The Ultimate Checklist for Onboarding an Outsourced Software Developer
One of the biggest selling points of outsourcing is that you skip a lot of the traditional hiring process and go straight to the project execution. Choosing to outsource a software developer is much of the same; you look at your options, select the outsourcing company you believe you can benefit from the most, and then they send over one or two of their best people. There’s no need to post a job listing, hold an interview, or comb through CVs and resumes.
However, there is still a need to run the software developer through an onboarding process. Make no mistake — it won’t be as lengthy and/or as time-consuming as a traditional onboarding process. But it is just as extensive and necessary.
Despite being a temporary addition to your team, an outsourced software developer still needs to understand how he fits into your organizational structure in order to optimize his skills to best fit what is expected of him. For that, he needs to at least be familiar with your company’s intricacies, hierarches, and standard operating procedures.
Here’s a list of things you can do in order to assure the aforementioned objectives are achieved.
1. LAY OUT EXPECTATIONS
This is a big one. Before the software developer even begins his or her first day at your firm, make sure to lay down clear expectations of the role they’re to fulfill. This includes detailing:
- The work hours
- The flow/schedule of a typical workday
- Milestones and parameters of the project
- Goals — both their personal goal and the overall project goal
- If/how they’re going to be monitored (i.e. through the project manager, floor supervisor, etc.)
Expectations are important to have because they can help clear up any potential misunderstanding or confusion regarding the project. Knowing what is expected of them will also ease any anxiety or uncertainty the outsourced software developer may have, and will also serve to guide their actions accordingly.
If you can, send them a schedule of the first few days or weeks detailing what they’re expected to do at what time. For the most part, you probably will leave them alone for a good chunk of their time working for you, if only to let them do their job in peace. However, it would be good for them to know if there are any daily check-ins or weekly meetings they need to attend.
2. PREPARE THEIR TOOLS
Before throwing your software developer into the deep end, make sure you give them the gear they’ll need to survive. Before they start their first day, send them a list of tools — applications, programs, etc. — that they’ll need for the project so that they have time to download and install them. If it’s a paid software, make sure to send them your company logins or existing license so that they’re not hit with charges.
You should also include general programs used by your company for scheduling, communication, project organization, and the like. If they’ll be using your company’s equipment, prepare an account for them with matching credentials and keep it all on one handy document.
To make their integration seamless, prepare detailed instructions on how to navigate the different applications. Given their background, training, and expertise, they can probably figure their way around it easily, but giving them instructions specifically tailored for your company’s SOP will speed up the process.
On their start date, introduce your software developer to your company — and vice versa. Gather your team and let them know that there’s a new team member. Give your existing team a watered-down, really short recap of the expectations you sent the developer so that they understand the work and limitations expected of the new hire. Once that’s done, introduce your company. Give a quick and brief overview of your mission, values, and overall goals. Also mention company culture and some company policies that you feel they should know and your existing team should be reminded of.
4. PAVE THE WAY FOR A WORKING RELATIONSHIP
You don’t need to jump in overenthusiastically and push for an immediate boss-employee relationship built on trust and mutual like. These things obviously take time, no matter how much you tell them, I’m not like a regular mom. I’m a cool mom. Therefore, it’s enough to let the software developer know that you are approachable and that you care about their experience working in your company, regardless of how temporary their stay is.
Ask them if they have any questions before they officially begin. If they do, answer all of them as thoroughly as you can. Also let them know that you would still like to get to know them even if they aren’t a permanent fixture in your organization. That means that they are invited to company outings, team events, or even unofficial get-togethers that may happen during their stay.
This openness and genuine desire for a connection will pave the way towards solid communication — something that every team needs to function efficiently.
5. GO OVER THE PROJECT WITH THE TEAM
Before they officially began working for your company, you should have already sent the software developer an overview of the overall project. If you only focused primarily on his or her part of the project, then the first day is as good a day as any to go over the entire project as a team.
Understanding how they fit in the overall scheme of things provides context — context which can further guide them on what they’re working on and how to develop, code, or execute it to make it better fit with the project’s parameters. Understanding the overall end goal will also serve to guide them when it comes to make minor and major decisions about the piece that they’re working on.
Also make sure to walk them through the how and why of certain decisions, such as the technology you’re using, the developing language, and the framework of the project.
At the end of the day, an outsourced software developer is still a member of your team. Just because they won’t be staying long, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your best to make them feel welcome. Leaving them to fend for themselves will ultimately reflect negatively in the resulting software, as someone who is displeased or dissatisfied with their working conditions will only do the bare minimum required of them. Hence, put forth a little effort in making their onboarding process as smooth as possible, and they will return that effort in kind.
Originally published at blog.bydrec.com.