Daniel Alcanja

CTO and Trio, 17 years in Mobile and Web development

6 Software Engineering Outsourcing Risks And How To Avoid Them from Wreaking Havoc

Software engineering outsourcing heavily relies on trusting the team you’ve chosen. You will need to trust their expertise, their abilities and their interest and involvement in the project. 
Working with an outsourced software engineering team is associated with a number of risks that can negatively affect the delivery of the project. However, there are ways to avoid outsourcing mistakes and ways to benefit from a productive collaboration with a remote team. 
Why do companies outsource? For a number of reasons: sometimes it is to reduce the costs, to improve the quality with outside expertise, to access the skills that are not available in-house, etc. Outsourcing often helps to reduce the costs without loss of the quality which makes it an attractive practice for many companies, especially when it comes to IT development.  
Even though outsourcing is a common practice, this kind of collaboration doesn’t always work out. As the result of a bad outsourcing practice a company can loose a lot of time and money to develop a project that won’t be viable at the end. But if the collaboration is done the right way, you can benefit from lower cost of the development, finding new valuable partners and getting the final product of your dreams. 

Unrealistic expectations

Setting a clear expectation for the project and communicating progress is the best way to avoid misunderstanding. Unrealistic expectations happen all the time - you expect the project to be delivered yesterday, the engineering team expects to have two times more time for development, etc. To avoid this kind of situation it’s important to discuss every step of the project development in detail and focus on collaboration in order to drive the best possible result. In our experience, doing meetings in-person or over video chat can really help everyone on the team- from project managers to remote engineers to really be proactive in communication and collaboration and deliver the project according with the client’s expectations. 

Poor communication

Communications always were and still remains one of the biggest problems of outsourcing. It is important to choose a team that you can communicate clearly to avoid details being lost in translation. Every type of project requires clear guidelines, but more importantly, guidelines are vital for remote teams as there is no possibility to communicate concerns on-site and have a traditional face-to-face discussion and brainstorming session. 

Hidden costs

Overpaying for the project can appear when you are striving to get the work done for the lowest price possible. As a result, you may face such problems as not owning the source code, poor documentation, lack of transparency during the development process that you will end up paying more to fix. 
Overpaying can appear in the numerous ways: using cheap services may result in a lower quality product, the terms and conditions may prevent you from owning the code and other factor another factor that can affect the final product. 
Paying attention to how the company provides you with the estimates and how it distributes the budget can show you how the money is being used and if you need to expect any additional costs to appear. 

Inadequate technical skills

Proof of previous work skills and experiences in similar projects can ensure that the team that you are hiring is a good match for your project. Using the references and the previous work experiences will help you to identify clearly if that particular engineering team is a good fit for your project. The team can consist of skilled experts, but if the technical architecture and the framework of your project do not match, you won’t be able to make that collaboration work. 

Poor project management 

Project management is key to carrying out development projects and is responsible for making sure that the business needs are addressed in a timely manner as well as maintaining a schedule and the project cost.
Providing the team with clear instructions and guidelines, offering regular feedback and ensuring that the tasks and resources are distributed correctly are only a few of the responsibilities of a project manager. Poor leadership can result in the failure of the project, so it is crucial to ensure that the person in charge is capable of taking the responsibility for a complex software engineering project. 

Intellectual property

Even if your idea is not unique or innovative, you should protect it. Using safe data processing methods and signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement(NDA) agreement a great starting point towards guaranteeing that your property is protected, but every situation requires a different approach and solution. 
Not having confidentiality or NDA doesn't mean that the company or engineer will steal your code and ideas, but it is important to protect yourself to avoid the possible risks of leaking confidential information. Intellectual property safety is a big concern for business owners and should be addressed appropriately. 
IT outsourcing isn’t riskier than any other type of outsourcing if managed carefully. Finding a reliable software development partner will help you to eliminate most of the risks and deal with the existing ones as part of a software development project. The risks don’t come only from the side of IT vendor, and since the development project is a collaborative process, it requires both parties to be involved and responsible for the outcome. 
When choosing a software development partner you need always consider the previous experience and the projects that were developed with that team, this is the best way to see if the selected team is a good fit for your project. A mature company will be happy to provide you with case studies and project overviews as well as references to make sure that you have as much useful information as possible. Avoiding the outsourcing risks that we’ve mentioned about will help you establish a successful collaboration with the remote software engineering team.

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