The Ultimate Guide to Software Development Outsourcing in 2020

software development

The technology industry has witnessed a revolutionary change with the advent of disruptive outsourcing. This kind of outsourcing involves technological advancements like automation, cloud computing etc.

According to the 2018 Deloitte survey, 500 executives from leading organizations have stated that disruptive outsourcing has helped them increase their productivity and competitiveness in the market. 

Emerging trends and solutions in cloud and automation have enabled various tech industries to scale faster and reach the global market. Outsourcing is a valuable strategic tool, especially for the tech industry. 

For example, outsourcing an activity like software development, Software maintenance to a vendor helps to cut down operation cost and also helps to focus the resources on the business logic. Moreover, technology is rapidly changing and it is difficult for your in-house team of developers to be good at everything. 

Outsourcing of services opens up the immense possibility of working with expertise that is not available to individual companies. Your workforce instead can focus on the core competencies of the company while IT services are handled offshore. 

According to the surveys of Deloitte, 31% of all IT-related services were outsourced and the global outsourcing industry produced a whopping 88.9 billion U.S dollars in revenue, last year alone. 

Software Development Outsourcing

Outsourcing software development helps companies to reduce the costs that they incur and also helps them focus solely on business goals. It is not just beneficial for saving money but it is a great means of innovation. 

Why Do Companies Outsource?

“As with many initiatives, organizations are finding that delivering competitive advantage through disruptive outsourcing solutions is anything but simple; effort and expertise are needed to address potential data security and cyber risks, changing regulations, organizational resistance, skill gaps, and to help flatten fragmented processes. In this new world, place your bets on the brave and the good, and against the fearful and complacent.”

Doug Plotkin, managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP

1. Time to Market 

Time to market is basically the duration between the creation of a product idea to launching it in the market. If you have the development process streamlined and effectively planned out then it becomes easier to predict the time you will take for your launch. It is also extremely important to decrease this time gap. 

Delaying your launch will allow your competitors to get ahead of you. The ephemeral nature of technology can also you’re your product idea redundant and useless. 

Why Do Companies Outsource?

Hiring an outsourcing company helps you to make your delivery to the market much quicker, thereby reducing a considerable amount of time. This improves your competitiveness in the market and also gives you a head start among your contemporaries. 

2. Access to Expertise 

There might arise a situation where your company might lack people who are qualified enough for a big project. However, with hiring a dedicated team, you have access to the most qualified and experienced professionals. The hired outsourcing company will be the expert in the field and hence can make your projects professional. 

Outsourcing of services can enable somebody who specializes in the field to apply their specific technical expertise to make your product better. 

You get access to expert specialists like business analysts, project managers, fullstack software developers etc who can guarantee you a high-end product .

3. Domain Awareness 

You might have a project that involves a complex technology. For this, you might require a team that has specific and deep domain expertise for that particular activity. It is not financially practical to recruit an in-house team merely for such a skill-specific project. 

This is where outsourcing helps you. For example, if you want a team of developers for custom software development you can look for vendors that are proficient in custom software development. 

4. Cost-Effectiveness 

Offshore outsourcing reduces the overall business operating cost. It eliminates the need to hire permanent employees who have to be paid even after the completion of a project. This, in turn, reduces the cost of training and recruiting. 

In most developed countries, companies have the added burden of paying the employees insurance, tax, security benefits and other collateral dues.

Outsourcing benefits in flexibility when it comes to termination of services. It eliminates the need to pay government-mandated compensation while terminating an employee. 

With an independent outsourcing contract, they can simply change the service provider if not satisfied with the service. 

Outsourcing software development are on a steady rise. More companies are now outsourcing both their major as well as minor projects. 

Why do software outsourcings fail?

Even though the trend of outsourcing has grown, it also had high failure rates.

According to the data collected by Dun & Bradstreet’s Barometer of Global, 25% of outsourcing project fails within two years and 50 % of them fail within the first five years.

Why do software outsourcings fail?

