What Are the Stages of a Software Outsourcing Project?

The information technology market is growing by leaps and bounds every year—the industry added 200,000 jobs in 2018 in the United States alone. One of the main reasons for the industry’s rise is software development, a segment which is predicted to grow by more than 8% in 2019.

Many companies are turning to software outsourcing partners to help them develop custom software without committing to a large and inflexible in-house development team. That’s because an outsourcing partner can help businesses hire the right people, develop better quality software, and protect sensitive data from malicious hackers.

Before selecting an outsourcing partner, it’s important that executives have a solid understanding of the software development lifecycle and how outsourcing can affect the process. This guide will walk managers through the five most important stages in a software outsourcing project, including:

  • Goals & Requirement Gathering
  • Selecting the Best Outsourcing Model
  • Beginning the Development Process
  • Conducting QA Testing
  • Deploying & Maintaining the Software

Read on to learn more about the five stages in a software outsourcing project.

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1. CREATE A GOALS & REQUIREMENTS DOCUMENT

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Executives use the goals and requirement gathering and analysis phases to create a strategic roadmap that will serve as the foundation for the software development project. This document outline the goals for the piece of custom software, as well as what requirements and features are necessary to accomplish those goals.

For example, a company interested in creating a mobile banking app will have a specific set of requirements that is very different from a company intent on building video streaming software.

Clients should thoroughly think through their goals for the development project, their target audience, and the most important features before reaching out to an outsourcing development service. This will help them properly assess outsourcing companies according to their project’s specific needs and select the right outsourcing model given their internal capabilities.

2. SELECT THE BEST OUTSOURCING MODEL

There are three main types of software outsourcing models available to companies interested in custom software development. Each of these outsourcing styles comes with a unique set of advantages and disadvantages.

Staff Augmentation

  • Hire a limited number of developers and other specialists to supplement a company’s in-house development team for the duration of the project only.
  • Ideal for companies with experienced project managers and a strong in-house development group.

Managed Services

  • A project-based model for software development.
  • Software outsourcing services provide an entire development team.
  • The outsourced team handles the bulk of the development tasks, while the client supervises workflow and is responsible for the overall direction of the project.

Autonomous Delivery Teams

  • Ideal for managers who lack development experience.
  • These end-to-end groups use the client’s goals and requirements to build the software without supervision.
  • Allows executives to focus on their core business and clients, rather than getting wrapped up in the minutiae of the development cycle.

3. START THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

The development process will largely look the same no matter which software outsourcing model is selected. The software development team must take the goals and requirements compiled by the executive team to create a set of deliverables and deadlines.

Software engineers will begin writing code for the software and building the most important components first.

If the team is using a modern development methodology like Agile, they’ll focus on integrating the most important features into a software iteration. This bare-bones version will be shared with stakeholders and end users. They’ll use this valuable feedback to learn about the most used features and to divert resources into the most important components.

In addition, developers will conduct unit testing to find any logical errors in the code. The team will utilize computer program modules, operating and usage procedures, and control data to determine whether units of source code can be used in the final product.

Once unit testing is complete and several iterations have been produced and improved, it’s time to move onto the quality assurance (QA) testing phase.

THE TEAM WILL USE THIS VALUABLE FEEDBACK FROM STAKEHOLDERS AND END USERS TO LEARN ABOUT THE MOST USED FEATURES AND TO DIVERT RESOURCES INTO THE MOST IMPORTANT COMPONENTS.

4. CONDUCT THOROUGH QA TESTING

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QA testing is one of the most important stages of a software outsourcing project. It ensures that software works as intended, is free of bugs, and that sensitive consumer data is protected from hostile actors.

Traditionally, QA testing was relegated to the testing phase of the software development lifecycle. However, tech companies and software outsourcing services alike have embraced Agile development en masse. This methodology encourages development teams to include QA testing in every software iteration.

Development teams use a combination of manual and automatic testing to identify coding mistakes, bugs, and data privacy vulnerabilities. Make sure to ask potential outsourcing partners about their approach to functional, performance, usability, and security testing.

TYPES OF QA TESTING

  • Functional

    Determines whether the software operates according to its functional requirements.

  • Performance

    Makes sure software is able to function under a high workload. Identifies performance bottlenecks and provides simple solutions.

  • Automated

    Uses custom programs to identify flaws and bugs without the heavy workload of manual testing.

  • Usability

    Ensures that software works smoothly for the end user and is easy-to-use. Focus on UI and UX design.

  • Security

    Helps companies identify vulnerabilities and protect their customer’s sensitive data.

5. DEPLOY & MAINTAIN SOFTWARE

What Are the Stages of a Software Outsourcing Project? 1

Many outsiders believe that software development ends after testing. However, the best software outsourcing companies create a strategy for successfully deploying and maintaining the software once the development process is complete.

This strategy ensures that unidentified bugs and errors are corrected quickly once users report the problem to developers. In addition, development teams should use the feedback provided by consumers to add features and improve the product beyond simply fixing errors.

For example, Facebook recently responded to customer feedback by adding a Marketplace to their applications. This allows users to post items for sale and to purchase items from their Facebook friends and others in their immediate geographic area.

Companies should work with their outsourcing partner to create a plan for responding to customer feedback—including both bugs and suggestions. This may involve completing all maintenance tasks in-house or leaving one or two augmented staff members in charge of service tickets and user submissions throughout the lifecycle of the software.

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SUMMARY: THE 5 STAGES OF A SOFTWARE OUTSOURCING PROJECT

  • Outline goals & software requirements

    Businesses should create a document outlining the goals for the development project and a list of requirements that the software must fulfill.

  • Select the best outsourcing model

    Executives must conduct a realistic assessment of their in-house capabilities. This will determine whether staff augmentation or some form of delivery team is best for their project.

  • Begin the development process

    Start developing the software itself. Use a combination of outsourced staff and in-house employees to build software from the ground up.

  • Complete QA testing

    The software should be tested for functionality, performance, usability, and security. Outsourcing partners should use a combination of manual and automated testing to accomplish this.

  • Deploy & maintain the software

    Release the software to market. In addition, create a strategy for responding to customer service tickets and fixing new problems.

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