Risks of outsourcing software development
As an introduction to our main topic, we should start with the fact that doing software development business always means taking risks. And in-house software development together with outsourcing software development is not an exception.
It makes sense to divide the current topic into 2 subtopics: general risks of software development and risks in outsourcing software development. Most of the risks will be the same, no matter whether you hire a local development team, hire in-house development team or decide to subcontract an outsourcing software development company.
General risks developing your software project
- Lack of expertise of the team selected
This is one of the examples, when it doesn’t matter whether you outsource or not. Unfortunately, there are always people with bad and good expertise, and good and bad developers. You could face this risk hiring an in-house developer, working with a local developer or in the outsourcing sector.
- Personal controversies inside the team which will impact delivery results
People are different and it is not unusual when very good professionals cannot work together for personal reasons. You might not like the attitude to life, some bad habits of people you are working with. This will impact your communication, and velocity as well as result in bad delivery of the team work.
- Bad management and loss on velocity of all the team as a result
Most of the startups do not think how important the job of a good manager for any kind of project or model of work. Good management skills can save much time of developers’, prevent the customer from taking wrong decisions or help to find a quick solution of the issue when required. In addition to this, a good manager knows what is going on with the team, i.e. who is depressed, who may leave the team soon, who is very happy and so on. Assigning tasks and working with people being an individual, who plays the leading role on the project and unites the team will result in great software, positive emotions, good business income. And bad management can result in something absolutely opposite.
- Health problems, bad internet connection, pandemics and other unpredictable circumstances
Global or personal force majeure circumstances which no one can predict. Any developer, your employee, oversees the developer and actually everyone can get sick one day. All the world can be impacted with Covid-19. Or like we recently had in Belarus an issue when for 2 days we were left absolutely without internet because of political issues in the country.
- Bad performance of one of the team participants
Also, it is important to mention that even one team participant who is doing bad can impact the results of work of all the team. For example, if you need the functionality to be done on the back end first and the back end developer works slowly and responds slowly, his code has a lot of bugs – he will be simply acting as a blocker for the developer who merges the code, for the front-end developer who requires constant updates and communication with the back end guy and so on.
If all mentioned above are general risks everyone can face working in IT industry. Further we will proceed to three main risks which are connected to the outsourcing software development activities.
So, what are the risks you should think about hiring an outsourcing software development company?
- Language barriers. English is mostly used for any international communication, but, as practice shows, not all people speak English well, what’s more – many regions have very specific accent which is not always easy to understand. Of course, if you outsource from England to the US, or from Spain to Latin America there should not be any language barriers as people speak the same languages. However, if you outsource from the US to Eastern Europe, make sure people speak the language fine and it won’t lead to misunderstanding the scope of work you discuss.
- Cultural differences and public holidays. Most people think that it is not that important, however, on practice it is. For example, in the US people usually send you a recap after the call, in some other countries people will get mad thinking you’ve sent a recap because you do not trust them. In Eastern countries people are used to answer when they have a result or a solution. Many European clients are concerned why a developer doesn’t reply for 2 days, does he finally understood the task? – while the developer is thinking that he should reply only when he finishes or if he won’t be capable to finish it, as it is clear he is working on the task at the moment. Also, different countries have different holidays so your overseas team won’t be always working when you are and will sometimes be working when you will be on public holidays.
- Time zone. The last important point is – always check the time zone of the team. In case you have ongoing development or requirements to maintain the software – a gap of 8 hours can be a great problem. People will not work at night and even if they will – they will never be so productive as during the daytime.
As you might have noticed most of the risks connected to the software development are general. Specific risks of outsourcing also exist so you should keep it in mind taking a decision to outsource your project or technical maintenance of your business. In our next article we will share some tips how to mitigate those risks.