8 Questions to Ask When Outsourcing Software Development
You might be surprised by the number – and caliber – of businesses that outsource software development. Google, Alibaba, Slack, and Github are all high-profile examples of companies that have used an outsourcing software development agency, dispelling myths that only small businesses outsource.
The decision to outsource software development is driven by a number of factors, including cost efficiency, access to specialized talent, accelerated time-to-market, and scalability. However, while outsourcing can offer numerous benefits, it also presents its own set of challenges and considerations.
Our eBook: A Non-Tech Founder’s Guide to Choosing the Right Software Development Partner addresses these challenges and offers tips for overcoming them.
In this blog, we’ll focus on a crucial first step when hiring an outsourcing software development company: asking the right questions. This process is incredibly important as it helps you thoroughly evaluate potential outsourcing partners. But it’s also tricky.
To help, we’ll delve into 8 essential questions that will help you assess the capabilities, compatibility, and credibility of the outsourcing software development companies you’re considering. By asking these questions, you can mitigate risks, foster effective communication, and lay the groundwork for a successful outsourcing relationship.
Let’s dive in and explore the key inquiries you should make when outsourcing software development.
Questions to Ask a Software Development Company
1. What is your experience in my industry?
Understanding the outsourcing company's experience in your industry provides valuable insights into their familiarity with industry-specific requirements, regulations, and best practices. It also indicates their ability to grasp the unique challenges your industry may face and tailor solutions accordingly.
By choosing an outsourcing partner with relevant industry experience, you can benefit from their domain knowledge, insights, and proven strategies, ultimately leading to more effective and successful project outcomes.
Example: If you're in the healthcare industry, you'd want to know if the outsourcing company has previously worked on projects involving electronic health records (EHR) systems, telemedicine platforms, or medical device software.
Ask about their understanding of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance requirements and their experience integrating with healthcare systems like Epic or Cerner.
Side note: JetRockets recently partnered with PanoMed to scale its telehealth platform in line with ever-changing market needs. We continue to work with the company as a fractional CTO as they seek to raise more capital and expand their market presence.
2. Can you provide examples of similar projects you've completed?
Reviewing past projects that align with yours allows you to assess the outsourcing company's expertise, capabilities, and quality of work.
By examining specific examples, you can evaluate their ability to tackle challenges similar to yours, adhere to project requirements, and deliver successful outcomes. This insight is invaluable in determining whether the outsourcing company is a suitable partner for your project and whether their past experiences align with your expectations and objectives.
3. What is your approach to project management and communication?
Clear and effective project management and communication are essential for successful collaboration between your team and the outsourcing company. By understanding the outsourcing company's approach to these aspects, you can ensure that everyone remains aligned, informed, and accountable throughout the project lifecycle.
Key aspects to explore include:
- Project management methodology
- Communication channels
- Frequency and format of updates
- Issue resolution process
- Stakeholder involvement
4. How do you ensure the security of sensitive data and intellectual property?
Protecting your sensitive data and intellectual property is paramount when outsourcing software development. By understanding the outsourcing company's security measures, protocols, and compliance standards, you can mitigate the risk of data breaches, unauthorized access, or intellectual property theft.
- Data encryption and access control to protect sensitive data at rest and in transit
- Their physical and network security measures to prevent unauthorized access to facilities, servers, and networks.
- Their compliance with regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, or SOC 2 (depending on your industry).
- Secure development practices, including code review processes, vulnerability assessments, and penetration testing.
5. What is your process for handling change requests or unforeseen challenges during the project?
Flexibility and adaptability are essential traits for successful collaboration in software development, as projects often encounter changes and unforeseen challenges along the way.
By understanding the outsourcing company's approach to managing change requests and addressing unexpected obstacles, you can ensure that your project remains on track, within budget, and aligned with your evolving requirements.
6. What is your approach to scalability and future support?
This is one of the most important questions you can ask a software development partner.
As your business grows, your software applications will likely need to scale to accommodate increased users, data volume, and functionality. Moreover, ongoing support and maintenance is essential for ensuring the continued performance, security, and reliability of your software.
Inquire about the outsourcing company's approach to designing and architecting scalable software solutions that can accommodate future growth and increased demand. You should also ask about the ongoing support and maintenance services they provide post-launch.
Example: JetRockets’ continues to partner with eBay to maintain the efficiency of its order management and logistics optimization platform, eBayMag. Hired by eBay in 2022 to scale the platform, which wasn’t meeting its users’ needs, JetRockets and eBay continue to collaborate to ensure its efficiency and update its correlating technology as necessary.
7. Can you provide references or client testimonials?
Request client testimonials or reviews from the outsourcing company's past clients, preferably those who have worked on projects similar to yours. Pay attention to the clients' feedback regarding the outsourcing company's professionalism, expertise, communication, and overall satisfaction with the services provided.
You should also review case studies or success stories showcasing the outsourcing company's past projects, challenges overcome, and outcomes achieved. Look for examples that align with your project goals and requirements to gain insights into their capabilities and track record.
If you’re considering JetRockets for your next software development project, we’d love for you to review our clients’ testimonials and project portfolios to hear about their experiences and see the quality of our work firsthand.
8. What is your pricing structure and payment terms?
Discuss pricing details upfront so you can ensure alignment with your budget constraints and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the outsourcing partnership. Clear communication regarding payment terms helps establish mutual expectations and facilitates a transparent and mutually beneficial working relationship.
Remember: Cost-effectiveness doesn’t always equate to cheapness. You shouldn’t choose a software development partner just because they’re the most affordable. Prioritize value over price.
Also, it’s important to have a flexible budget that accommodates necessary adjustments. Software development is an iterative process, and unforeseen changes often arise. Running out of money is a huge reason why many software development projects fail.
Learn More About JetRockets’ Software Development Services
JetRockets is a trusted software development partner with extensive experience turning visionary ideas into digital realities. We take enormous pride in our commitment to excellence, transparency, and customer satisfaction – whether you’re a non-tech founder looking to build an MVP or an established tech team looking to elevate an existing product.
If you’re considering outsourcing your software development needs, we’d love to hear from you. Let’s connect to discuss your needs, concerns, and questions!
We also recently surveyed IT leaders about the future of outsourcing. Read our report to learn more about their plans to leverage software development partners this year.