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8 Factors to Consider when Outsourcing Software Development


In a previous post, we discussed why you should consider outsourcing software development instead of hiring a full-time employee or contractor. Software developers are in demand, making them hard to find, expensive and difficult to retain. When you outsource software development, you gain access to an entire team of developers and greater accountability. Costs are also reduced because you only pay for the services you need, and the software development firm is responsible for purchasing and maintaining the technology resources that developers need to do their jobs.


The decision to outsource can be a relatively easy one. Choosing the right software development firm is a different story. Here are eight factors to consider during the evaluation process.


1) Look for a firm with diverse experience. A firm that has worked with a variety of customers and technologies will likely bring more to the table in terms of flexibility, adaptability and innovation than a firm that specializes in very specific technologies and industries. Of course, the firm should have plenty of experience in your industry and understand how your business works.


2) Don’t choose based upon name recognition. Big name software companies are often more expensive because you pay for their reputation. They may have a great team of software developers on staff, but you won’t be guaranteed to get the cream of the crop for your particular project.


3) Understand their development methodology. A reputable, experienced firm should have a well-defined process for software development that minimizes risk and includes regular communication. Avoid firms that are unable to clearly explain their methodology in detail.


4) Make sure they have enough developers. You software development needs will increase and decrease according to your business needs. The firm you hire should have enough developers to handle increased workloads.


5) Get and contact references. A reputable software development firm should be willing and able to provide references. Call them to find out what went well and what went wrong so you can learn from their experiences. If the software development firm doesn’t have a portfolio on their website, ask to see samples of their work.


6) Look for frequent deployments of application updates. Applications always need to be fine-tuned. Frequent releases – every one or two days – allow you to test and report bugs and benefit sooner from updates and improvements.


7) Find out what kind of support is offered. In most cases, you’ll need help configuring new applications, understanding various functionality, and learning how to use the software. The support you receive after the application is installed is just as important as the development process.


8) Test their responsiveness. Contact them by phone and email and see how long it takes to get a response. Ask a lot of questions and make sure the answers are sufficient. Poor communication and a lack of transparency should be deal breakers.


ICG has been designing, developing and deploying custom applications for more than 35 years. Let us use our experience and proven development processes to provide your organization with the software tools it needs to succeed.