Don’t Lose your IP when you Outsource

By Sheetal Jaitly

So the time has come for you to outsource your digital project. You have many concerns but you feel it’s time to reach out to someone to accelerate your product roadmap. After you solidify your partnership with the the right vendor, and let’s assume everything goes right, they deliver a shiny new digital product on time and on budget. They then provide you with the documentation outlining the project details. You and your team start gathering analytics from your users and are ready to work on V2 of your product.

Once the project passes from your vendor to your internal team as a core product of your business, you start planning out a product roadmap for your team to execute on. But when your team reviews all the documentation and code that was delivered by the external vendor, they come back to you with a list of concerns. The documentation isn’t up to date, the codebase is unreadable by anyone other than the creator. It’s a birds nest mess. You call your so called partner for help, which ends with you bringing them back on for another engagement to finish the rest of the product.

You were drawn in at first when they told you “they would be an extension of your team,” but now you realize they are acting more like an outside team controlling a core piece of your business. As you work with this partner for V2 of your product, you notice the original team is moving on to other projects and see a significant drop in dedication to your project. At this point, you realize you’re stuck in a sticky situation with a vendor that you can’t break away from. Now you need to figure out Plan B with this vendor and your investors are not happy.

The lesson is, don’t let anyone outside of your company take control of your code. At TribalScale, we practice pair programming. In our world of development, two developers work together at the same workstation with 2 monitors, 2 keyboards, 2 mice, but only one computer. When you decide to build a product with a partner that works the way we do, anyone from your team can pair with one of our developers for a couple of development cycles or sprints. During this time, your team will understand how the code was built, learn from our team of expert developers who’ve built some of the most prestigious digital products and our XP process. Then, you can take the Intellectual Property (IP) and knowledge you learned and share it across your organization. Through our engagements with various clients, we’ve seen how important it is to have a line of sight into your products and be empowered instead of letting go of control. Find a partner that will not only transfer their code’s IP to you, but also insights into what goes into a successful product.

Don’t be caught with a spiderweb of code and bad documentation. Your IP is your equity so don’t give it up! Work with a partner who will actually be an extension of your team.

Sheetal Jaitly is an entrepreneur and avid investor in the startup space, but first and foremost he is the CEO of TribalScale–a digital firm that specializes in the design and development of world class digital products. Throughout his career, Sheetal has seen the potential of technology to transform businesses and is dedicating his life’s work to support brands in creating digital solutions that innovate businesses and resonate with users. Outside of his day-to-day role, Sheetal is an active speaker, a volunteer and member of the Board of Directors for the Ontario Association of Food Banks.

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