5 reasons why outsourcing relationships fail

1. Unclear Expectations and Objectives

Client companies often fail to communicate the goal they are trying to achieve and what they are expecting to get out of the outsourcing company. This will drastically affect the outsourcing company’s perspective of the work they have to do. 

Without a detailed understanding, orders might have to be changed. This can, in turn, lead to delays and cost overruns. There has to be a clear understanding of what the project entails and preferences. Clients have to be transparent about their goals and keep them realistic. Then you have to make sure that the outsourcing company is on the same page as you. 

2. Lack of Clarity

Lack of overall clarity of the business can lead to poor planning. It can lead to a waste of your budget. You must succinctly pinpoint all the essential details about the project. The implications of the project must be communicated properly to the outsourcing vendor and other important stakeholders. A detailed portfolio of your expectations and goals and the entire plan and methodology of the project will help. 

3. Insufficient Technical Experience 

Most often, companies outsource software development to keep the cost low and also to not hire employees permanently. 

The outsourcing company might not have the technical expertise or know-how, it can lead to severe problems, especially in project estimation.

The whole purpose of outsourcing services is to get the work done by somebody that is more equipped at it than your company. Therefore, if the company is not better than your own in-house team or lacks sufficient knowledge, the whole exercise becomes fruitless. You also outsource services expecting better quality than what you can achieve. 

Quality that does not meet your market standards also lead to failed projects. 

4. Communication Barriers 

Clients sometimes do not share information thinking it is apparent. 

However, if the outsourcing company is not aware of what they are expected to do, the project will not be finished as is expected. 

What might seem apparent might not be apparent to the outsourcing company. 

Therefore, all details have to be shared even if it might seem redundant. Ideally, there should not be a communication gap. 

It is imperative to hold regular meetings and video conferences as well as exchange feedback. 

28% of respondents indicated poor communication as the most important cause of outsourcing projects failure.

According to the white paper released by SourcingFocus.com

Sometimes the reluctance to share information might be due to confidential information which has the risk of being stolen. 

To solve this, a confidentiality agreement or a non-disclosure agreement can be signed. This will delineate the security responsibility each party holds. Once this agreement is signed the outsourcing company will be bound not to disclose any information covered in the ambit of the contract. 

5. Failure to Fine Tune Contract

Signing a contract with the outsourcing company does end the job of the clients. 

The project needs to be managed and under supervision throughout the process.

The main priorities that the clients have should be set out and the project must be planned to the very details before a release date is announced. These details must also be informed to the outsourcing company. 

Failure to have a consistent method and planning for the project can lead to a loss. Not every single thing can be planned but the tasks to the nearest milestone must be planned and specific. 

These are some of the most common reasons why outsourcing relations and projects fail at a high rate. This can easily be avoided if the clients do their due diligence during the pre-deployment phase of a project. 

Choosing the Right Development Partner

The planning that goes into the pre-deployment phase is what ensures a smooth launch post-deployment. 

Choosing the right development offshore partner and building a good team can prevent your outsourced projects from failing. 

Following are some of the guidelines while choosing your offshore team.

1. Team Skill Set and Expertise

Team Skill Set and Expertise

It is extremely important to study and know everything about the team you intend to work with.

You have to collect information about the company, what their skill set is, the expertise of their team, how adept they are with the latest technology, exposure to the latest technology, their portfolio, how effective are they with meeting deadlines, experience in handling different kinds of projects communication etc. 

You must look for an offshore outsourcing partner that can give you the appropriate person to handle your account. It is advisable to keep in touch with a developer who is working on your project. 

Going for a team that works with hybrid models or agile models will be beneficial for your project. It has to be made sure that they understand what exactly it is that you want and also that they are serious about achieving your project milestones. 

2. Market Reputation 

Working with the best company can yield you the best results. Therefore, it is important to check up on the market reputation of your prospective partner. 

This can be done by taking a look at their client base and completed project history. 

