Read | Practice | Advance
Global offshore software development is now a multi-billion-dollar industry and it’s expanding in a rapid manner. Offshoring software development returns cost savings, top notch technical expertise, early time to market, and scope to focus more on core business sphere. Selecting the suitable offshore software development company is a tricky decision to make. It takes time and can’t be done overnight. Usually it takes around 2-6 months to finalize such b2b partnership. Success rate can be escalated by following methodological process to select a partner.
Before starting to look for an offshore software development partner it’s wise to first prepare a detail software project specification document. In this document information is listed mainly under two headings; Business Requirements Document (BRD) and Software Requirements Specification (SRS).
First specify what is the business solution you are trying to get through your software solution in as detail as possible. Your BRD will mainly act as foundation for your SRS.
Enlist enough and all the necessary details regarding user requirements, functional requirements, and non-functional requirements under software requirements specification.
Later stage your BRD & SRS will act as the basis for an agreement between you and your offshore development partner. SRS also provide a rational basis for estimating product costs, associated risks, and project scheduling.
To prepare a quality SRS you may need help from a good system analyst. You can hire one for this purpose to work onshore or even you can get an analyst from offshore provider. A system analyst will convert your BRD into SRS.
Working on detailed project specification documentation will strengthen your position regarding identifying your development needs which will be beneficial in searching for the right offshore vendor for you.
Aligning the development needs with the suitable geographical region is a better way to start your searching process. Time zone, regional culture, infrastructure, and legal framework are some of the important factors affecting the decision on geographical region selection.
One of the key reason behind outsourcing from similar time zone is minimum turn-around time. Now if you engage an offshore team from the opposite of the globe you may have maximum 10-12 hours turn-around time. For most of the software development projects such increase in turn-around time has very little significance. Interestingly, this kind of offshoring will benefit by allowing 24 hours’ continuous development resulting short time to complete the project.
Offshoring means dealing with another culture. Doubt regarding project success due to cultural differences is a common fear. But eminent offshore software development companies have multi-cultural understanding powered by long experiences and they do manage cultural differences to hold efficiency.
After selecting a region it’s time to go for specific country. Selecting individual country directly is also a popular way to treasure an offshore development partner.
Geography Specific Company Search
After selecting the suitable country for offshore development, next step is searching for prospective companies from that country. In this stage searching can be done based on your project requirements, skillsets required, and prior experiences. Suppose you choose Bangladesh as a country for your offshore destination. You wish to build an application using SharePoint technology. Now you can search by using search phrase like “SharePoint application development companies in Bangladesh” or “Best SharePoint application development companies in Bangladesh”. From the search result check various companies. Be aware about companies with wordy claims. Check major prospective vendor, find out what other companies they are doing business with and what results they have achieved. Confirm about the experience and proficient resources in the technologies your project demands.
Ask for Recommendation
Business colleagues, professional contacts from current partnering organizations, friends from your industry who are already engaged in similar offshore software development projects in the same regions are a good source for references. Having a conversation regarding their offshoring experience can be very much beneficial in your searching stage.
Identify & Listing
From your initial search and recommendations from your contacts identify companies from that country or region which feels promising and build up a list of companies. Ideally this list should consist of 5-10 companies. It’s okay for now, if you end up with more than this range.
Now you have a list of companies to do a matching with your requirements. Have an in-depth research about the technical expertise (languages & frameworks, platforms, webservers, databases, and other engineering tools) matching with your desired software solution. Other key factors like prior experience, industry insight, development process, company culture, etc. need to be consideration in this matching step. Vendor company portfolio checking for similar type of previous project experiences can be a good fit in the requirements matching research. If you do not have any project management professional in your internal team, then it’s better to look for a vendor company who do have technical project management professionals along with technical expertise. Usually requirements matching research is done depending upon public information available in the web or other sources.
Reliant upon the findings in requirements matching research it’s time to make a short list of companies which best match with your requirements. This short list should consist 3-5 most suited companies.
Additional Information Request
Short listing is prepared depending upon the public data about the vendor companies. All the key information needed to evaluate any vendor company may not available publicly. You may have questions which are not answered from the public sources. Communicate with the vendor companies asking for additional information required to have a clear understanding. Usually this inquiry is done through email communication.
Current and past customers of any vendor company is a great source for relevant information regarding vendor reputation and authenticity. Look for the customers of your short listed vendor companies and send inquiry emails to them regarding their experience working with the vendor company. Their responses will be a valuable data in your decision making process to select an offshore software development company.
Request for Proposal (RFP)
Mail Request for Proposal (RFP) to all the short listed vendor companies. In RFP try to be as clear as possible regarding specification of requirements to have better communication. Vendor companies may ask for additional information before sending their price quotations.
Various factors influence in the selection process of the most suitable offshore software development partner. Significance of the factors may vary from project to project. By assessing specific project requirements, you can allocate the significance level to various factors.
Company Factor Elements
Company factor elements include company size & stability, location, infrastructure, culture, security, and pricing.
Team Factor Elements
Employee factor elements are passion, technical & management expertise, years of experience, and retention rate.
Technology Factor Elements
Technology factor elements consists of software development process, project management, and coding standards & quality.
After weighing all the short listed company select the highest scoring one as your software development partner. After selecting a software development company you can go for small test project initially based on the size of the project. Depending upon the test project experience you can take decision on long term project partnership.
Test project is the start of an official working relationship with your selected offshore vendor. This period is very crucial and need to be monitored with due diligence.
Two-way Communication Experience
Two-way effective communication is the basis of offshoring success. Both the parties need to have clear understanding about the project progress and timely and clear communication to secure project success.
Cross-cultural effectiveness and diversity of the offshoring team is inevitable. Project management practice backed by fair understanding about cross-cultural differences in behavior, thinking, assumptions, and values will omit misunderstanding and ineffectiveness resulting delightful and long-term working relationship.
Professional Service Quality & Ethics
Selected offshore software development company should be always on-time to meet the deadline of the test project. Exposure of professional accountability and competence of the vendor company along with integrity in business practice during the test project will determine the future long-term project involvement scope.
Development Partner Selection
After delightful test project experience, it’s time for long-term serious business relationship with the offshore software development company.
Short Trip to Meet Offshore Team
An official visit to the selected company can benefit in creating a good relationship and cultural understanding. Hands on experience about physical facilities, management practice, and work environment of the vendor company can be obtained from the visit. Initial training and required agreements can be done in this visit.
Business agreements need to be signed covering Intellectual Property (IP) protection, Non-disclosure, and source code ownership.
There is no single recipe to select offshore development partner. Depending upon the situation and requirements the process may differ. When you select an offshore vendor, you aim to get it right at the first time to avoid project shifting, project delay, and financial disaster. Hope these article will benefit to assess the potential development partner.