These days, more and more companies rely on software solutions to manage a wide range of important tasks. Because each enterprise may have different technology needs, however, they often require custom development to ensure that a software solution helps them accomplish goals and streamline work.
Of course, most businesses aren't going to have a top-tier software developer on hand as part of their current staff, and so need to outsourcing that work to a third party. This can certainly offer benefits, such as reduced costs and increased efficiency, but if you aren't careful, these relationships can fail and leave you starting again from scratch, or worse. By following some key guidelines, however, you can avoid getting burned.
1. Know Your Goals
As with any other outsourcing relationship, you must have clearly defined goals for what you want to accomplish before entering a partnership. What problems do you want your software to solve? What do you want it to do?
Your ability to answer these questions is crucial, because it will guide everything the developers will do. Without a clear vision for a project, they will lack the guidance needed to deliver a satisfactory solution.
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2. Thoroughly Vet a Contractor's Background
You want to work with the best, and part of assuring that is doing thorough research to ensure potential partners are up to the task. Naturally, this should begin by researching how a company hires its developer staff and what their qualifications are. This may also entail researching what type of software they work with, and/or asking for referrals from past clients, but one particularly critical deciding factor is prior experience with projects along the same lines as your own.
As a blog post from Tech9 explains, "One of the quickest ways to see if you should work with a potential partner is knowing if they've worked on similar projects before. Experience within your industry is also something you should consider. If the developer already has [such] experience, or if they've done similar projects before, there will be less downtime learning the ins and outs of your business and more time getting good work done."
3. Be Thorough in Communication
Even after selecting a quality software development partner, your work isn't done — this task needs to be a collaborative process. You as the client will need to offer feedback and guidance to ensure that the final outcome meets expectations, and establishing clear communication guidelines is essential to ensuring that questions and other feedback don't slip through the cracks. As part of an article for Better Programming, Lee Ling Yang offers the following real-life situation that illustrates the importance of being thorough in this way:
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4. Ensure That Data Security is a Top Priority
In 2021 alone, more than 22 billion records worldwide were exposed in data breaches, according to Risk-Based Security's 2021 Year-End Report. The same report detailed that the U.S. experienced a 10% year-over-year increase in reported data breaches during the year. What's important to keep in mind, however, is that many companies do not report when they experience a ransomware attack or other cyber threat, so the actual numbers are likely much higher.
The Right Partnerships Matter
Just as with any other business relationship, successfully outsourcing software development depends on finding the right partner, then effectively communicating so that you can collaborate. When you know what you want and can clearly convey it, your partner will be better equipped to deliver needed results.
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