You can also look for reviews and feedback from their previous clients, from their website and other social media platforms.

You have to ensure that their services are customer-centric, that is services centered around the needs of the customers. All of these have to be considered before you decide to hire a particular vendor. 

3. The Trust and Security Factors

Trust is a very important factor for such a project to succeed.

During the course of the project, you might have to share a lot of information. Sensitive information stands at the risk of being misused. 

One of the major security concerns is the intellectual property of the client and the sensitive data. 

Before hiring an outsourcing company, you can make sure that they will respect your privacy. The vendor must be somebody who has regular security and network audits. 

You have to make sure that they have sufficient infrastructure to protect your data. 

4. Scalability and Flexibility 

Scalability and flexibility are important elements that you need to consider when you choose the company for your software outsourcing project. You have to check how much scalable their services are and how much customization they can provide. This is an important factor when your business is expanding. The software has to be scalable as per the growth of the business. Your offshore business partner must be able to handle your growing needs. 

5. Project Management 

There has to be a clear idea as to how the project will be managed. Signing the contract and handing over the project does not end your responsibility. 

There has to be constant management throughout the whole process. 

All the decision making and planning must go smoothly so that the project does not have any delay. The supervisory role of your client and the management of the project must be decided along with the key terms of the work contract. There must be several channels of communication between your in-house team and the offshore team so that your team can manage and supervise the project. 

6. Post Deployment Support 

Technical assistance is not only needed during the project put also post-deployment. 

A small bug or technical glitch can cause a huge loss to your business. You have to inquire how your offshore partner is going to handle technical issues and updates. There has to be consistent post-deployment support to maintain your product. 

Team Set-Up Process and Guidelines

Team Set-Up Process and Guidelines

Software that you build or a product that you make is a long-term investment. So is the outsourcing partner you choose. It has to be an addition that will always be valuable to your business. Therefore, it is important to have a great team of developers. 

Guidelines to follow while setting up a team.

1. Legal Aspects of Hiring a Dedicated Team 

The legal aspects of building a team mainly include three important agreements: Non-Disclosure Agreement or NDA, statement of work or SOW and Master Services Agreement or MSA. 

• Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

 If your project involves sensitive information that you might have to share with your partner, then it is important to sign an NDA. The agreement must contain what the information entails, and that the information can only be disclosed for project-related purposes. This agreement will legally bind the partner from not disclosing the information. The agreement can also indicate the penalty in the event of a breach. 

• Statement of Work (SOW)

 The statement of work agreement includes the scope of work, the product that has to be delivered, criteria for acceptance, the time period, the standards, deadline and any other terms and conditions or special requirements. 

• Master Services Agreement (MSA)

 This agreement is what defines the cooperation with the offshore partner. You have to specify the payment, terms of paying, intellectual property rights, dispute resolution mechanism. The agreement must explicitly indicate that your company will own the copyright to the work that has been done by the team but they will have the rights to it. 

2. Set Up Communication Channels 

It is important to set effective channels of communication. Most of the communication can be done via online means like video conferencing. But a real-life communication bond has to be made so as to understand the team properly. An in-person conversation will be more effective and supportive. 

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3. Establish Procedure 

It is important to establish procedures for the work. You have to foresee the questions and problems that the members might have. They should be aware of the work procedure and it has to be ensured that it is followed. There has to be a strict guideline as to who is responsible for what, whom to contact in case of issues etc.

 4. Provide Constant Feedback 

You have to be responsible in order to manage a team successfully. All the answers and questions of your software engineers have to be answered to make sure you get what you expect. You have to be equipped with the answers. Feedback is what will guide the team as to how their product development is going. There might be a situation where your feedback would dictate the next steps of the team. Therefore, it is important to provide constant feedback. 

Examples of Successful Companies that Leverage Dedicated Teams

Successful Companies that Leverage Dedicated Teams

Apiax is a fintech startup that has proved that outsourcing can be successful business cooperation with the right partner and the right team. 

