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Practical elements you need in outsourced software developers


It’s all about skills, right?

When you are looking to outsource some of your software development, you want to make sure the outsourced partner is skilled in various programming languages and can adjust with your business model. Maybe you will need to do more with Internet of Things for the next six months, but then after that, you might have road map needs about augmented reality. So you want to make sure that any partner has the right skills. They need to have the competence.

This is the most important thing to look for, yes?

Well, not really.

Think about another type of skills

In this case, we mean social skills, which are sometimes called “soft skills.” What if you find a partner for outsourced software development, but the members of the team have no social skills? They are hard to communicate with. Projects are falling behind. They have technical skills. They know the programming languages. They can do the work. But the work isn’t going well because there is not any strong communication. The culture side is not aligned. The company and the partner are talking past each other, instead of to each other.

Do you think a relationship like this would work well for long? It will not.

It starts by thinking about what outsourcing of software development really is

Some people still think this is primarily a cost decision. Cost is important, but not the No. 1 most important thing to look at. But, when you think it’s a cost decision, you are looking for the most programming skills at the least cost. You are not considering anything else, usually.

This is a mistake. First, you need to view software development outsourcing as a long-term, strategic decision. You, as the company, will bring on a partner to help you develop software and applications. You should think of that partnership as lasting years and benefiting both sides. Cost is a part of that equation, but it’s not the biggest part.

You want the best, right?

Of course. This is your business.

Well, to get the best, you need to have the “best” in two areas:

  1. Actual programming skills
  2. Social skills and similar cultures between the partner and the company

We call the second part the “Team Extension Model.” (If you prefer to watch videos, you can learn more about it here.) The Team Extension Model is our primary differentiator over other software development outsourcing options. We will take our team and mold it into your team, using a three-step process:

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The Team Extension model is based on the idea that technical skills of individual team members are not enough to deliver high team performance. Great software engineering has as much to do with things like leadership, management, and chemistry as it has to do with measurable skills. Sometimes it is even more important. Our first priority, then, is to build fully functional core team -- then we supplement the core team with missing skills or additional capacity as and when needed. Through this approach, our clients benefit not only from instant capacity but also from flexibility to expand or shrink the team size as business needs change over time.

Often, though, companies need to understand if they are ready to use this type of model because it’s a bit different than the way other outsourced software options work. As a result, we offer a Distributed Development Readiness Assessment or DDRA. This will show you both the potential risks and the tremendous benefits of using a Team Extension type model.

You should also look for references

You want to make sure that any potential partner has case studies and client testimonials explaining what they do and how they work. If possible, talk to previous clients directly and see how they felt about the service delivery. You are looking for expertise, yes, but you also want to understand cultural factors, like:

  • How easy are they to work with?
  • How easy are they to communicate with?
  • Do they seem like a part of the team or distant developers?
  • How quickly can they turn around new projects?
  • Are they helping your team with transferring knowledge, or continually trying to add new developers and bill you?
  • How similar is the culture of the partner to your culture at your HQ?

You need to think about all these things. This is a long-term, strategic decision to get the best possible technology emerging from your business. It is not just a decision based on cost or perception of expertise. 

To find out more about how to select the best software development partner for your business, download our checklist here:

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