Don’t be scared about outsourcing. Be scared about the lack of track record, though!

A Guest Post from Rory O’Brien – Vice President (Business Development) at Koval Technologies.

Outsourcing has gotten a bad rap thanks to the work (or lack thereof) of some, but there are still many great and reputable companies out there willing to do excellent work at cost effective price points for the customer. It is unfortunate that you’ll hear more horror stories about outsourcing a company’s development needs than you would success stories. Many of these hiccups could have been avoided with proper due diligence from the customer; the first and most obvious being a verification of their track record.

Just viewing the development agency’s portfolio of work is one thing, but actually drilling down into it and running diagnostics should be completed. [tweetherder]You don’t need to be a full blown developer to realize that the architecture, content, and code of a particular website in the portfolio is not up to par. Xenu, Google PageSpeed Insights, W3 Validator, and a ton of other SEO tools are out there at your disposal.[/tweetherder]

The simplicity that these tools provide will give you plenty of ammo during your next meeting with the development agency. Another words, they will have quite a bit of explaining to do. [tweetherder]For a grand total of 30 minutes of research, you can save a few grand in the bank.[/tweetherder]

Let’s say that the development agency passes all the diagnostic tests, the user interface and visual tests; who is to say that those same developers are even there anymore? Turnover happens much like every other company on the planet, and refilling that talent can be somewhat cumbersome for companies.

Development agencies are equipped with a double edged sword in that the number of developers is continually growing in the industry, but that is not to say that the quality is growing at the same pace.

[tweetherder]Conduct proper due diligence of how the development agency operates[/tweetherder].

-How many developers do you have on hand at any given time?

-How many project managers are there and how many projects do they manage at any given time?

-What project management system do you utilize? (Make them explain their process as this will segue nicely into how often they are going to communicate and update you on the duration of your project.)

With anything, communication is important, but with outsourcing development, communication is paramount. If there is any disconnect with the development agency discussing their current processes, or even worse, the work in their portfolio, you have room to worry. Where you will get the best glimpse of communication, and in a sense a dry run of how the development agency works, is when working out the details of the quote.

Getting a quote for your project can be an arduous process for someone who has never outsourced anything before. One thing the development agency should be proving is that it’s not difficult, it’s just an information gathering process. As a customer, you should be happy that the development company is coming at you with questions, comments, and feedback. This is proving that they want to extract the exact image you have in your head and make it a reality on screen

Patience and understanding will go a long way during the quote process. As a customer you may think that the questions asked and the information you are giving up seems excessive, but a quality development agency wants to make sure that all the T’s are crossed and the I’s dotted. What may seem like something simple in concept is not simple in developing into a reality. It’s imperative there are no surprises that come up in the middle of the project that were interpreted incorrectly in the beginning.

A lot of hours and dollars are wasted due to lacking that important criteria needed for both parties: communication. The bottleneck of all projects stems down to lack of communication, so both parties need to be clear, concise, and on the same page before anything is agreed upon.

[tweetherder]Outsourcing is only as dangerous as anything else[/tweetherder], if you don’t know what to look out for you’re going to get in trouble. [tweetherder]Conduct proper due diligence on the portfolio of work,[/tweetherder] have continuous conversations with the development agency, and be hands on during the quote process. There are more positive outsourcing stories than the negative ones; it’s too bad that the negativity drowns out all the happy stories. It’s a simple fix between both parties though:

Conduct proper due diligence on the agency; instill trust and provide quality work for the customer.

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