They outsourced their Minimum Viable Product to an efficient Portuguese agency. They provide regulation services to financial service companies. They started off in 2018. However, by the end of the year, they have some of the most sought after clients in the banking industry. Moreover, they were also awarded the Early Stage Startup of the Year at the 2019 Swiss Fintech Awards.

GitHub is another company that went on to immensely succeeds due to their great outsourcing partnership yet again. They were helped by the offshore partner Scott Chacon. 

Slack the company that collaborated with MetaLab was valued at $7,1 billion but this year, Slack is getting closer to revenue of $10 billion due to their outsourcing partnership.

WhatsApp has Igor Solomennikov who started as a contractor and later joined the team in California on a full-time basis. Thus, these companies go on to prove that successful outsourcing can revolutionize business. 

Summary

As an entrepreneur in the technology industry, it is always in your business’s best interest to find innovative ways to bring your product into the market. They have to be faster yet cost-effective.

Fortunately, the technology has advanced so much so that the core competencies of your business can now be taken care of by experts offshore in any part of the world. 

Outsourcing has proved to be the most lucrative in the software industry. 

It reduced the overall business cost including, compensation, tax, wages etc. 

Although there are instances where an outsourcing partnership might fail due to factors such as lack of experience, a poorly drafted contract, communication barriers, unclear objectives etc., it can improve your outcome and make business more financially sustainable for your business. 

It is also very easy to mitigate these risks by following a strict guideline while choosing your offshore development partner and also while setting up a team. 

With the help of the right software development partner like aTeamIndia, we ensure that your idea gets translated into a market redefining product. Talk to our expert today! 

To know more about aTeamIndia offerings, drop a mail to sales@ateamindia.com

Software Development Trends 2020

Software development

Overview

Project Management and Staffing are the two common and most important operational tasks for the service providers in the IT Industry, along with productivity maintenance and performance management. However, the pandemic has turned the tables around and complicated the core of operational metrics for the IT companies all around the world. The overwhelming impact has forced people to self-isolate and work from home. And to stay sustainable in this environment, companies have had to adapt to more flexible management approaches. The trends in the industry have taken a different direction as well and to keep up with the pace, companies are now incorporating the new software development trends into their work environment.

“There’s a whole new era of change. Software Development is in the new phase and is evolving”

The lockdown and office closures have created new chaotic patterns for the operational teams and IT companies are re-evaluating their analytics, software development operations, productivity measures and budget allocations.

Let’s get a clear picture of how 2020 has changed the way IT industry works and where does software development stand –

Highlights

  • There is an unparalleled demand for capacity and speed.
  • Remote working has provided an untapped potential for software development companies in the staffing process, as developers are expanding their ecosystems.
  • New ways of communication have been enabled i.e. “touch-less” & “virtual” approaches.
  • Work from home has affected productivity maintenance as some teams find collaboration or collaborative productivity hard.

Software development has been the pillar for many companies and it continues to be so in 2020 as well. The industry is full of opportunities, however, the landscape is changing. Existing technical skills and practices are being updated constantly. Which is why businesses are picking up and learning the new practices i.e. trends and evolutions in the software development space.

In this article, we will discuss how the industry is evolving and where it is headed, which will help you get insights about the software development landscape. This will help you in further improving your team of developers and keeping up with the rapidly changing industry trends. Furthermore, we will tackle the management-related challenges i.e. hiring, outsourcing and managing developers, creating a top-performing team.

Contents

Managing Software Development

Tech companies face a lot of challenges in software development. What are these challenges? Have the issues shifted over the years? Let’s have a look and analyze how they can be tackled by the managers.

According to the report by Coding Sans, Capacity is the biggest challenge, due to its limitation, while the backlog is full. The second challenge being Knowledge Sharing, which suffers when the deadline is near and the backlogs are full.

Biggest Challenges in Software Development

Capacity – This challenge is overcome by implementing agile methods to improve existing practices by training developers to use them and hiring more developers to increase the work-load. Recruiting or outsourcing to contractors, both practices work.

