10 Tips on How to Set Expectations for an Outsourced Software Developer

Bydrec, Inc.
5 min readJan 11, 2019

In recent years, more companies are choosing to fulfill their software development needs through outsourcing. Of course, to ensure that the quality of the output meets their standards, it’s important that such organizations clearly understand the factors to consider when selecting a software developer to work with.

The outsourcing industry has undoubtedly become a lucrative avenue for many people to find work. This has led to a significant increase in software development service providers around the world. As a result, companies now face market realities that must be checked at the beginning of the selection process.

When it comes to project management, a lot of software developers and similar service providers have their own unique perspectives. Companies have endless options which, although beneficial, can make it quite difficult to filter out and select an outsourced software developer — especially if you don’t have an idea of what to expect from them.

Having the right software development partner is a key factor in the success of your IT project. To help you find the best one for you, check out these tips on how to properly set expectations for your software developer.

1. Make sure you have continuous communication.

One of the most critical factors when outsourcing software developers is communication. They have to be available to talk to you every day, ideally at the same time daily, to update you on their work progress. This means there should be appropriate communication channels between you and the developer.

The beauty of continuous communication is that it is both an art and a science. Holding effective and productive conversation is an art for all parties involved, and it is improved through the use of technology, rendering it a science as well. By ensuring there is continuous communication between you and your outsourced software developer, you eliminate the risk of misunderstandings that could otherwise compromise your project.

2. Set clear parameters & clarify project objectives.

The more your outsourced software developer understands about the project, the better equipped they will be to design and develop the necessary software. This is why clarity is crucial throughout the whole project, from beginning to end.

To make it easier to measure progress and make schedule adjustments, define clear parameters throughout the entire procedure. For instance, your first parameter could be to create a draft of their proposed software design. The second parameter could be to define and refine the framework. The third could be to submit a working prototype or code sample to the team manager.

It’s easier and more time-efficient to aim for closer, more achievable goals than it is to just have one general, overarching goal (which is, essentially, “develop software x”).

3. Check their certifications and accreditations.

Reliable software development service providers are usually certified by global institutions. A simple way to determine the legitimacy and expertise of companies, experts, or teams in any field is to ask for certifications.

Well-known tech giants such as Oracle, Adobe, and Microsoft are all too happy to provide certifications for businesses and individuals who use their products for projects.

4. Ask if they can offer custom software development.

When a company develops a program, it’s usually meant to address a specific set of problems or concerns. This is why professional software developers must know how to edit their approaches in order to create a tailored solution. Therefore, it just follows that all software is inherently unique.

This customized development means looking at the small details of the product requirements, where the final output fulfills the specific objectives requested by the clients. Your software developer should be able to do this for your project with ease. And since your software requirements are unique, we highly suggest avoiding firms that only provide pre-developed or template themes.

5. UI and UX should be a priority.

When it comes to software development projects, end-user feedback is very important. Business owners/managers need to know whether or not the software company can do justice to their promise and meet consumer demands. Of course, they also need to improve the overall end users’ experience at every touch point. User Interface and User Experience should be taken seriously if you want to build up your brand image and loyalty.

6. Find out their ability to join formal meetings.

Retrospective meetings are crucial if you want to improve your team’s overall performance and development process. This serves as the foundation for your project because, without proper coordination among all the people involved, the project is bound to fail. Meetings must present a means to touch base, define the problems that need to be solved, and determine what should be done to avoid similar issues down the road.

If you choose to work with onshore or nearshore outsourcing companies, then you shouldn’t have any problems regarding meetings. However, if you’re working with offshore software developers, the time difference may pose problems.

7. Ensure the capacity of delivery teams.

Before starting the software development project, you need to carry out a series of pre-development discussions with your software developer and your tech team. This allows you to check if all parties involved are capable of understanding your point of view clearly. It also lets you know if the team can develop the software in accordance to your specific requirements.

8. Information security teams should always be attentive.

Be sure to discuss the security clauses with your entire team — and especially with the outsourcing firm. Failure to do so could result in one or both sides of the partnership landing in legal disputes.

The software development service provider needs to understand — and fully agree — to hand over the product’s source code. They should also be aware that any sensitive information regarding the product (and, by extension, your company) should not be shared with another firm that does not guarantee the safety of your intellectual property.

9. Check their track record.

Always do your research before you commit to anything. Find out if they have developed any similar software for other companies, or delivered to clients that belong to the same industry as yours. How was their performance? Did the previous client have positive feedback? You can reach out to their past clients and ask for comments or references concerning your software developer.

10. Negotiate the scope.

You need to make sure that you have a mechanism to negotiate the scope of work required. As mentioned earlier, communication should not be a one-way street, but rather a negotiation between the customer and provider to come up with a definite scope.

There has to be a detailed description of the final product or solution before you, your team, and your chosen software developer can even begin the development process. This output should also incorporate the functions of the product or solution. Additionally, it needs to mention the required technical expertise to avoid discrepancies.

Originally published at blog.bydrec.com.