How to Avoid Software Offshoring Disasters

5 Signs That You’ve Fallen into the Trap of an Offshore Software Developer

Hey there! We think we already know what brought you here: you’re worried about your offshore venture. And while worrying is normal, you should not let it burden you. You either let it go or act on it. But how do you know when you should take your worries seriously? We’ll share with you some signs that your offshore software developer might be on to something completely bad for you.

Offshore software development has gone a long climb in the market over the years. Its overwhelming benefit to reduce production cost while maintaining competitive strength in the market, as well as addressing the shortage of competent programmers in the U.S., made it popular among startups and small-medium businesses. However, some offshore software developers are taking advantage of the rising popularity of offshore outsourcing. A lot of offshore development disasters are circulating on the internet.  That is why we compiled five signs you should watch out for before falling into the trap that an offshore software development company sets out for you. Read them, beware of them, and learn how to get away from bad offshore development companies.

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Beware: 5 Signs of a Bad Offshore Software Development Company

Due to its popularity, the offshore software industry is becoming highly competitive. Offshore software developers go out of their way to present themselves in an assertive matter even to the point of misleading the clients. To get past their schemes, you should be vigilant in looking out for these five signs to prevent the leeches from draining your business dry.

1. Failure to provide well-documented project requirement specifications

You want to create software that will be most beneficial for your business. You have thought of the software’s objective, how it should work, as well as how it should look. The problem lies in the development of the software. So you hire a software development team to build your dream software. How will you convey your ideal software to your team of developers? You discuss the project and create the software requirements specification (SRS).

The SRS contains comprehensive documentation of every operation throughout the development process and entails how the software behaves. The SRS is written thoroughly to indicate the function of each and every feature of the system.

This document is every developer’s guide during the development process. If your development team fails to provide a detailed SRS, then there is something wrong. The project outcome may not be what you envisioned of your product. In the end, you’ll be forced to request multiple revisions which will make the process longer, slower, and more expensive.

Solution:

Upon choosing your offshore development team, make sure that they can provide a well-documented project requirement specification. Don’t start the production without this document since this is the framework of the project. If not, you will surely regret it once you receive a finished product that looks far from what you’ve envisioned.

2. Underestimation of cost and production time

Your offshore software developer presents you with a well-written SRS which you’ve both agreed on. Next, commence the project. But everything changes after the first month. Your team of developers reports of errors regarding the development estimation. They conclude that it requires more time which would also mean the cost estimation hikes up. A month after, they change the cost and production time estimate, again. Shady? Yes.

Solution:

A part or a section of the SRS contains another important requirement you should never overlook, the technical specifications. This section contains the cost and time estimate of the project which is created and agreed upon by both the client and the development team. If the cost and time estimation keeps on changing, it means your offshore developers are not following the SRS.

Once developers propose a cheap estimated time and cost, don’t be too hasty to accept. Ask for a second opinion. Try inquiring with other software development companies and compare their prices. Sometimes, development companies intentionally exclude a few costs to make it appear they price lower than other development companies. This tactic often lures clients to their business. If your service provider constantly underestimates the cost and delays are fairly common during the process, you might consider switching to a different provider.

Bad Offshore Software Companies

3. Poorly written documentation, or worse, none at all

Good and reliable documentation is a must for all programmers because the document contains information that will help improve the quality of a product. But it seems that some software development companies fail to provide reliable written documentation, and some never produce at all. Why is this a sign of a bad offshore development company?

Detailed software documentation includes information on server environments, database, troubleshooting, application installation, and code deployment. Succinctly, the documentation assures the software can be maintained and improved in the event that the owner switches developers. Yet, some development companies intentionally overlook the creation of software documentation solely for personal reasons. If the documentation is poorly written, or if it was never provided, the client is forced to stay with the development company since their developers are the only ones who know how the software works.

Solution:

Make sure that your developers practice documentation. If you are not adept in the technical development side, have someone who is also a development expert, a trusted developer perhaps, to check the software documentation for disparities.

4. Incompetent project manager

The project manager (PM) is as important as the developers since he/she steers the wheel towards the success (or failure) of the project. Luckily, there are some software development companies who offer dedicated project managers free of any charge. Unfortunately, this is something you should be very cautious about. Qualified specialists are compensated for their hard work. Chances are, your project manager may not be as skilled as they let you think.

Ideally, PMs are impeccable with management skills. If your team’s project manager constantly procrastinates, is missing in action, and an over-the-top optimist, you better be cautious. Missed deadlines are always bad news for developers. Yes, there may be times when unforeseen circumstances occur leading to missing some deliverables schedules. But a frequently missed schedule? No, that’s no longer a simple “unforeseen circumstance.” Another sign of an incompetent PM is someone who is continuously missing in action but is always optimistic without showing any output.

Solution:

Never jump for a “free of charge” deal. In your blinded hurry to save cost, you may leave out the quality of your product. What you need to do is to personally communicate with the project managers and evaluate his/her leadership skill for yourself.

5. Poor infrastructure

Infrastructure can be considered a backbone to any business. It is crucial for the operation which could greatly affect sales and revenue. If your offshore software development company has a poor IT infrastructure, how can they deliver quality service?

An indication of poor infrastructure is the lack of basic components to deliver technology solutions such as the hardware and network. The hardware mostly consists of the physical assets of the company such as computers, routers, and data centers while the network includes internet connectivity, firewalls, and security.

Solution:

Evaluate the IT infrastructure of the offshore service provider before you settle into an agreement. One of the things to look out for is the location. Business locations that are close to key metro hubs are more reliable since most businesses in these areas consist of advanced infrastructures. Next, is their hardware. Make sure that your offshore software developers have the latest technology in the industry. This assures the quality service that your development team can provide. If their equipment is outdated, this might cause delays and lapses in the development process.

Startup Hustle, A Podcast by Matt Watson and Matt DeCoursey

Listen to Episode 47 of the Startup Hustle Podcast – Offshoring, 10 Tips

Conclusion

In business, it really pays to know but it pays more to learn how to counter risks and take action to fix problems. Business will always be a compilation of risks and success but all you need to do is conduct your research and learn ways and techniques in preventing the risks. If you find your business in these situations, don’t hesitate to discontinue your contract and search for a new service provider. You can always find a better software development provider that will give you better output.

Now that you know the signs of a bad development company, you can tell which offshore development company you should choose to work on your project. If you’re planning to offshore your development operation, choose a reliable offshore software development company in the Philippines, like Full Scale. Full Scale can help you build your development team fast to scale your business in the industry. We aim to help start-up businesses scale up with our teams of competent developers. All you need to do is to fill out our form, or contact us through our contact number and email address.

Contact us now to start building your team!