IT outsourcing can be a great way to improve the efficiency of your business. However, building partnerships is not always easy: it cannot become effective and strategic without any effort. It is important that each side actively participates in enhancing the cooperation effectiveness.
In this article, we decided to disclose how to effectively start cooperation with the software company from the outsourcing company's perspective.
1. Describe your idea.
You need to describe your idea as precisely as possible.
If you have already started your business and see that some processes should be improved, you need to describe your business process in detail and talk what your current situation looks like. Also, include what exactly you would like to automate. It is okay if you do not have a deep understanding of where and in what ways your business processes can be improved. In this case, business analysts will help you.
2. Develop a clear specification.
Specification is made to consolidate your requirements at the initial stage of the project. Of course, as the project grows, specifications will expand, but so that you and the development company understand each other correctly - at the first stage, the development of a clear specification is a must.
In the outsourcing companies’ stuff, there are business analysts, who can help you to combine a competent specification, based upon which, you can create a software product. Usually, our business analysts develop specifications together with the customer. We describe the system with all the functionality, plan the development process and split it into sprints.
Be ready to answer a whole lot of questions! It is better to spend more time on a good description of the application requirements than to get a product that does not meet expectations.
By the way, it is not necessary to develop an application within the company where the technical task was compiled. You can refer this document to another software development company. But of course, it is better to stay with the company that developed the specification, as its specialists are already immersed in the project.
3. Choose an appropriate cooperation model.
If you do not have an end-product and your idea about it is not really clear, we highly recommend you working on a hybrid model that involves the basic principles of Time & Material and Fixed Price.
Let us explain our point of view in more detail. We do not recommend working on a classical Time & Material model, because in this case, you are expected to have a deep coordination of the project: the team will expect the management and tasks setting. If you work on the Fixed Price model, then you must have the complete list of requirements for the project. This model is suitable in case when you are sure that the specification will not change.
What concerns a mixed model, you will be assigned a project manager and a business analyst from the development company's side. They will communicate with you to find out all the necessary requirements and coordinate team’s work. These experts will also help you to monitor the development process and changes that was implemented into the project.
At the beginning of the project, we start working according to the Time & Material model, but for a certain sprint, we create part of the functionality and demonstrate it to the customer (which is typical for the Fixed Price model). Then we discuss what needs to be changed, and make edits for the next sprint. Thanks to this approach, there is no need to make huge changes after the project is released.
4. Do not constantly update your requirements.
Unstoppable updating of requirements is one of the biggest obstacles in achieving the desired results.
Having developed a clear specification, discussing the requirements with the development company and creating a vision of the product get the development process started. During this period, you can insert small changes. Do not make big changes, until you run the first version of the product and test it out. Such edits can destroy your project, and your idea will remain unrealized.
Together with the developers decide which task pool they should perform within the next two weeks, and then leave them and do not interfere with the work. Otherwise, when you give them new edits, the developers will stop working on the current tasks and switch to new ones. At the end of the sprint, it may turn out that neither of them is fulfilled.
Just to clarify: in a critical situation, it is better to notify the developers about the necessary changes.
5. Develop a minimum viable product, and then improve it.
We had some customers who developed their MVP and tested it out to understand how well their idea works. They used their product by themselves and gave it to their friends for testing. Thanks to this, they figured out what they need to add, and what to exclude from the application. Such an approach was key to success.
Based on our experience, we must say: a small application that helps people pay off much faster than a huge application that does not bring the desired results.
6. Consider marketing issues thoroughly
The technical solutions that will be used in the application development are to be described in the specification. Here, marketing plays a big role. You need to decide for which audience you are developing the product, and on what devices the application should work. The fact is that some features that work well on expensive smartphones could not be run well on some cheap devices. Such details are important to consider in advance. For example, it is very important to calculate how well the device geo tracking will work, and what the performance and the battery consumption requirements are.
It is okay when at the beginning of cooperation with an outsourcing company, there are hesitations that the contractor will perform poorly. But we are sure that if you follow these tips, your cooperation with software development company is going to be fruitful, and together we will create high-quality software.