IT Outsourcing

10 Crucial Questions to Ask When Outsourcing Software Development

13 Dec 20229 min read

Marcin Kulawik

Marcin Kulawik

10 Crucial Questions to Ask When Outsourcing Software Development

You just decided to hire an outsourcing software company and have no clue what your next step is. Or you have some ideas in mind, but you still need more knowledge. Or you simply are still hesitant whether to do so or to create an in-house development team. You have come to the right place, then.

Why outsource software development projects?

The IT global market has rapidly changed since just a few years ago. After Covid-19, working remotely has become a new standard and keeps evolving. This also applies to choosing companies outside of your origin era to cut costs and find solutions to ongoing economic recessions. Another important factor that collaborates with all the changes in how the IT market has been reshaping and positioning is the number of outsourcing companies higher than ever before.

Therefore, it is inevitable that outsourcing companies have become the best choice for most. If you choose this solution: what are your first moves? If you are looking for an outsourcing company with expert developers? You should choose wisely as it is an important decision. To help you in this process, we prepared a checklist:

10 crucial questions to ask software development agency

1. What is your portfolio and experience with my business domain?

It's essential to look at past company projects and see how they perform in the area you are operating in. You could start with searching by yourself, but it is always good to ask this question once you meet with the team or the project manager so they can explain everything and respond to your arising inquiries. They should know much about that field to create functional software that would provide smart solutions and fulfil its primary duty as an application. They should be experts in your domain and have knowledge of how a business like yours operates and which features should be delivered.

2. Have You Worked With Clients From This Location?

Nowadays, the world is a global place with fewer boundaries when cooperation with different people from all over the globe. However, it is still crucial to find out if the company you plan to work with knows and understands the place you live and have your business. Moreover, certain customs and approaches may differ, which might cause problems in communication. From the other perspective, the team needs to be familiar with the problems and practices of your local socio-economical environment.

3. Can you provide a reference from a previous client?

Case studies are one thing, but it is always good to know the opinions and experiences of the clients that the company has worked with. They may provide you with information that would never be found in other sources. Another step would be to ask them to arrange a call with their customer or an email. You can always research on your own and start with their website, look for the statements on their social media (Linkedin or Google is best), or search designated websites such as Cluth or others.

4. How do you work on the project? Explain your approach to software development.

How do they divide their work? Do they follow scrum or other frameworks? You need to understand their processes and compare them with your own opinion. It is best to establish this at the beginning before the process starts. If not, you may feel anxious and see the project as chaotic or inefficient because of the disagreed workflow.

5. How does the cost breakdown look?

Purchasing custom software is a great investment. It could bring great results but also carries significant risks with it. It is good to establish cost breakdowns to feel secure and minimise the hazard. Ensure that you and your chosen company are on the same page about this. Ask them what their plan is, bring your ideas and allow them to propose theirs, so there are more solutions to consider. Then finally, agree to the plan you both feel comfortable with and secure in.

6. How do you estimate project timelines?

To be up to speed with your plans and to set achievable goals, estimating the timeline is crucial. It also helps you track the progress of the project and reassures you of how well the collaboration is going so far. Setting the right lines for your aims helps you control costs and workflow. Studies show that 1 in 12 reasons for the failure of hiring an outsourcing company for development has been due to delays. Estimating a project at its beginning is mostly uncertain. However, as development goes forward it becomes more accurate. Look for companies that are transparent about their estimation methodology. The project timeline holds everything in one place and enables you to look at the project in its entirety, which could help you see any harmful patterns or errors in the plan.

7. How many developers will be on my team, what is their seniority and how much time do you need to scale up?

You need to be aware of how many developers will work for you. What would be the component of their experience? Mining, how many seniors, mids or juniors would make up the whole group? That will affect their time predictions and the cost of this collaboration. It also helps you estimate if the team is suited to reach the level of complexity you wish for.

8. How do we communicate?

What is their communication style? Do they follow the asynchronous style of communication or do they respond right away? What would you like it to be?

Once you establish that, you should also ask what tools they use to communicate. Where do they conduct meetings and where do they chat, or is it just a formal email each time? There will be a lot of communication throughout the whole proses and to ensure it goes smoothly and brings benefits it is necessary to establish it ahead of time.

9. What is my role in the project?

How should I be prepared? Do I need to make every single decision or which decisions can I make, if not all of them? How much time do I need to designate for this project?

All those questions will help you plan your work, the amount of money and the level of engagement you need to put into the project.

10. What if you don’t deliver/I’m not happy with the outcome.

It is always hard to admit or point out the parts that you are not satisfied with and it is even harder to ask for a redo. However, it is almost the most important act of them all.

The biggest rule here is: to be as honest and transparent as you can and as soon as possible! There should be regular meetings that could spot any mistakes in workflow or any part of the process that you are not satisfied with. This could allow you to repair any parts that you do not like quickly and with not a lot of changes in the main structure of the project.

This is how we work at SolveQ. Our rule is: prevention is better than cure! Our clients have an actual impact on our choices and work status very frequently. With daily inspection and adaptation according to the main goals, there is little chance to develop a high level of dissatisfaction that could be possible with longer neglect.

Wrapping up

All in all, choosing the right outsourcing company is not easy. However, it brings many benefits and reduces costs and it is entirely doable.

The most crucial factor is that you should present your company with the most information you have and present them with all of your needs intentions aims and plans. This will clarify everything and make the collaboration easier. It will only bring benefits to the process and the outcome. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and be fully transparent with your plans. It is always better to have a good solid start and not to wake up in a mess!

If you are looking for hiring a development team and don’t want to risk get in touch with us

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Marcin Kulawik

Marcin Kulawik

Founder and CEO of SolveQ. Huge fan of building things with purpose, agility, and having fun while changing the World. Loves his family, teammates, and nature.