Is it a bad idea to outsource software development? Let’s look at some examples of terrible IT outsourcing projects and think if there was a way to avoid failure.
10 Questions to Ask Your Potential Software Development Outsourcing Provider
Follow this smooth project transition plan to make sure the new vendor has all the required information, and the outgoing team gave you all the knowledge, documents and rights.
There are many mobile app development companies but not every one of them will deliver the product you’re expecting. The best way to pick a relevant IT outsourcing provider for your project is to ask the right questions. These questions will help you to find developers who will understand your vision and create the app you want: a product customized to your market and audience’s needs.
1. Can I see some apps you’ve already created?
When we talk about software development, the experience is highly valuable. Of course, developers should have a lot of knowledge, but if they’ve already created some apps, they know what to expect and can advise you in a lot of fields. Above all, a software house should eagerly show you their portfolio of previous projects. You can also ask about the results: how high their apps have been ranked in app stores, what are the reviews.
2. Have you ever worked on a similar project?
The past project could be similar concerning industry or features. If your potential IT outsourcing provider has already worked on a project from the same industry as yours, they already know its specifications. Therefore, they can easily understand your audience and the problems your product should solve.
When a software house didn’t work with your industry, it’s good if they’ve already created an app with similar features as yours. If you need payment integration or geolocation in your app, it will be easier if the software development company already knows what to do.
3. Can I speak with some of your clients? (Preferably from the same industry as mine.)
There’s no better way to get the independent look on the performance of a chosen software house then talking to their previous clients. It will be best if you could talk to clients from the same industry as yours. They can give you the most relevant feedback. Where you can find them? For example, look at the software development company’s portfolio or visit their profile on Clutch.
Talk with them about their general assessment of this mobile app development company. Find out how well was the project organized and what was the quality of the final product. What is more, ask them how the software house handled with deadlines, pressure. Moreover, you want to know how flexible they were and how was the communication.
4. Do you understand my business model, target audience, goals?
A software house should perfectly understand your business model, requirements and target audience. There are some product workshop tools like User Personas, that you can use together. What is more, you can also organize Design Sprint – five-day long workshop when you create a prototype of your idea. The main goal is to be on the same page with your developers. Deeply understanding your business goals and your target audience is the only way to tailor the app to your future customers’ needs. If a software development company doesn’t understand it, it won’t create a successful mobile app that speaks to your audience.
5. What technologies are you specialized in and how skilled are your developers?
Ask your potential software outsourcing provider what technologies they use most often. Check if they can adapt to new technologies quickly. Above all, find out how experienced are the company’s developers. They should be able to tell you how they would implement any feature or functionality, present a list of skills, show portfolios of work history and past projects with details.
If you don’t know yet what technology to choose — ask your developers. After that, a software house should propose a solution for you and argument it. You also need to decide if you want to develop two native apps (certainly, that process will be longer and slower) or do you choose cross-platform mobile app development. If you want to expand your reach quickly, the second option will be better. Therefore, you need to seek for developers that can develop an excellent cross-platform app for you.
What is more, you may also want to know if your future IT outsourcing partner works with frameworks (like Apache Cordova, Angular, Ionic Framework, React Native). Frameworks are organized coding systems. With them developers can use reusable libraries, components, and tools, keeping the code easily maintainable. If the software house uses these standardized systems, the code will be clean. As a consequence, if you ever decide to change a mobile app development company, it will be easier for the new developers to jump in.
6. How do you organize projects and what will be my level of involvement?
You need to know how the company works and what is their approach. It will be best if the software house works with Agile principles and uses Scrum framework. Agile software development is more efficient, organized and provides a better approach to MVP (Minimum Viable Product) development. Most commonly, the Agile app development process is divided into sprints (one or two-week intervals). After each sprint, the team presents you the results, you give them your feedback, and together you set targets for the next one.
In that kind of project your role will be crucial, so ask about your level of involvement in advance. For the record, participating actively in the development process is a good thing. If you won’t do it the project may not go well.
7. How will we communicate during the project?
The communication is crucial for your project to be successful. It has to be honest and open. Above all, your app development company should keep you up-to-date with each stage of the development process. As a consequence, you can be sure that the progress in meeting your expectations and everything goes well. What is more, you should be able to communicate any change needed. It’s also good to have direct contact with development team in order to avoid any disruptions and confusion.
It’s also important what tools will the software development company use to keep you updated. For example, at Appstronauts we use Jira for project management and Slack as an instant messenger tool.
8. What files will I have access to?
Besides communicating with a team and listening to information about updates, you also should have access to project files. Things like source code, project management dashboard or time reports should be available to you.
9. How fast can you scale up the team?
It’s important to know how many projects the software house is currently working on and how many potential free developers they have. The mobile app development process is vivid, your requirements might be changing, and that’s normal. Although that is why your potential IT outsourcing provider should be able to scale up the team for you. Establish in advance, how much time would they need to increase the team assigned to your project. If you decide to, for example, speed up the development, it’s good not to have to wait a few weeks for a supplementary developer.
10. What about submitting my app to app stores, future updates, support and maintenance services?
You should look for an outsourcing partner that provides comprehensive services. Releasing the app to app stores is not the final step. After that, you need maintenance and support services from the software house. An app development company should also monitor your app’s performance, deal with any bugs and provide updates. Establish that in advance, it should appear in the agreement.
Lastly, you need to determine how long will the mobile app development process last and what are the costs of the whole project, including future maintenance and updates. Above all, remember, that the cheapest option may not be the best one. Look for a software development company that understands your requirements. What is more, you want a company that is not ashamed of their past projects, offers open communication, flexibility, excellent project management. You need an outsourcing provider that eagerly shares the experience with you and has skilled developers. Therefore, you will receive a product that will meet your needs and have the potential to win the market.
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