Working with a software development company is an important partnership. Both parties need to work at it developing the relationship and invest for the long haul.
In some cases, the business may not be in the same city, state or country. This distance apart will surely add complexity to the partnership. Acknowledge the likely issues that may come up and set up processes that ensure both entities are there to benefit from each other.
1. Understand Your Needs
You are the one setting the agenda, so you need to be clear on what you are expecting from the software you are paying for.
Looking at the e-book, Your Essential Guide to Working With IT Companies, published by Euro IT powerhouse SoftwareHut you will need to be specific about out how you will judge the success of the collaboration. This will require clear indicators of where it fits into your business development plans and the scale of the project.
2. Finding Your Ideal Partner
Decide on your search criteria before you log on. Forget cheap because that is equivalent to low quality work. Forget any company with less than excellent reviews. Forget any business that does not respond quickly to your contact request.
3. Understand Your Partner’s Needs
Your partner’s business needs to match up with what you are looking for. Your business also needs to match up with your prospective partner’s specialty.
Your new partner may be apprehensive at first, so think of your initial contact as and get to know one another.
4. Communication Channels
Email and messaging via web apps are great for initial contact, but misunderstandings are too common. Video chat using Skype or similar apps is the next best thing to talking to someone across a table. Video lets you see facial expressions and body language that will help you know and understand what the other person is really saying.
Phone conversations are better than email, but video can be even better. So, insist on a video chat. Hardware and software are affordable if you are looking to have one-to-one conversations.
Insist on all contacts going through one person in each business. You both need to know that one individual has overall responsibility for the project.
If you are indifferent time-zones then both parties will need to be flexible in agreeing when to schedule calls, and with what frequency.
5. Know What You Are Getting Into
Communication is important to a successful business relationship. Without transparency, contractual agreements, formal documents that bind what each organization will do can result in your business tanking and busting.
Make sure that the person you are dealing with understands your language, your company culture, and your business objectives.
Language is particularly tricky if you are working with an offshore software developer. Code may be an international language, but you need to make sure you take into account the culture and work philosophy. A lot of different countries have different regulations, expectations, and goals depending on the urgency of a project. It is important to set strict guidelines and be constantly in contact to know the progress of the project.
6. Understand Your Partner
Ask questions about your prospective partner’s business. Ask about its structure and organization. In addition, where your contact sits on the organization chart and about the team that will be working on your project.
7. Help Your Partner Understand You
Expect your new partner to ask you similar questions about your business structure, history, and future expansion plans.
8. Have Reasonable Expectations
No partner is going to be a perfect match. However, when you know what to expect you can work around obstacles and hurdles.
Keep your expectations reasonable. Your business relationship is not exclusive and your software partner will be working on many projects with many different partners. Sometimes there will be pressures, which lead to your project making slower progress than you were expecting. Talk about any issues with your go-to person and work through any problems as they arise because you have to make this work.
9. Have a Fair Contract
Agree on a time scale for your project with staged payments to correspond with milestones reached. Allow a reasonable timescale for full completion including testing and debugging.
Your contract will spell out the scale of the project and you will not be able to add new components to it. Do consult with all parties in your own organization before any contracts are signed. Make it very clear what the deadlines are, expenditure limits, bonuses, and penalties for early or late completion.
10. Be Flexible
Contracts aside, you will need some element of flexibility in your dealings with any offshore contractor. National holidays and working practices will be different. Cultural differences may cause problems, but flexibility can help resolve any issues do arise at a given point during a project.
Long Story Short
Working with a software developer is complex. Finally, outsourcing software development gives you access to top-quality programmers and to really bank on your return on investment (ROI).