Software outsourcing has cultivated a well-deserved reputation as an incredible tool for overburdened managers looking to produce the best possible software for their end users while effectively managing their employees and maintaining healthy relationships with their most important customers. By working with an outsourcing partner to supplement a company’s current capabilities, managers can ensure that their next software development project is successful and set their company up for prosperity in the future. Two of the most popular outsourcing models in use today are staff augmentation and autonomous delivery teams. Read on to learn how each of these software outsourcing models is used by successful executives today.
One of the most useful software outsourcing models in-use today is the autonomous delivery team. The outside teams provided by IT managed services typically consist of an experienced project manager, an array of software engineers, and specialized software developer engineers in test and manual testers to help during the quality assurance phase of the project. The main benefit associated with this outsourcing model is that it allows executives to conceptualize a piece of software and to leave the tedious development process to an outside team of specialized programmers. They can complete the process with little need for help or supervision.
The single-best feature provided by these autonomous delivery teams is that they allow managers to rapidly respond to developments in the marketplace and quickly create a piece of custom software that addresses these customer demands. The average hiring time in the technology industry is over a month, which means that a company intent on launching a large-scale software development project must first conceptualize their software and plan out the process–just to spend the next month or more getting an in-house team hired and onboarded. End-to-end delivery teams help managers avoid this frustration and get the development process started immediately by providing an experienced development team who is ready to start a project on-cue.
Reduce Manager Burdens
Two major drawbacks associated with in-house software development is the huge supervisory burden that the process places on management and the way in which that burden prevents key personnel from focusing on the company’s core business. One of the ways in which autonomous delivery teams help businesses is by placing the project management portion of the development in the hands of an experienced leader who thrives in a high-pressure, volatile environment. In addition, the best software managed services will set up clear communication channels from the outset and will integrate checkpoints into the software development cycle, allowing managers to quickly assess progress whenever necessary.
Perhaps the most challenging part of the software development cycle is getting stakeholders and key employees alike to assume the risk associated with creating a piece of custom software from scratch. Such a process involves months of planning, a raft of development specialists, and a large amount of financial capital. Importantly, all of these investments come with a huge amount of risk, since so much of the software developed today fails to return a profit. Working with an outside delivery team helps reduce the risk in several ways. 1) These teams are comprised of ultra-specialized engineers with a wide range of related experience, allowing them to overcome challenges with ease. And, 2) contracts with the best software managed services will typically make final payment contingent on the delivery of a successful piece of software, meaning that the software outsourcing company has its own financial stake in the success of their work.
Loss of Control
The primary negative associated with outsourced delivery teams is the lack of control that managers have over the day-to-day development tasks. While this feature is built into this outsourcing method and enables managers to focus on their core responsibilities and clients, the lack of control can be incredibly frustrating for hands-on managers. The best way to mitigate this problem is by setting up clear lines of communication from the start of the project and to ensure that regular updates are provided to key supervisors during each crucial step of the development cycle.
Finding the Right Delivery Team
Another challenge associated with autonomous delivery teams is finding a quality outsourcing partner to work with. The intense nature of this project, combined with the independent arrangement that the delivery team enjoys, means that companies must have a great deal of trust and confidence in their outsourcing partner. A poor delivery team is likely to produce an inferior product that does not meet customer needs, that has bugs or compromises consumer data, or that cost much more to develop than initially estimated. Managers must perform their due diligence before signing a contract, which means thoroughly researching the outsourcing firm’s industry reputation, looking through their past projects for quality of work, and determining whether or not they are producing insightful and original content that demonstrates their expertise.
Another well-known and highly-useful software outsourcing model is staff augmentation, which involves supplementing a permanent, in-house staff with experienced outside contractors who can contribute their expertise during key stages of the software development cycle. By bringing in these ultras-specialized software engineers during the busiest portions of the process, managers provide their employees with help when they need it most, saving valuable time and money.
Access Better Talent
Given the current shortage of tech talent in the United States and the ever-increasing demand for these talented software engineers, the ability to find highly-qualified developers outside of a company’s urban area is a tremendous advantage. This is even more important when looking for hyper-specialized programmers with hard-to-find skill-sets. In today’s ultra-connected business world, companies located in New York City can augment their staff with a specialized engineer located in Bogota, Colombia, without hindering their in-house team’s ability to function or communicate with their new addition.
One of the most important concepts developed in the tech world, the Lean approach to business, has now become ubiquitous throughout the entire business community. Managers in every sector of the economy now recognize how important it is to remain lean and ready to respond to new marketplace developments in the future. One result of this movement is a new focus on maintaining a lean and agile internal staff while outsourcing crucial roles to experienced contractors on an as-needed basis.
Staff augmentation provides much-needed long-term flexibility by allowing managers to hire well-paid experts on a part-time basis and without a long-term employment commitment. This helps companies maintain low personnel budgets and ensure that they are prepared to launch their next major project with the resources and staff flexibility necessary to succeed.
The main drawback associated with staff augmentation, in comparison to more extensive software outsourcing like autonomous delivery teams, is the massive amount of project management responsibilities that such a project entails. With augmented staff members, in-house managers will be responsible for managing their permanent employees, supervising their off-site augmented staff, and still executing their core responsibilities each and every day. This is why managers with little interest in project management so frequently turn to services like autonomous delivery teams.