Managing Software Outsourcing Risks and Challenges
Outsourcing a project that will influence your business is always a risk. Especially if you don’t know the contractor well and don’t have anybody who can vouch for them. Business owners use different criteria to assess outsourcing software development companies and choose a team: price, development time, Clutch rating, portfolio, etc. We decided to analyze the risks when outsourcing a project and talk about how we help our clients avoid these risks with Mobindustry.
Main challenges of software development
Software development is a complex process, so it’s no surprise business owners have lots of questions. Though all outsourcing companies say that the software development process with them will be flawless, this is rarely the case.
There are certain challenges that often arise during the development, and a good outsourcer isn’t the one who 100% prevents them — it’s the one who knows how to deal with them. Let’s talk about the main challenges of software development before discussing what we do about them at Mobindustry.
- Keeping pace with trends and innovations — it may be hard to find balance between being trendy and relevant, and also spending money on constant changes and modernization. Doing a redesign each time a new trend comes out isn’t effective, but keeping up with trends is extremely important for your customer satisfaction and your brand reputation
- Security — is one of the biggest challenges in modern software development. New threats appear each month, and hackers find new ways to get access to your users’ sensitive data. You need to make sure your vendor is a security expert, and regularly check your software.
- Changes in internal culture — if you didn’t use software in your company previously, cultural changes are inevitable. You’ll need to restructure your internal business processes and the ways you interact with your users. You’ll also need to train your employees and hire people who will be responsible for your software.
- Customer experience — building proper customer experience that will bring you revenue and customer loyalty is a big challenge. To do this properly, you need to pair experienced software developers and user experience designers with knowledge about your audience. You need to collect data and insights to make data-driven decisions, and this is a constant process: even when the software is released, you need to use analytics to track user behavior and continue improving your product to their liking and convenience.
- Unpredictabilities during development — there are lots of unpredictable factors that arise during the development that can affect your deadlines and final budget. Issues with third-party integrations, unexpected changes of rules, new versions of software that’s incompatible with other technologies — these are just some potential issues that may arise. A software development vendor should include all these risks into the estimate to make sure you get your software on time.
Now let’s talk about the common concerns of business owners who are considering outsourcing software development.
How do I know that you’re professionals?
What is outsourcing and why do companies do it? Outsourcing, and in particular IT outsourcing means creating your software with the help of developers from another company. Many businesses choose to outsource their development to an IT outsourcing company because of different reasons.
For example, a company may not have a sufficient software development expertise inside, or doesn’t have time to recruit developers for an in-house team. Many businesses also choose to outsource development to countries where hourly rates are lower due to lower cost of living. For example, a remote software development team from Ukraine may charge $35 per hour while the team with the same skill level in the US will charge $130 per hour.
Many companies want to save money by outsourcing their projects to less experienced developers who don’t yet have the knowledge needed for live projects. How is Mobindustry different?
1. All our developers have higher education in STEM fields. We don’t hire inexperienced developers that have just completed four-month courses.
2. We have strict development standards and take steps to ensure the high quality of apps:
- Business analysis
- Project management tool breakdown
- Quality assurance
- Internal acceptance testing
- Regression testing in a live environment
3. We assign developers to projects and don’t shift them from one project to another. This is important in managing remote teams because when developers start working on an existing project, they need time to learn about it.
4. We apply a seniority system to determine each developer’s qualifications. This system includes both hard and soft skills. Our developers are able to talk with clients in good English and answer questions clearly.
5. Code review is an integral part of our development process. Our programmers don’t push a feature to the production environment until their colleagues have reviewed it. Even our leading architects are reviewed by other team members.
6. Each project is supervised by a senior software architect.
7. We have a stack of proven technical solutions, libraries, and tools. We research new tools and languages and don’t use them on commercial projects until they’re approved as stable and scalable by our team leads.
How can I evaluate your work if I don’t have software development expertise?
If you don’t have experience in mobile development, it can be hard to evaluate technical solutions and the professionalism of developers. How can you know whether the framework they’ve chosen for your project is really suitable? How can you actually check the quality of the solution?
1. Our technical standards are the result of over nine years of work in software development and constant research of new technologies. Each technology we add to our stack is approved by a technical leader with over six years of experience.
2. Each piece of code goes through code review. This helps to make sure it’s correct and well-structured.
3. We welcome external audits of our work. We’re ready to provide our code for verification by other development experts at any time.
