over the world.
And if you need some extra software engineers for your project, get in touch with us - we know how to find the right talents who not only have the right skills but are also a great culture fit.