As we continue exploring the exciting terrain of software development outsourcing, we come to the third and concluding part of our series - "Scaling Tech Teams with Outsourcing". In the previous articles, we have delved into understanding the risks, mitigation strategies, and the power of strategic partnerships in IT outsourcing. Today, we will further enhance your arsenal of knowledge by diving deep into the intricacies of a team scaling through outsourcing.
In an ever-evolving business landscape marked by rapid technological advancements, scaling your tech teams efficiently and effectively is a significant challenge and a critical necessity. Outsourcing provides a solution but needs to be approached with astuteness and caution.
In this article, we take a magnifying glass to outsource software development. We aim to equip you with the insights necessary to avoid common pitfalls and adopt best practices for successful scaling. This article offers a comprehensive guide, split into two major sections: "Most Common Mistakes" and "Best Practices in Scaling Tech Teams with Outsourcing”.
Whether you are a growing startup aiming to rapidly extend your technical capabilities, or an established business facing the need to scale your tech team without losing efficiency or focus, this piece will provide practical, actionable advice to navigate your growth journey.
So, sit back and join us on this illuminating voyage into the world of scaling tech teams through outsourcing. Let's together unfold the secrets to leverage outsourcing effectively for your organization's success.
Most common mistakes
Failing to define clear goals and requirements
One of the biggest and most common mistakes is failing to clearly define the goals and needs of the cooperation.
We all have some expectations, and if we do not state them implicitly, it can result in misunderstandings, conflicts, delays, and even lawsuits.
This all costs time and money - two resources people plan to save when going to an external company.
I’ve seen this happen many times - the client who thinks that just by hiring an external company, he no longer needs to care about the part of the work that they are doing and relies too much on the fact that the company is experienced and should know what to do.
This is somehow connected to the point above. But the essential information is that no matter the vendor's experience, portfolio, or expertise, trust must be verified, and reliance must be limited according to this verification.
Communication and collaboration
Clients often expect results without much involvement, especially when they have an in-house team. Somehow they treat external teams as their own but tend to forget that this team has different perspectives than in-house folk.
This should (ideally) force you to emphasize communication, collaboration, and involvement in the project sent to an external company.
Regarding vendors - nobody can read minds and perform miracles - it’s all hard work and everyday communication - without it, it’s better not to go with external teams.
In some cases, there is a tendency to ignore the quality control on the client side - there is a popular assumption that an experienced company will do everything as it should.
And this is the problem - there is no one way to do things. Your current tech team must spend some time in meetings with the external one to convey the standards and quality checks used in your company.
If they fail to do so, the parts written by the vendor can drastically differ in terms of methodology, documentation, quality, and construction. And this is a situation you should avoid because you can safely assume that your team will maintain the codebase sometime in the future.
Bad due diligence
All those factors can also be made worse by inadequate due diligence when selecting your software outsourcing partner.
Some traps can be avoided initially, even before the cooperation starts. It usually happens when the decision as to who should be the vendor is made strictly by the business, without the involvement of the current tech team, the CTO, or the Engineering Manager.
Best practices in scaling tech teams with outsourcing
Now that we covered some of the most common mistakes, we shall take a look at the best practices that are used when it comes to outsourcing software development (or UX/UI services, I’m convinced that those rules apply to more than software).
When to go with an outsourced team?
There are five main reasons you should consider outsourcing (of course, there are probably dozens more, but I tried categorizing them as widely as possible).
- Doing a selected chunk of the system
- Doing a specified domain of the system
- Using a different than in-house technology
- Speeding up the things
I do not think that I need to explain all of those, as they are pretty straightforward. The main thing to remember here is that cooperation with the external partner should have a reason and a goal. Based on that and honest communication from day one, we can have better control over the company we choose and the results we get.
Goals and requirements
It should be obvious, but I'll repeat it - whenever working with an external vendor, you MUST define the goals and requirements of your cooperation as clearly and as early as possible.
Only then will both parties have a clear idea of what they are doing, what they should be reporting, to whom they should report, and the expected timeframe of their cooperation.
Both things must be well documented and signed or at least agreed upon in writing (email is usually sufficient).
Another good practice.
You must establish clear, honest, transparent, and constant communication to achieve good results with an external team.
Taking part in demos, planning sessions, feedback sessions, or sometimes even after-hours activities with your software partner is essential. This allows everyone (including you as the client) to know what is expected, what is happening, and how everyone feels.
Any problems can be spotted before they become tragic, and some cool ideas for improvements can be found before starting the work. This communication lets you transform your ordinary vendor into your trusted software development partner.
Quality control processes
This is an aspect very often overlooked. The fact that you’re hiring an experienced and proven company does not in any way mean that you should skip quality control.
Obviously, some level of trust is needed, but there is an old saying “Trust, but verify”. Quality control is the “control” part of this saying.
Implementing even basic processes will guarantee that the software delivered passed basic checks and testing - which makes the job much easier and ensures coherent results across the whole cooperation, which in some cases can last years (not all outsourcing limits to single tasks/parts of the system).
Last but not least - if you plan to work on longer tasks/projects or consider having constant support from an external company, I’d strongly suggest building a partnership, not just superficial client/vendor relationships.
This, of course, takes time and demands extra effort, but it pays off pretty well for both sides. It gives you much better control over the quality, budget, and timeline. As a cherry on top, you actually gain some new friends. But jokes aside - clients treating a vendor as a partner drastically boosts their team's motivation and dedication. And who knows, maybe you will consider acquiring the company in the future. History has seen a lot of such cases, and if the partnership is built right, they are pretty much success stories.
Scaling tech teams with outsourcing can effectively meet the demand for software development services. However, it requires careful planning, effective communication, quality control processes, and a long-term partnership approach. By following these best practices, businesses can avoid common mistakes and ensure successful outsourcing partnerships.
If you are looking for somebody to build such a relationship with, we are open to discussing your expectations and becoming a partner in your e-venture. Contact us.