Sharing Knowledge – Sharing knowledge is a means to optimize work routine, mentoring juniors and setting up a system for software developers. Pair programming and code reviews are the most common ways to share knowledge.

Though the challenges differ for developers and managers due to the differences in their job roles. Let’s take a look at the chart which depicts the biggest challenges faced by Managers, over the years 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Biggest Challenges faced by Managers

It was noted that the top most challenge for managers was Capacity, followed by second hiring talent, which has not changed for the last 3 years. The lack of workforce is still an industry-wide problem faced by the managers and naturally, the developers are less worried about hiring and more concerned about knowledge sharing between the team members.

Furthermore, there can be seen a significant disparity in Time management over the years, which has declined for good. And the rest of the challenges are evening out.

Outsourcing Software Development

Dealing with Capacity is the top-most challenge faced by tech companies, along with hiring developers.

 “Outsourcing software development seems to work as a quick fix for the Capacity & Hiring problem.”

According to the report, 37,38% of the companies have fully or partly outsourced software development to contractors in the last 12 months, while 62,52% haven’t fully grasped the idea.

The percentage further divides into three categories – Software Development Companies, Freelancers and Both. 56% of the work was outsourced to the software development companies, 25% to the freelancers and rest 19% was mixed of both.

Out of the companies who opted for outsourcing, only 17.17% were dissatisfied with their outsourced work.

These numbers clearly show that the demand for software development companies i.e. agencies or contractors has surged up. Companies facing staffing challenges are now more inclined towards outsourcing the work, and here is why –

Around 83% of the developers are either not actively looking for a job or interested in new job opportunities. This may be because they are highly satisfied with their current job, which leaves less managers with the low bandwidth of talent available in the market.

Only 17.3% of developers are actively looking for a job, while 25.1% are not interested in new opportunities.

Considering the employment status of the developers, 70.99% of professional developers are already employed as a full-timer. Looking at the data, a total of 92% of the professional developers are employed at-least as a part-timer. 12% of all the hired software developers are students and 8.9% freelancers or contractors.

Though the data was recorded during the pre-pandemic period and since the dynamics have now changed, there has certainly been a rise in outsourcing of software development. Even the companies which were not open to it before are now making a gradual shift towards the new ‘redefined’ scenario.

Remote Work

Remote work is how companies are sustaining in 2020. It’s not the ‘future’ anymore, it’s the current scenario.

There has been a dramatic acceleration in Digital Transformation and the way of working has completely changed.

“Remote working is the present”

76.54% of the companies allowed remote work in the past year and more companies are planning on implementing it.

At the rate at which things have changed or are changing and companies are adapting to the new working practices, the trends show that there will be further rise in remote work culture.

Tools and Tech

In this section, we’ll glance over the most popular programming languages and tools used for testing, project management, version control and communication. With time, new technologies are gradually pacing up and gaining momentum.

Programming Languages Trends –

The graph shows the most commonly used programming languages over the last three years and unsurprisingly, JavaScript has still maintained its position to the top.

Going further down the list, TypeScript (26.32%) has edged out Python and C in terms of popularity. Additionally, Ruby and Swift lost ground over the years.

Development Tools Trends –

A wide variety of tools are used by the developer teams for testing, project management and communicating while working on a project. There are a plethora of tools all of which can not be listed on charts but here are the most popular software development tools in 2020. The following charts, in no particular order, are from the Stack Overflow and Coding Sans reports of Software Developing Trends 2020.

GitHub (82%) is the most commonly used Collaborative Tool by professional developers. Slack is the second favourite of 53%.

For Testing – 75.25% of the companies use tools for software testing. Out of which, Jest (34.22%) is the most used testing tool, followed by Selenium (29.66%).

24.75% of the companies do not use any software testing tools and when asked about the limitations of using software testing tools, these were the factors that were mentioned.

According to the survey, the chart below shows the most popular Project Management, Communication and SCM (Source Control Client) Tools of 2020.

