How To Outsource Software Developers Effectively & Without Compromising on Good Quality Assurance

In a simple situation when your business decides to outsource software development, you start to wonder: How outsourcing will affect the quality? In other words, the quality of the software is directly affected by the provider you decided to hire. It certainly will show a positive correlation when you choose the right provider.

In his 5-plus years of IT experience, Ilya Shirshov has seen companies make the wrong software development team choices. It cost these companies dearly (excess of AU$1m+), including time, delays, bugs, glitches, security issues and other related problems. To give you a simple example looking at 606 recorded software fails impacting half of the world’s population (3.7 billion people), $1.7 trillion in assets, and 314 companies. And this is only scratching the surface as there’re many more cases of unreported software bugs and we will likely never know about them.

Image Source: https://www.tricentis.com

The bug reports data from Tricentis pose a huge question on some developers effectiveness in testing and quality assurance (QA). Therefore it’s in your best interest to make the right choice for software outsourcing.

“Every CIO I’ve ever known has had large, board-visible projects where a defect discovered at the release date is so critical that it requires a major redesign of the project that leads to tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars in costs, massive delays, and a huge loss of credibility.”

- TODD PIERCE Healthcare and Life Sciences Board Member and Executive

We’ve discovered when you work with a good developer, not only they stick to standards ensuring good quality, then their focus is on your overall business goals and planned results. In other words, the A-team is rather thoughtful in producing working code rather than “slapping code together”.

Since product quality is of paramount importance, my suggestion is to never make a decision based on a quick Google search choosing the least expensive developer.

The importance of QA and Testing

When and if you decided to outsource, you should share and emphasise on a common goal of creating high-quality software to grow your business. This is practically in your company’s interest. In the perfect world scenario, the best developer will bring a magnitude of expertise from producing software solutions across a number of different industries. According to Salesforce it’s about leveraging developers’ collective experience to help win across any type of difficult challenges. Since the outsource partners often work with many companies on a number of projects, they are able to utilise their critical skills and expertise for any software development.

In fact, many of the outsourced developer teams utilise their collective know-how to solve problems and innovate as the result. The truth is many of the remote software outsourcing companies hold regular meetings, where everybody shares on what they’re working on, which includes their challenges, creative solutions and development success stories. These insights are shared among the team benefiting the quality of each developer’s work with the cross-pollination of information. A development partner on average can have up to 20–30 developers in a meeting, meaning you certainly get all of that experience applied to your software product.

When you’re looking for a potential partner and interviewing them individually or as a team, the best practice is to ask them about their portfolio of work and the amount of success they’ve had across different markets. The other “must-ask-question” is how they apply those experiences to creating software. Needless to say, you’d remember to ask for references to substantiate their work.

TOP QUESTIONS TO HELP FIND A SUITABLE PARTNER DEVELOPER

Evaluating your short-list of potential outsourcing partners? Ensure you focus on evaluating their potential for success first. Since it’s best practice to do so in person, meet with the potential teams to get a better insight into their strengths and learn about their processes.

Find out the following:

  • How Agile are they?
  • Are they DevOps focused?
  • What’s the level of awareness of the latest tech and standards?
  • Is security a priority?
  • Are there procedures in place to ensure business continuity?
  • Are safeguards in place to ensure, should a situation arise, to keep your software development on track?
  • How do they collaborate with the clients?

The questions above help you gain valuable insight, making you better prepared to find and select the best fit partner with a focus on quality and long-term success of your software.

If the partner is proficient in the field of QA testing you should ask the following questions:

  • Will they provide a QA for your project?
  • How many QA tests will be taken to confirm quality?
  • Regression testing?
  • Static testing?
  • Dynamic testing?
  • White and black-box testing?
  • Visual testing?
  • Will you be making QA/testing a priority?

HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR DEVELOPER PARTNERSHIP?

As soon as you’ve selected a suitable outsourcing developer-partner, take into consideration the following three important aspects to foster the creation of a good quality product with your outsource software development partner.

1.Create short user stories

User stories are an effective way to communicate your vision of the product in fine details of the features and without any unnecessary ambiguity. This is a must for those companies who would want to succeed in creating quality software ticking all of the product vision boxes. It’s in your best interest to have your partner understand the outcome you feel you want, resulting in the final product being a simple, friendly and high-quality experience for the end user.

2. Collaborate for Quality Assurance (QA)

Every good developer would encourage this of course but it’s in your best interest to collaborate with them to ensure quality. Your upfront question (from the list above) should sound: How do you collaborate with your clients?

A perfect fit outsource-partner developer would be proactive, ask a lot of questions, bring fresh ideas to the table, want to be fully aware of your software end-user, and is able to make suggestions for improvement. They will want to be involved in discussions and keen to work with you to solve problems. The truth is if you and your development partner are not able to participate in the process of creating the software as a team, your goal of creating the best software product is doomed.

3. The value of the power phrase “This is what I think I want”

It’s rather often overlooked than utilised by Executive Management — the necessity to communicate your software idea in a passive voice. As a client, you’d sit down with the team to share the specs of the future software product and let the developer partner bring them to life. However, this may not always work as what you think you want isn’t always what the product user needs. You would instead start off by providing a complete specification of what you think you want.

Avoid saying,

“This is exactly what I want”,

and instead try using the passive form -

“This is what I think I want”,

allowing for the creative environment for your developer partner where fresh ideas and solutions emerge. The last thing you’d want is to limit your software developer from being the creator and downgrade them to just a “doer” following your instructions which is not the ideal option. Your outsourcing partner must be allowed room to ponder and extract from their previous development successes and failures so they can innovate, looking beyond what you think you want, delivering the best quality software product.

By now you should have a better idea on how to ensure your offshore software development team does a good job regardless of the complexity of your project. If still in doubt or have a question, please leave a comment or reach out direct so we could help you navigate in the complex world of outsourcing.