Many start-up companies struggle with the cost and the need for a unique software application. With only limited employees, it is sometimes impractical and costly to develop the app in-house. This is when small companies should look elsewhere. Mary Shacklett, in an article for TechRepublic, suggests small companies go with the outsourcing route, and follow these practices to avoid problems:
- Do your research.
- Look for a firm with a local contact.
- Execute a non-disclosure agreement.
- Have adequate legal representation.
- Establish a staff lead person for the project.
- Include software documentation in your agreement.
- Ask for early proof of concept.
- Maintain leverage until the end of the project.
Looking outside Your Walls
When considering outsourcing, you need to look into a company’s history, its key people and their background, and its reputation. It’s easy to be scammed or deceived if you only communicate with the other electronically, so if you can verify a local office address of a firm, your project communications are also likely to be enhanced. In case anything goes wrong in the future, consider having legal representation through a law firm that practices international law if offshoring, or even an international law firm in the country of development. All the legal issues involved are fairly complicated if you’re not familiar with the laws and practices of a different country, so employ a lawyer who can ensure that your intellectual property is well protected and everything is done abiding by the law.
You need to monitor the development process at all stages from the beginning to the end, especially if you haven’t worked with an international firm before. Ask for an early proof of concept model or a prototype of the software in your contract to see what the real thing looks like. If it matches your expectation, both sides can move on. But if it doesn’t, you may halt the process without losing too much. The key in working remotely with a foreign firm is to make sure you keep and obtain all necessary documentation, and the communication is clear. The process will be as smooth as a collaboration if everything is done legally and rigidly. Shacklett adds this:
There are many other outsourcing project best practices that companies develop as they gain more experience with projects, but the most important thing to remember is that you must be willing to take control of an outsource project process from end to end. While the cost of outsourcing might seem cheaper at first, the math can rapidly change if things go wrong and you’re not there to intercept and to correct them at early stages.
You can view the original article here: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/8-best-practices-for-outsourcing-app-development-projects/