Which Part of the Software Development Life Cycle Can You Outsource?
The processes outlined in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) help reduce operational costs while shortening production time and ensuring the best possible quality. Of course, the organization’s or customer’s demands and objectives will also be met along the way. The SDLC makes this possible by breaking down software development into various phases. Each phase involves specific operations. Activities such as budgeting, information gathering, documentation, strategizing, and deployment, among others, fall under different stages in the cycle.
As a software development manager, you should know that starting and implementing a project can be tedious and costly. So how do you successfully deploy a high-end software application in time with low cost? While doing it in-house may be your first option, you may also want to look at outsourcing. Doing the latter can help save costs, speed up the project, and even improve efficiency.
Why Do Companies Outsource Software Development?
The industry is outsourcing software development now more than ever. The global IT outsourcing market is currently estimated at $66 billion, and that number is expected to grow in the coming years. It’s a testament to how the effectiveness of software development outsourcing is driving mass adoption.
Outsourcing involves delegating specific tasks to external vendors. You do this instead of using your in-house staff and resources. As we’ve mentioned, outsourcing software development comes with many benefits. Companies leverage it to save time, reduce cost, and develop a more efficient program while meeting – or exceeding – their client’s demands and expectations.
It makes a lot of sense for start-ups to outsource tasks. This is because they won’t have to set up an office space, put together a professional team, and build any infrastructure. A survey found that 78% of companies felt positive about outsourcing. With the growth and introduction of tech materials that facilitate remote work, these companies can easily look beyond their in-house resources to get things done.
That said, even the big companies still leverage the advantages of outsourcing projects.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Outsourcing Software Development?
You must know the right time to outsource. The decision depends on the type of project you’re trying to execute and what you’re trying to achieve.
It would be best if you weighed the pros and cons of outsourcing software development against your company’s goals and objectives. Doing so will help you determine whether to sign off specific tasks to external teams or not.
Here are some reasons why you should outsource:
- You get to reduce business and project costs.
- Outsourcing peripheral tasks allows the in-house team to dedicate its time and resources to the core business operations.
- You can leverage the global outsourcing market to get the best professionals for specific tasks.
- Since team members can focus on the core business, you can easily scale your operations and take in more projects.
- You won’t have to micromanage the task you outsource as long as you choose a professional team.
- Your company can stay competitive as offshoring jobs will help you stay afloat.
Now, here are some cons of software development outsourcing:
- Finding the right talent for a job is one of the perks of outsourcing, but it can be difficult. If you’re handing out a specific kind of task for the first time, locating the right professional and entrusting them with the job will be challenging.
- While some tools can help you monitor a project’s progress, you won’t have the time to micromanage third-party contractors, and you risk falling victim to unforeseen delays.
- Communication breakdown is another downside of outsourcing projects. If you’re dealing with a team on the other side of the world, it’s easy to miscommunicate critical details about the task, which could derail the entire project.
Which Part of the Software Development Life Cycle Should you Outsource?
Knowing the critical stages of the SDLC and the pros and cons of outsourcing, you can determine the right project phase to outsource.
Technically, you can outsource any phase of the software development life cycle. However, it’s best to analyze the cost of doing so. You don’t want to prioritize reducing expenses over customer satisfaction and system quality.
So, it would be best to take on the aspects of the project that your team should be in charge of while leaving the rest to competent vendors.
Let’s go over the specifics:
Since this is the project’s foundation which involves communicating with stakeholders and clients, managing it in-house is the best option.
You can also manage this phase in-house since it involves assessing the business requirements and checking for flaws in the core plan. However, hiring consultants and specialists for their expertise in specific areas will be a good move.
It’s becoming common practice to outsource the design phase of the software development life cycle. You can easily hand off this phase to experts in the field to ensure high-quality results for the product. In addition, they can use data from the planning and analysis phase to develop a robust and efficient system model.
Outsourcing the development phase makes sense from a cost-reduction and quality improvement perspective. However, this stage of the project needs serious collaboration between the in-house and outsourced teams. This is because it is the most complex aspect of the cycle and involves many moving parts.
The testing phase begins after development is complete. It ensures the product meets the requirements created during the first three stages. Ideally, your in-house team can carry out the required tests. However, if the software product contains aspects that will require expert input, you can outsource the testing phase while maintaining a high level of collaboration with the vendor.
Your in-house team should carry out this phase. You can also collaborate with the experts involved in other crucial stages that led to this point. Since you’re hiring contractors, make sure you have the right tools for effective collaboration. For instance, you’ll need a project management tool and an app for holding virtual meetings. Meanwhile, for recording billable hours, you can check https://www.auslogics.com/en/articles/top-18-employee-time-tracking-software-2021/ for good recommendations.
Almost every company outsources the maintenance phase. A highly reliable team can handle customer support and software maintenance. This will keep the costs down, enabling you to focus on your core business operations while keeping your product as cheap as it can be.
Remember that outsourcing your project must advance its core objectives, not just reduce cost and shorten production time. While there are challenges involved in hiring the right freelancer, with the right tools, you can successfully manage a remote team.
A dedicated Career Coach, Agile Trainer and certified Senior Portfolio and Project Management Professional and writer holding a bachelor’s degree in Structural Engineering and over 20 years of professional experience in Professional Development / Career Coaching, Portfolio/Program/Project Management, Construction Management, and Business Development. She is the Content Manager of ProjectCubicle.