How to outsource web development

Many companies prefer to outsource development to a third-party service supplier

How to outsource web development

How to outsource web development. Source: pixabay.com

Building your own website or an application is crucial for any business. Web developers do not only write codes and scripts, but also use content management systems (CMS) and web design tools to make the front-end and back-end solutions functional, responsive, reliable and optimised.

Although you may hire your own in-house team to create corporate web and mobile resources, many companies prefer to outsource this task to a third-party service supplier.

In 2019, the global outsourcing market amounted to $92.5B. The largest portion of this revenue, namely $66.5B, belongs to the outsourcing of IT processes. According to  Markets Insider, the top 5 countries to outsource to are: China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Ukraine and Vietnam. Poland is also often mentioned as one of the prominent destinations where software development’s quality greatly exceeds its price.

Reasons to outsource development

How to outsource web development

Outsourcing companies face higher liabilities. Source: pixabay.com

Before we proceed to the how-to manual, here are a few main pros of this type of cooperation for those who still doubt if they should subcontract their IT.

  • it saves costs;
  • it can increase productivity and competitiveness;
  • the company may focus on their core business processes;
  • you get access to a larger talent pool;
  • third-party developers are more prone to professional growth (to stay competitive) and have versatile work experience;
  • you can take advantage of the whole development team’s knowledge without selecting every professional yourself;
  • dealing with the contracts of an outside software house is much easier than dealing with in-house HR issues;
  • you can benefit from the time zone difference: even when your business is closed the work is still getting done, your services can work 24/7;
  • it can improve customer-centeredness – instead of managing your employees you can concentrate on relationships with clients and optimise customer support;
  • hiring staff becomes flexible;
  • outsourcing companies face higher liabilities and alleviate some responsibilities from your own business;
  • it can solve capacity issues which is crucial for SMEs and startups;
  • disruptive outsourcing enhances development speed – it helps to integrate services an organisation cannot quickly build on its own to innovate, transform, and compete in the market.

How to outsource properly

outsource development

Clarify your final goal, technical requirements and project needs. Source: pixabay.com

First of all, you need to estimate the budget and expected time frames for your web development project. Be sure to consider the cost you would pay to a relevant in-house team and look for cheaper options. However, don’t focus on the cheapest solutions either, as it can deteriorate product quality.

Secondly, before looking for an IT partner, you should figure out exactly what you want. No outside team can provide you with a perfect solution based on vague expectations. Clarify your final goal, technical requirements and project needs. Of course, you can consult with the professional team in the creation process, however, it is your ultimate vision that needs to come true as a result. To outline the whole development process, you can create a website development timeline, adding tasks, and establishing milestones for your project. It is the best way to track your project implementation to ensure you keep up with the deadline.

The hardest thing about outsourcing is to choose the best company. An unlimited pool of professional agencies presents a real puzzle for a business owner. There is no need to always stick to one provider. Using a competitive bidding process can bring you more favourable terms, better quality and lower fees.

There are several platforms that can help you make an informed choice like Clutch, GoodFirms, Upwork, Manifest, etc.

To evaluate the vendor’s experience, check out:

  • Company’s portfolio;
  • Tech specialisation and capabilities;
  • Ratings and reviews, number of years on the market;
  • Company’s web profiles like GitHub for code samples or Behance and Dribbble for web design.
outsource development

Decide on the outsourcing destination you are interested in. Source: pixabay.com

Decide on the outsourcing destination you are interested in. Remember the global top we’ve already mentioned, as well as consider what regions offer the most attractive prices. Don’t forget about cultural and language differences that may become an obstacle.

  • Onshore development. If you don’t want time zones and languages to complicate your cooperation, look for a vendor from your country.
  • Nearshore services. That means outsourcing to nearby countries (from the same time zone or within 2  time zones of difference).
  • Offshore web development. Delegating the project to a company located abroad further away than 2-4 time zones. As a rule, it works best in terms of the price-quality balance.

After you’ve done a preliminary selection of the potential vendors, interview them. During the video interview, you should learn more about the company’s work methods, support and maintenance. Discuss payment terms and other organisational questions such as a meeting routine, communication means, etc. Ask as many questions as you wish and pay attention to the questions your potential vendor asks. If they are intent on delivering a quality product, they’ll want to understand your project in detail as well.

If you’ve found the right partner, discuss contract terms, sign a general agreement and a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). It is also better to legally establish a financial penalty for breaking an agreement to reduce risks.

outsource development

Once you’ve come to an agreement with a vendor, keep in touch. Source: pixabay.com

Once you’ve come to an agreement with a vendor, keep in touch. Regularly get updates about the project and make amends if necessary. At the initial stage, hold meetings daily. Later, your communication may become a bit less frequent. Take into consideration time zone differences, work schedules, and holidays to fit both parties. You may need joint brainstorming sessions to optimise your website or application.

You should supervise the process throughout all the seven main steps of the web development: 1) Information Gathering, 2) Planning, 3)Design, 4) Content Writing and Assembly, 5) Coding, 6) Testing, Review and Launch, 7) Maintenance. Try getting customers’ feedback on the test version or, at least, test it very thoroughly with your in-house team.

When the website or an app is up and running, don’t hurry to distance yourself from the outsourced web development agency. When it goes live, some bugs or imperfections may appear. The most common issues are browser compatibility problems, responsive website mistakes, broken links or website forms, slow loading speed, etc. The developing team is the best candidate to fix or improve their product.

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