Slack remains the most popular tool used by developer teams.

Earlier, most of the software development companies used to communicate face-to-face, the project deadlines, milestones or releases were mostly done in-person. Around 60% of the tasks were communicated via in-person meetings, followed by 46% which relied on tracking tools.

Though considering other factors, there has been a massive trend change in recent times and Tools like Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and Zoom have gained immense popularity, taking a step forward. Due to the fast-paced digitalization happening around the world at the moment, the demand for communications has rapidly increased. So far so, Google Hangouts (now termed as Google Meets) and Microsoft have made these tools free for organizations to use. This is the result of more companies allowing remote work.

The tech companies are always on the lookout to update their tech tools to improve their overall work efficiency. Innovations happen quickly and hence, there is always ongoing research about new development tools. Around 75% of developers tend to learn new technology at least every few months or once a year to keep improving their skillset.

Hiring Trends

Hiring developers is a crucial part for companies and it is a challenge for managers, along with employee retention.

These are the hiring practices used over the last 3 years and out of all the methods of hiring developers, it’s seen that employee referral is still the most popular one.  Followed by in-house recruitment (14.16%). However, Online portals and recruitment agencies have been slowly gaining momentum.

Currently, with most of the work being handled remotely, the usage of online portals might see a further increment.

Looking at the criteria of the companies, while hiring developers – “willingness to learn” remains the most essential trait. Cultural Fit being the second, followed by Technical Skill Evolution and then comes the work experience which seems a little less important now than it was years ago.

“Soft Skills have surpassed College Degree”

Companies are now emphasizing on factors other than formal education, for instance – Soft Skills are also evaluated and according to the survey, they have surpassed formal education. However, when the professional developers were asked for their stance on formal education, this was the result –

Importance of Formal Education

Around 84% of the professional developers feel that formal education is at least somewhat important. However, 16% believe that it is not at all necessary.

Hands-on experience experience matters more than having a piece of paper – Education Degree”

Employee Retention
Another challenge for managers after hiring the right talent is to retain them when there is already scarcity in the industry. Managers need to keep their developers’ team motivated, while they work to keep them satisfied with the job. Most of the companies keep their team motivated by showing team spirit and providing challenging or engaging work. There’s also an emphasis on Autonomy and creating a unique product.

While these are the traits the managers look for while hunting talent, let’s have a look at what developers expect from a job.

Company’s culture seems to be the most important factor for the developers, which is why employer branding is important. Most of the companies put themselves out there as a workplace with a cool working environment but if the employer branding is done right, it will make your company more visible and transparent for potential employees, making them more likely to apply.

For this, there has to be honesty, with a clear picture of the company’s policies and culture. Furthermore, the job position has to be defined carefully and clearly, stating the requirements and task description of the job. Once the accurate picture is out there in the market, the hiring process is more effective.

Performance Measurement

Performances of the developers differentiate them into average and top-performing teams. The performance is measured on various metrics.

As you can see, working software is the number 1 measurement for top performers. Completed tasks come next in line. Though the difference between the measurements is small, it is significant.

It is noted that top-performers focus more on code readability and test coverage. When it comes to problems faced by them, they face delivery problems with the lack of defined deliverables and making correct estimations.

Whereas, the biggest problem faced by average developers is unrealistic expectations, followed by the two same problems faced by top-performers. Along with that, there are also issues of missing key skills or coordination.

Meanwhile, managers face problems such as unrealistic expectations, estimations, requirements and prioritization and the budgeting.

Conclusion

There have been ground-breaking changes in the tech industry since last year. The pandemic has altered software development trends in one way or another. From hiring teams to retaining them, managing teams to meeting the business objectives – the way of working and task implementation has taken a new direction.

This article has covered all the current trends, what challenges do the software development company managers face, how the organizations are altering their tactics and the estimations of what is there to come in future.

If you need developer help for your projects, email us at sales@ateamindia.com

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