5 software development outsourcing lies… revealed

date: 8 December 2014
reading time: 4 min

There’s no denying that software development outsourcing is on the raise. Hence, more suppliers equals more competitors, who try to attract the customer by promising shorter contract terms, discounts and a myriad of other benefits. Though you probably know this same old tactic, you still fall back on it.

In a perfect world your outsourcer would be perfectly honest, willing to tell you all about risks or shortcomings that you may encounter on the way. But since this world is far from perfect, we decided to shine a light on 5 things your software development outsourcer is not telling you.

1. ‘Of course we know what you want’

The truth of the matter is that clients often don’t really know what they want to achieve with outsourcing. Undefined expectations, uncertainty, imprecise requirements… these are their biggest challenges. That’s why they look for an outsourcing supplier, who is now faced with turning this blurred vision into a united plan. However, and it is often the case, the supplier also doesn’t have a clue what to do after the contract is signed.

  • The secret lies in admitting that. Outsourcing relationship build on openness and honesty goes a long way. Of course it takes a lot of courage, but specifying the expectations at the beginning is better than making changes after the deal’s done.

2. ‘We know the exact cost’

Of course they don’t.  You can be given an initial cost, assuming that everything goes according to the plan, which almost never happens. As your business evolves, your requirements change, you may want to add new features, there may be delays and so on and so forth.

  • Be prepared that the initial amount will be higher in the end, since even the best contracts are susceptible to external conditions you didn’t predict beforehand.

3. ‘Sure, we can do this too’

Pretty much anything can be outsourced nowadays. You are likely to find lots of experienced outsourcing companies that will promise to provide you with everything you need. But the fact that they can, doesn’t mean they should.

  • It comes as no surprise that each offshore developer has areas of expertise, so don’t believe if you’re told otherwise and always ask for references.

4. ‘Our best engineers are working on it’

Are they, really? Obviously, they will not put the worst people to work on your project either. However, what they’ll do is a little bit of this and a little bit of that. However, promising the A team may be getting the deal and after the pitching process you might end up with engineers learning on the job.

  • Look for the outsourcer who’ll provide you with cross-functional team, with all of the skills necessary to create your product. You don’t need the best team to do the job; you need the team that will deliver the business value.

5. ‘We have done it a dozen times before’

You are likely to encounter outsourcing companies claiming they’re experienced in everything, which sadly, is not the whole truth. They may tell you they have done dozens of exactly the same projects and that it’s as easy as falling of the log.

  • One thing you should bear in mind is that no two projects are the same. Therefore, the best outsourcing deals are done with companies that offer individual approach to each and every project.

So, there you have it, 5 software development outsourcing lies… revealed.

As you can see, maintaining and evolving outsourcing relationship can be challenging, since the success of your outsourced software development project depends on how well the supplier understands your business requirements. It is also in your best interest to present the requirements up-front, so that the developers know exactly what to do.

The good news is, nowadays most software outsourcing companies will invest time and effort to do this up front.

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