Outsourcing web development projects have always been a taboo topic.
I’ve heard tons of entrepreneurs and project managers ask questions like “Is outsourcing web development a good idea?” or “Should I outsource web development projects?” and of course, “What’s the best way of outsourcing?”. There are a lot of doubts, a lot of questions, a lot of what if’s. As a company that outsourced before we would like to share with you 7 tips for successful outsourcing.
First of all, you can outsource web development projects in two different ways. You can either hire a freelancer or contract a web development company. There are three major differences between the two.
Cost, trust, and quality.
Usually, outsourcing to web development companies or an agency can be a bit more pricey but what you get in exchange is reliability and sometimes quality.
Don’t get me wrong, freelancers are great, but it really just comes down to what you are looking for. If you are looking for someone to do your work quickly and cheaply, a freelancer may be the right choice for you. You can find one on Freelancer, Upwork, and other similar platforms. However, if you are more interested in working with reliable teams of professionals, outsourcing to web development companies might be the right choice for you.
1. Know what you want. Find the right company.
Outsourcing to either web development companies or freelancers can be a huge pain if you don’t have a basic idea of what you want to achieve.
There are different kinds of web development tasks and each one needs to be approached strategically. Some companies specialize in mobile development and they do a tremendous job developing mobile software components. Others are really good with Wordpress and web design. Now, the most important thing you want to do is to take a close look at what they’ve created in the past and who they’ve worked with. You can then decide if their previous projects have a similar or compatible design style of what you had in mind.
Take a minute to consider whether you want to work with a local company too. Some people prefer having the option for a face-to-face meeting, and working with someone who understands the local market. While others might prefer to work remotely with an offshore development company to save money. There’s no right answer here.
In the prospecting phase of finding a web development company, it’s just a matter of talking to a few companies and seeing which one is best suited for you.
2. Communication is key.
The tricky aspect of outsourcing is communication to an external dedicated development team . Different time zones, work schedules, and availability are just three hard-to-control elements when outsourcing web development projects.
The good news is that with a little effort and with the right tools on your side, communication can be improved tremendously.
A few tools that we’ve used in the past, that improved the overall workflow and communication, are GitHub, InVision, Moqups, Slack and of course, Toggl Plan.
You can track your project’s progress using Toggl Plan, communicate via Slack and share design work and code using GitHub, InVision, and Moqups. Using these tools, you can set expectations right away, be clear, and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Communication is the key to successfully outsourcing web development tasks and projects, and ultimately, for taking your business to the next level.
3. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind
For any outsourcing company or freelancer, the customer’s input is one of the most valuable resources.
The feedback enables the company to know when a customer is unsatisfied and when there is something that needs more attention. Complaints serve as an early warning system that helps prevent service failures by allowing them to fix small problems before they become big ones.
In order for your outsourced project to go well, you shouldn’t be afraid to speak your mind.
4. Ask questions.
Envision the project from start to finish and try to imagine any difficulties which may arise. Make sure you are covering all the bases and getting straightforward answers. You don’t want any surprises once you’ve committed. The easiest way to do this is by having a list of questions. Don’t settle with just a proposal, ask questions and try to know the company you are working with and what’s their value proposition.
In order to avoid the empty promises and get the answers that will bring forward the people behind the company, you can squeeze in some tricky questions.
5. Have a project manager.
An outsourced project should always have a project manager that oversees all the moving parts and makes sure that everyone is kept in the loop.
It’s crucial for the project manager to be involved all the outsourced work and over communicate with the outsourcing company. Some teams spend too much time and energy dealing with problems because they do not know how to resolve the problems.
Having a proactive issues management process helps ensure that problems are resolved as quickly as possible.
6. Start with small tasks
Some tasks are more suitable for outsourcing than others. A rooky mistake that most people do when they are outsourcing their web development projects is to start big.
Start with a project that’s relatively small and simple in scope, to give you a better idea of the company’s capabilities. Move slowly and commit gradually. Also, you can tie payment to clearly define project milestones.
7. Have a contract
An aspect that helps to justify the cost of outsourcing firms is that they will support you and have a record of your work, even if the developer on your project leaves. If your freelancer quits, you will have to start from scratch and have no support during the transition.
A tremendous benefit that I see with outsourcing web development projects to a firm, is that you can require them to have insurance for the code. This way, if something crashes, you will be covered financially. Without a formal contract, the risk of disagreements and messy battles goes up exponentially.
Outsourcing web development project and programming, shouldn’t be too difficult if you are making sure you follow a few important rules. The secret lays in communication and good management, if you are doing those two right, your outsourced project should go well.
Andrei is a Growth Hacker on Teamweek's marketing team. He is the person behind most of Teamweek's SEO-driven projects, including the budget calculator and the worst productivity tips generator. He enjoys writing about project management, graphic design, and anything tech.