Finding the right (outsource) development partner for offshore development - Benny Alexander

By the time when you are reading this article you must be having a good knowledge about outsourcing. Even you might have planned to outsource some of your web development and related work, which will not affect your core competencies. Also you must be aware that India could be right place where you can send our work to a web development company and you may be interested in giving it a try. If this is the case you need to do much research on finding your vendor, or partner and this article can help you to initiate the process.
Developing Initial contacts:

The initial contact is an important point, as a good start of a business relation, which is essential for the entire partnership. Visiting a web development company which is about thousands of miles away may not be cost effective, as one of the primary reasons why you outsource is, to reduce the cost of development.

So you need to discuss project and contract details through Emails only. However, as it depends entirely on customer’s wish, it can be done via communication channels as well if direct contact is possible for some reason. The most important thing about the initial contact is to define the responsibilities for both you and the Vendor. This kind of approach will help you and the initial trust is needed to move towards the next step.

Raising Initial Questions:

You can send a set of questions to the development team and ask them to answer. The following is some of the essential questions for which you would need the answers.
1. What is the Industry expertise level?
2. Technical expertise areas?
3. Samples for Consultant quality.
4. What is the Methodology?
5. Do they have Knowledge management?
6. How do they do Knowledge transfer?
7. Necessary Cultural integration.
8. What is the Availability and pricing?
9. Reference projects or case studies.
10. Local and offshore talents and their ratio.
11. Percentage of business from new application development vs. maintenance/ support outsourcing.
12. What are the developer’s process maturity, and what type of quality assessments/ certifications have been done?
13. Do they have Soft skills training and what's is the team's individual skill sets?

Preparing RFQ's and Agreements:

Define and write your requirements. Expect a rough (or "ballpark") estimate from the developer. You can match with your budget and you can use the Quote from the developer to find how they understand the requirement. Also if you find the similar or related projects that can add some value in finalizing your partner.

Selecting the right Technology

Technology is key player in any outsourcing relationship, so ensuring the caliber needed for any project and the reliability, flexibility, and salability that you need. Try to find your potential offshore developer with their client references and make a site visit to at least one current client if possible. It’s important to take the time to talk to the people who are using the technology now.

Initiating the First Trial:

When you find some people and built the initial relationship you can try with a sample or pilot project: this can be a small one, non-critical task meant for testing the experience level of our programmers. Invariably,
the sample project needed to be complex enough to give the customer a clear idea of the performance level of our programmers. Many web developers may not show full efforts if the pilot project is a mock up one, or an unpaid job. But you can always discuss with them, as the cost of development should be low, and the offshore development company need to develop this project below the cost allotted. You can give them a budget too. In this way you can evaluate a offshore developer's ability. skills, and trustworthy ness by spending less cost.

Understanding the Initial procedures:

The first thing is establishing the communication channels (Email, Phone, Instant Messengers or others) in order to keep the customer informed regularly. After receiving the project specifications, both parts must approve the time schedule, and a dedicated project manager will be assigned to be permanently in contact with the customer. The project manager will be in charge of the project during the development stage until final delivery, she/he will clear up the problems (if any) and she/he will make sure that the project will meet the deadline successfully. If the project requires a more complex approach, it’s recommended to divide it into phases and milestones, so that you can monitor each step and make changes, if necessary.

Keeping up the Project stages:

This is the point where real work begins: the project manager has to be there to handle the coordination between the programming teams, sends daily reports, clears the problems and makes sure that everything is going on just smoothly, according to schedules. During the final stages of the team should have proper testing and QA procedures? You can ask this Question,

1. Do they have a Quality policy?
2. Is Testing, an integral part of development and also a separate stage at the last stage of the project?
3. Do they have a bug Fixing system? Do they have a tracking system, which will always have the track of bugs and fixes?

Attaining the final delivery:

Here’s the point where the final version of the product is delivered to the client, with all source codes documented in English. The project is considered done only after the customer approves the product quality.

The above-mentioned can help you to find your offshore development partner. Along with these steps you should also need to prepare for the risks involved in outsourcing your web development work.

There are certain issues you may face during the finding stages of your offshore development partner, But this is now almost ignorable in this improved IT era, where country like India already overcame and doing major play in offshore development.

  • Cultural differences/clash.
  • Language barriers, Now European languages are a barrier in Asia.
  • Distance to vendor.
  • Time zone differences (can be a plus or minus).
  • Political instability.
  • Telecommunications infrastructure.
  • General country infrastructure.
  • Management challenges.

Ensuring Trust:

Finding the ways to improve the mutual Trust is the top among any initiatives. This does not need much explanation.

Choosing the your outsourcing partner means performing due diligence, and articulating a vision of how they can best contribute to the success of your business. Once you’ve chosen your partner, trust, establishing clear and realistic expectations and effective channels of communication, as well as integrating your outsourcer into your organizational structure will help to ensure that you get the highest return on your investment.

Read this article on risks understanding. Write us if you have any questions on this topic.



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