Five Common Outsourcing Mistakes

The old saying states “Time is money.” This is particularly true in the fast-moving world of business. Move too slowly and the world flows by without you. Move too quickly and costly mistakes are made. In the world of outsourcing, the time needed to reach your results can be frustratingly long. And that’s just one item on the list of frustrating issues.

Needless to say, that list has almost endless potential to grow. Trim your list potential down by learning about most common outsourcing mistakes and how to avoid them.

  1. Not doing adequate research.

Your outsourcing partner is going to be one of the most important people for you and your business as the new product or application is being created. The process of finding them should be treated accordingly. With the wide array of vendors, agencies, and freelancers, there is no need to settle.

Some particular areas to examine closely include the projects the developers have worked on in the past, references that the agency provides (or does not), case studies of previous work, and other tangible proofs of work. Have they done projects like yours in the past? Do they have a good track record? How long have they been around? The more research you can do beforehand, the better prepared you will be to make an educated decision.  

  1. Pre-setting definitions in stone.

Software is nothing if not flexible. This does not mean that every aspect and detail can be planned out by anyone before work begins. Flexibility on both teams’ parts is a must. Though the vision to solve the issue or the idea behind the new product may not need to fundamentally change, be open to the developer or company’s feedback.

On the flip side, look for your outsourcing partner to also be open to your concerns and needs. Sometimes developers and companies, even with the best of intentions, have definitions about their customers. Communication and discussion are two-way streets and should be treated accordingly.

  1. Poor communication and low communication standards.

Outsourcing is challenging enough without the additional strain of poor communication. And it is far better to err on the side of over communicating than under communicating. It is easy to become wrapped up into details, but hard to share them with others in ways that all can understand. Make sure you share these values with your outsourcing partner!

In particular, look for the outsourcing partner to value communication with you. In return, communicate back. Questions should always be treated as good things, even if the answers need to be explained a few times (perhaps in different ways and terms, on occasion) in order to make sense to all concerned. Constructive feedback smooths the path for progress and multiple ways of saving time, resources, and money. In order to take advantage of these benefits, communication must be a priority.

  1. Not knowing anything in-house about the needed technology.

In some circles, a supposition exists that outsourcing will take care of all your software needs. To some extent, this is true. After all, that is one of the main reason people choose outsourcing vs. doing it themselves. However, it tends to leave the customer at the mercy of the outsourcer.

While proper communication and a good provider will do much to bridge the knowledge gap, take the time to educate yourself as a customer on some of the aspects of the work you need done. Talk to people in your network who work on software development or study up on your own. The more you understand about your own need, the better you will be able to communicate with and understand the perspective of the people making your solution or product for you.

  1. Not paying enough attention to details.

Is something not feeling right? Things aren’t making sense? Questions not being answered? They may seem like little things now, but sometimes you just don’t know. Pay attention to those details before they snowball!

With good coverage of the previous four points discussed, this fifth point has much less potential to evolve into a larger-scale issue. Depending on your team and the trust built between you and your partner, the level of engagement will vary on a case to case basis. Just make sure that it is there.

Here at Swan Software Solutions, we are proud of our tradition of creating solutions. With over thirteen years of experience and a history of happy customers, we are confident in our ability to serve you and your needs. Contact us today to learn more! We look forward to hearing from you.

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