4. All our engineers are ready to go through a technical interview at any moment.
We welcome external audits of our work. We’re ready to provide our code for verification by other development experts at any time
Your estimate is higher than I expected. What am I paying for?
Hourly rates vary quite a lot across the globe. Our company’s rates are average for Eastern Europe, and for this price you get much more than just code (though that’s all you pay for).
1. Our pricing is transparent: The Mobindustry rate list shows developers’ hourly rates depending on their skill level.
2. The estimate we provide for your scope is based on our experience, and it shows a feature-by-feature budget and timeline. This budget and timeline include not only hours needed for implementing functionality but also risks and communication time.
3. If you choose a fixed-price contract, we take full responsibility for delivering the exact scope you’ve requested for the exact cost we’ve estimated.
4. You pay only for what you get. Each week, we send you a detailed report on how many hours we’ve spent on which features.
5. You have access to our project management tool (e.g. Jira) at all times. Each task in Jira shows estimated hours and the actual number of hours spent on it.
Each week, we send you a detailed report on how many hours we’ve spent on which features
It’s hard to control the process and the results of a remote development team
Working with a remote team always requires additional effort, even if the team is just in another city. In our nine years of experience working as an outsourcing development company, we’ve established managing remote employees processes that keep the friction to a minimum.
1. We welcome daily stand-up meetings and regular calls with our clients. This allows all stakeholders to be on the same page.
2. We give access to Jira and source code: You can control every task and every development process if you need.
3. Each week, your project manager will send detailed reports on what’s been done and what’s planned for the next week.
4. Before starting development, we set up a common environment for effective remote team communication. We use the tools that are most convenient for you: Slack, Skype, Google Groups, Jira, etc.
We give access to Jira and source code: You can control every task and every development process if you need
5. With Mobindustry, the list of key stakeholders is always at your disposal. You can get directly in touch with a project manager, account manager, and the CEO.
6. Our team of QA engineers has access to a wide range of mobile devices. This allows us to conduct internal acceptance testing and ensure the best results.
A remote team will break the deadlines
Many people feel they won’t have as much control over a remote team as they would over an in-house team.
But that’s only the case if there’s little to no preparation. We approach development only with a detailed plan. Before starting any development project, we make a detailed estimate that contains every detail and deadline. This estimate also includes risks.
1. Our project managers are responsible for delivering on time and within your budget.
2. Most risks are connected to third-party solutions and the backend. We pay extra attention when we estimate features that will involve these two things.
3. Our team is flexible, and we pay close attention to remote team productivity. We’re ready to work overtime and involve additional developers. If something is lagging during development, we inform you right away.
4. We send you weekly reports that keep you informed about what’s been done and what’s planned for the next week.
We’re interested in delivering a great product as much as you are.
We’re ready to work overtime and involve additional developers. If something is lagging during development, we inform you right away
My remote team will exceed the budget
Exceeding the budget is something that often happens not only with leading remote teams but also with in-house teams. The digital world is dynamic, and you may want to change your project a bit over time. However, if the budget is your core concern, our project managers will prioritize it over everything else. In any case, no changes in budget are possible without your approval.
1. One way to make sure you won’t exceed your budget is to work according to a fixed-price contract. With a fixed-price contract, the project is fully estimated and planned before it begins. All risks of going over budget are on us.
A technical specification document we approve with our client is central to the development process and helps us manage our client’s expectations for the final delivery
2. A project is likely to be delivered on time and within budget if it’s well-planned. To plan a project, we need to develop a detailed specification with functional requirements. This document is central to the development process and helps us manage our client’s expectations for the final delivery.
3. As your business changes, we’re ready to reflect those changes in mobile app functionality and implement additional features. However, this will influence the scope and, as a result, the budget for your project.
I won’t have control over my project expenses
With Mobindustry, you can be sure you’ll never get unexpected invoices after a consultation or any other service. You’ll only be billed for the actual code we deliver to you and hours our QA engineers and project managers spent on communication.
1. Invoices include only the hours our developers, project managers, and QA specialists spend to develop a feature. You’ll have access to our project management tool and to the code at all times.
2. Monthly invoices include not just the amount due but a detailed report on what has been delivered and when.
Monthly invoices include not just the amount due but a detailed report on what has been delivered and when
Should I pay for QA if I have an in-house QA team?
