App development outsourcing

With the economy driving toward globalization, many software companies realized that running a software company becomes more competitive and complex. According to the Standish Group report it was found that only 34% of IT projects succeeded, which was a huge 100% improvement from their previous study in 1994 but still it represents a failure rate of 66%.

Software development is not an easy task, not every project, API, or idea can be built in-house. It’s no secret that companies are refocusing their efforts on what they do best and outsource the rest. Outsourcing software development has proven a great success for many companies worldwide. A report by the Gartner Group indicated that worldwide spending on IT outsourcing would rise rapidly from $268 billion in 2009 to $325 billion in 2013.

Today in fast moving technological world outsourcing has helped many software companies to fill in the gaps, building what you need it when you need it. By outsourcing, software companies can avoid the hassle and challenges that come with full-time employees, including fixed cost, more office space, and insurance.

While there are many advantages the company can enjoy by outsourcing the work but the question is no longer what the advantages of outsourcing, but when a company should consider using an outsourced company for their software development.

Define your project scope upfront.

In general, the first thing the software company needs to consider is the type of the project. All in all the type of the project which will determine to what extent you are in a position to define the scope up front. In short, we can say that a different project type requires a different way of approaching them.

The scope of the project clearly tells us whether you need to consider an outsource company or you can built in house because not every idea is worth of pursuing and not every project can be outsourced. The clearly defined scope of the project not only tells us the cost of the whole product development cycle but also the cost of support and maintenance.

What happens when the Scope is not clearly defined?

When the scope of the project is not clearly defined, it can lead us to develop a product with a poor market fit. You may even lose time and money on loading the product with a useless feature.

So, it is important to scope the project before you start the development work. After identifying the scope of the project, if you think that particular feature and function need to be outsourced then outsource it to a particular company this way you can focus core part of the product, you can easily develop new technologies, and offer diverse products and services to your end users.

Team Size and Structure

If you have a small team which doesn’t have relevant expertise on staff then it would be difficult for you to develop successful software. Not only the small team face the difficulties, companies with big teams also face difficulties in managing the project, they also need additional resources or expert guidance for developing the software. This is the biggest reason that makes the software company to outsource their project.

When you consider to outsource the work you need to specify the role and document them well and ensure that they are well understood by the people in the process. There are two key roles on your side when you are outsourcing the software development.

Product manager

Product Manager who is responsible for day to day interaction with the development team and make sure that the outsource team stays on track till the final delivery of the product. The product manager takes care of the user contribution as needed during the development process and he is the one who believes in your product and makes it their goal to get in the market.

Technical Leader

There should be a technical leader, whether in-house or from an outsourced team who is responsible for technical advice and the programming because you may find it impossible to manage the technical product development resources. You need a technical leader who is responsible for running smoothly at the back end of the process.

If the person is from vendor side then he should be responsible for the delivery of the product on their side. So if you are outsourcing the work then make sure that your team structure is properly balanced fro the good delivery of the product.

Tools

To execute effectively, you need a set of tools which will make the process simple for you. Without a set of tools, it is difficult to manage the software development. A set of tools can manage the software you are developing control your project scope, schedule and cost as well as ensure effective communication with and among the people involved.

In case if you are planning to develop software then you need to keep in mind what new tools you will need, this sometimes become difficult due to less time? This is the reason for the company to outsource the work. By outsourcing, the company doesn’t need to worry about tools because the outsourced company will take care of it and will follow the regulations to build them in the progress, such as when creating medical applications and adhering to HIPAA.

Tools are generally divided into three types:

1. Software development Tool

Software development tools include those tools which manage the requirement, control the source code and track bugs and improvement.

2. Project Management Tool

Project management tools are used for defining and controlling the task necessary to complete a project. These tools are used for projecting the cost in time and money of changes.

3. Collaboration Tool

The collaboration includes things such as teleconferencing application, secure network, remote access and enabling software. It also allows the member of a team to communicate and work together. Having these tools on your side will help you to achieve your milestone quickly which you have set.

Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance is the process for making 100% bug-free software which includes a systematic set of activities that ensures that software processes and products conform to requirements, standards, and procedures.

Quality Assurance has become a joke which everybody knows but no one follows it.

Why is Often Quality Assurance neglected?

There are mainly two reasons for neglecting the quality assurance:

1. There is no full time dedicated testing staff.

2. It is impossible for internal software to constantly modify their schedule as it is impossible for a programmer to tell ahead of time with precision exactly when he’ll be done developing a particular feature of an interactive product. By outsourcing the quality Assurance of the software, you don’t need to worry about the problems and it will also save your time and money which you will need to hire an internal software tester.

But before that you should know what task the quality Assurance covered?

  1. Bug tracking, prioritization and triage.
  2. Release plans for users to validate market fit.
  3. Release criteria regarding bug severity and quantity.
  4. The types of testing to be performed, i.e., usability, regression, etc

Remember without well executed quality assurance plan you are mostly likely making your project to fall in the burden of technical debt which may cause significant delay of project or cost overrun.

Expectation

Expectation is one reason for the company to outsource the work because they believe outsourcing can provide economic benefits mainly it saves on wages and real estate cost which is somehow true.

But remember, it cannot significantly change the amount of time needed to do a particular task. Great things cannot be done overnight, it requires hard work and devotion because there are companies which had experience the bitter taste of outsourcing.

Most importantly if you want to enjoy the taste of the success then you need to first define the project scope as realistic as possible which will ultimately drive the budget. Knowing more about the scope of the project can help you to ensure the right skill for the project which indirectly saves your time and money.

Your Customer

Last but not the least your customer is one of the reasons for you to consider outsource because many product owner and technical team get lost in the development process that they did not get time to interact with their consumer. In doing so, they often fail to recognize that their target customer which made them deliver a product which is wrong fit in the market.

To avoid such risk you need to clearly specify the role of the customer in your software development project. Make specify plan for the involvement of your customer in the development process.

By outsourcing the core activities, you will get the time for the intense collaboration with your customer throughout the process which will help you to test your assumption about the functionalities you think your customer are seeking.

You will be thinking if we outsource the work, how we can manage the project? The simple answer to your question is that the product is yours and you are responsible for your product development. So, it’s up to you to manage your project.

Here is an example of the company that outsource its work and get the most out of it.

Riverdeep

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About Riverdeep:

Riverdeep is a premier provider of comprehensive e-Learning solutions and offers courseware and supplemental curricula, assessment and management tools, and professional development to schools around the globe.

Challenges of Riverdeep:

  1. Cross-platform development of ATS on Windows and Mac platforms.
  2. Integration of 25 applications into ATS to provide additional functionality.
  3. Creation of a Windows Installer for ATS.

Who they outsource the work:

Riverdeep secured orbital technological inc. to develop the key component of an educational software product referred to as Assignment and Tracking System (ATS).

Orbital also participated in the development of four versions of ATS (Version 3.0 (Windows®), 3.1 (Macintosh®), 3.2 (Windows/ Macintosh) and 3.3 (Windows/Macintosh)).

For each subsequent version, Orbital increased the functionality of ATS to provide increased sound capabilities, an upgraded user interface, and value-added utilities.

How orbital complete the project:

Orbital employed the standardized project management framework to complete a project.

This framework included the following action items:

  1. Needs Assessment: An Execution Plan was developed to reflect Riverdeep needs.
  2. Design: A detailed specification and time and resource estimate was developed.
  3. Development: Orbital conducted project management, coding and testing.
  4. Progress Reports: Orbital provided regular progress reports to Riverdeep.
  5. Product Delivery: Orbital delivered the finished product to Riverdeep.
  6. Support: Orbital supported the finished product for a specified period of time.

Results:

All project milestones were met.
Orbital was instrumental in providing ATS on both Windows and Mac platforms.
Orbital provided four versions of ATS to Riverdeep.

Value:

Riverdeep was able to go to market with ATS shortly after receiving the key components of ATS completed by Orbital.





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