8 Pitfalls to Avoid When Outsourcing Web Development

The Key to Outsourcing Web Development

Web development is an essential need for practically any business. After all, your online presence is often the first thing people will see when looking into your business. Whether you’re looking to build a website or web application or want some upkeep and maintenance, outsourcing is a great solution, especially if you don’t need full-time, round-the-clock services.

But all too frequently, businesses make fatal errors when outsourcing — errors that could be avoided. So, what are common pitfalls when you outsource web development, and how can you make sure you don’t fall into their trap?

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Pitfall #1: Outsourcing at the Wrong Time

Outsourcing web development can be a great idea with many benefits, including cost savings, efficiency, and time back for you and your team. But there are instances when the time just isn’t right.

You might have a solid team in place that can complete the project without external support. Or, perhaps you do need support, but you haven’t done the research to determine what the market like and the audience demand look like. In this case, you should wait until you’ve taken the time to do your due diligence.

Additionally, you should analyze what resources you need. You should have the infrastructure to communicate with an external team, as well as track the project’s progress.

Pitfall #2: Failing to Nail Down Goals and Requirements

If you haven’t established clear goals for the project, you should wait until you have nailed down objectives that you can articulate to the web development team. Otherwise, you’re bound to be dissatisfied with the results since you won’t be able to give your developers clear directions.

A web development project needs to have an end goal. How do you want your audience to use it? What takeaways do you hope that they have from the experience? How will you determine and measure outcomes?

Think in terms of both short and long terms. Not only will this allow you to evaluate the product in the end, but it will also guide your strategy and collaboration with the outsourcing team. The goals should also complement your overall business strategy — they shouldn’t be confined to the specific project itself. 

Pitfall #3: Choosing a Poor Fit Web Development Team

Remember that you and your web development team are partners. You need to be compatible across many factors. The team should have experience building web products in your industry and should also have a history of meeting similar requirements, including special features you’re looking for. 

In order to gauge fit and find a top web development outsourcing partner, you’ll need to conduct thorough research: look at their portfolio, ask questions about their experience, and examine references and feedback. Discuss their approach and process, along with how they would work with you to meet your requirements and solve any problems they encounter along the way.

Pitfall #4: Ignoring Cultural and Language Barriers

When you’re working with a team in another country, there can be some difficulties stemming from communication and culture distinctions. Using a nearshore provider, such as a team in Latin America, can often mitigate some of these concerns. On one hand, your time zones are more aligned than when you work with offshore partners. On the other, nearshore teams in this region are commonly bilingual. 

But no matter where you outsource your project, make sure you’re able to communicate comfortably and that they understand what you’re looking for. Establish a system for communicating regularly and discuss how you’ll deal with any timezone issues. You should also explore their process and ask how they’ve dealt with any cultural barriers in the past, as well as share your own expectations.

Pitfall #5: Not Hammering Out the Terms of Your Contract

If you haven’t laid out service level agreements, the requirements for the project, and other factors in your contract, you could be looking at disappointment and a failure to meet expectations down the road. Make sure you have this and other important information explained in a contract signed by both parties.

For example, if you encounter hiccups that lengthen the timeline, as is a common occurrence, how will that extension affect the pricing of your project? That’s something that should be clearly stated in your contract to avoid surprises later on. 

Pitfall #6: Focusing on Price Over Quality

It’s tempting to automatically go with the cheapest option when you outsource web development, but doing so may result in shoddy work and a lower level of experience and expertise than you want. If the cost you’re quoted sounds ultra-low — significantly lower than other vendors in the region and market — you should have your guard up.

Moreover, some providers that quote you seemingly too-good-to-be-true estimates may not be factoring in hidden costs, such as fees for timeline extensions. 

At the end of the day, you should be outsourcing because it makes the most sense for your business needs, not just because it lets you save money. Most likely, you will cut costs, but sacrificing quality in favor of taking advantage of a great price comes at a much steeper cost.

Pitfall #7: Not Taking Security Into Account

You probably know how risky it is to ignore security measures when working with an outsourced partner. But it bears reminding that data breaches and other threats are very real and can destroy your business. 

Protect your information. Ask your provider about their security protocol and how they’ll protect your sensitive data. Share only what you need to, and be sure to lay out the terms in the contract regarding how they’ll use your information. While there is always a risk when working with a third party, you can reduce it by thoroughly vetting prospective partners.

Pitfall #8: Thinking of the Project as a One-Off

You may be outsourcing a single website or app right now, but who knows what you’ll need in the future? Rather than dismissing this project as a one-time occurrence, try to lay the foundation for a potentially longer-term partnership. If you build a solid working relationship now, the web development provider could become your go-to vendor, which will be beneficial for both of you — for one, you won’t have to search for the right fit again.

Taking strides to avoid these pitfalls will allow you, your team, and your outsourcing partner to work better together and complete your project more successfully. Ultimately, that’s the goal of any web development undertaking.

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