If you have your own in-house quality assurance team, we welcome you to check the functionality we deliver. However, quality assurance is an integral part of our technical standards: We submit code only after successful internal acceptance.
If a client wants to minimize the cost of development by opting out of software quality assurance services, we aren’t able to offer our standard three-month warranty on our code.
Quality assurance is an integral part of our technical standards: We submit code only after successful internal acceptance
What if our communication isn’t clear enough?
Difficulties in communication can always arise, even if the person you’re talking with is sitting right beside you. The key is to find common ground. Mobindustry finds common ground with clients based on the following characteristics:
1. Everyone at Mobindustry speaks English.
2. We have a European business mentality.
3. We have strong team values and hire people according to these values.
4. We’re constantly improving our processes. We hold retrospective meetings after each delivery session, get feedback from our colleagues and clients, and improve. Our whole business is geared toward iterative improvement based on feedback, and we have lots of experience in managing remote development teams.
5. At Mobindustry we use a set of communication tools that allow us to organize our communication with clients effectively. For example, Slack is for minor or urgent issues, email is for reporting and regular communication. We use Skype and Zoom for video conferencing, and also communicate with our clients by phone or in Whats App.
Everyone at Mobindustry speaks English
I won’t have a representative inside the remote team who knows my business
This problem is familiar to any business owner who has more than one office. Core activities always takes place in the head office, which needs to manage all other offices. Usually, one person is responsible for communicating with other offices, keeping them informed, and transmitting the company’s goals and values. The same works for your outsourcing team.
1. A project or delivery manager is the person most involved with your product. They know its peculiarities and play the role of client representative on the side of the remote team.
2. On your side, you should assign a person who will be responsible for involving the remote team in business processes and providing information about your company. This means participating in daily stand-up meetings, calls with the team, and email correspondence.
3. Our business analysis department documents your entire product in a technical specification, which becomes a central document. It helps the whole team understand all aspects of your product.
4. Our quality assurance engineers create a test plan according to the technical specification and give additional information about your product, especially in terms of the user experience and value for end users.
There should be a person on the client’s side, who will be responsible for involving the remote team into business processes. This includes participating in daily stand-up meetings, calls with the team, and email correspondence
You won’t be involved in my product and share my values as much as an in-house team would
Involving a remote team in your project requires effort from both sides. We’ve been working over nine years for offshore clients who expect involvement from our side. Over the years, we’ve developed certain practices that help us delve into our clients’ projects and make sure they’re business-oriented.
1. The first thing we’ll ask when we start working with you is what your goals are for the product. We convey this information to all members of our team.
2. We welcome you to visit our office. Also, our developers are more than happy to visit your headquarters for on-site workshops. This gets our team involved in your business.
3. One of the core values at Mobindustry is being proactive. We hire people who focus on building long-term trusting relationships rather than short-term profit.
We welcome you to visit our office. Also, our developers are more than happy to visit your headquarters for on-site workshops. This gets our team involved in your business
What if someone steals my unique idea or algorithm?
Many projects we work on are unique from a technical and/or business point of view. It’s understandable that some people prefer to keep their ideas to themselves, as they’re concerned about security on the side of the outsourcing company. How does Mobindustry provide security and keep our clients’ information confidential?
1. We’re a legal entity registered in the European Union, and we conclude contracts with European and US legal entities.
2. As a guarantee of our reliability, we sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with a client’s legal entity. This NDA contains a penalty for disclosure of any information our clients discuss with us.
3. You’re the owner of all content we create related to your project, including the code we develop. Code is available to you at any time. You can see the development process in a project management tool (e.g. Jira) and have full control of the source code in GitLab.
4. We have a DevOps department responsible for server and data security. We’ve experienced four DDoS attacks in the history of Mobindustry, and our protection has always assured no data leakage.
An NDA we sign with a client contains a penalty for disclosure of any information our clients discuss with us
At Mobindustry, we care deeply about both our clients’ reputation and our own. We take responsibility for our code and make sure it serves business purposes. By partnering with us, you can be sure you’ll pay for exactly what you get and get exactly what you want.
If you’re considering mobile development or shortlisting IT outsourcing companies, we’d be delighted if you added Mobindustry to your list. Get an estimate for your project or consult with us on how our software solutions can improve your business.