It is 2022 and you as a business owner/founder would probably agree that the past two years have transformed work systems for good.
In particular, those working in the tech sector or with tech teams as part of their work would find that this industry has undergone significant changes when it comes to hiring.
Not only have companies chosen to allow their teams of engineers to work remotely, but a lot have taken their hands off of hiring completely by forming software development partnerships.
While this is not a new concept exclusive to pandemic times only, it must be remembered that old-school outsourcing has gone out of fashion. It should not be conflated with newer ideas of partnerships, distributed teams, and hiring 2.0.
Understandably, there is still a good deal of uncertainty, confusion and skepticism around the idea of letting someone else do your coding for you, especially if they are working remotely.
However, software development partnerships, if executed well, can end up being incredibly beneficial for your business in the long run.
This article explores this concept and makes some suggestions on how businesses seeking teams of developers and engineers can go about starting a software development partnership.
Traditionally, outsourcing of software development projects was done by handing over the work to a company based in a country where labor costs were relatively lower.
While popular at first for the cost savings and ease of having someone else do the hiring and managing for you, these outsourcing partnerships often led to a poor quality of work being produced.
Because a lot of such firms in certain countries wanted to cash in on the outsourcing trend, they began focusing on the volume of work done by entry-level programmers and engineers rather than the quality.
This meant that over time, outsourcing, and other forms of offshoring began to become unpopular and a new approach to hiring developers needed to be introduced. This article discusses how a business can go about securing a good software development partnership in 2022.
A software development partner is a company that helps you work with a team of software developers and engineers on a long-term or short-term basis so that your software development projects and tasks are completed successfully.
It works exactly like an in-house tech team – the only difference is that, with a partnership, the recruiting, hiring, and managing process is no longer your hassle to deal with. The development team you work with is also remote.
Gaper is an example of a company that works in a software development partnership with other businesses.
A software development partner has the experience, tools, and resources dedicated exclusively to recruiting, hiring, vetting, and training developers and engineers as well as the necessary management know-how.
This ensures that remote teams and projects are managed and executed expertly and efficiently.
Typically, software development partners fall under the umbrella of outsourcing that is used by startups and small companies that do not want to expend the time and monetary resources needed to put together and house a tech team.
Your role as the client is to communicate and discuss your project and objectives with your partner. This is the single most critical aspect of this relationship and its success.
Once this is taken care of, the rest is smooth sailing if your software development partner is a reputable one.
Companies, big and small, often choose to develop software development partnerships for several reasons and needs that help them meet their business goals. You should go for a software development partnership if:
Companies sometimes lack a cost-effective budget plan, particularly when it comes to startups, which have a limited capital to invest to begin with. A significant quantity of money is required to begin the software development process.
Identifying business needs, software planning, design, software development, pre-marketing campaigns, post-launch marketing, cold outreach, social media campaigning, advertising, and so on are all part of the software development process.
To be effective in software development, they all require a lot of human work, time, and money. If you w2ant to avoid overruns and an unexpected increase in development costs, a software development partner would be ideal!
Another reason for companies to seek out a software development partner is inadequate project management, which results in repeated delivery delays.
The development team frequently completes development work on schedule, but they wait for the last step release, which has been delayed for a long time.
Software companies that employ the Agile technique, which ensures a speedier product launch, are perfect. Instead of long-term planning, this flexible technique allows for immediate user feedback.
When getting into a software development partnership, it is important to go about the process in a streamlined and well-coordinated manner.
There are businesses like Toptal that closely resemble the business model of freelance marketplaces. If this is your preferred method of hiring, you must also be ready to test the developers that you are going to hire.
This is because it is a bit tricky to determine the quality and skill sets of freelance individuals online. It may also be very time-consuming to build a team out of them. If this is not your cup of tea, alternatives to Toptal and similar platforms can come in handy.
This essentially means looking for good software development companies that help you hire teams of engineers either on a project basis or for as long a term as you require.
This approach is often considered to be more reliable and one that offers a better return to your spending.
When in initial meetings with a potential partner, ask them how they vet, test and invest in the technical and soft skills of their teams. See if they are open to letting you do your own evaluations trial runs with the developers.
Here are 10 important things you should consider:
You need to be clear about the requirements and plan that you intend to fulfill with the help of the software development team.
While a good chunk of planning will also take place in collaboration with your partner along with any business development discussion if needed, you still need to be prepared.
Try and outline everything in numbers as much as possible: timelines, goals, cost, team dynamics, etc.
In addition to the overall requirements, have a comprehensive idea of what you would like your end product to be. Keep in mind the human resources you will be using and the time you are giving them.
It is also ideal if you make a rough draft of the end product (in whatever manner that is appropriate) that your team can then use as a visual reference.
If you have any specific development languages or technologies that you intend for the end product to be developed using, communicate that. If there are any suggestions by senior engineers about feasibility, be open to incorporating them in your idea and plan.
This also includes the time that the project will take to finish. In this case, let the tech team and senior engineers take the lead as one needs some experience in development to gauge how long a certain project will take.
Don’t hesitate to break your project down into time-based deliverables. It helps both you and the development team to assess the project at every stage rather than doing so at the very end.
Remember that this kind of work can be prone to certain setbacks and delays so be flexible about your timelines.
This is something that you need to figure out for the upcoming year i.e. how much do you intend to spend on your software development partnership by the end of the year. This in turn depends on the amount and frequency of work you will need getting done, the expected return you expect from the finished project, and your other miscellaneous needs from your partner.
This is often the point where businesses end up with partners that deliver sub-standard work. It may be appealing to save a few bucks at this stage, but poor outsourcing services always end up costing you more in the long run. Don’t make the quality-cost tradeoff.
It is imprudent to think that tech teams don’t have anything to do with other factions of a business. While software development partners like Gaper take care of most of the variables associated with managing and guiding a tech team for businesses, some interaction with other company departments can still happen at some time.
For such cases, first, determine how your internal teams will be affected by the onboarding of an external, remote tech team. Assess the work dynamics of your own internal developers if you have any. See if any other department in your company will have to be in regular contact with the tech team. If this is the case, make sure you have the appropriate tools and systems that help this integration and communication.
Determine which programming languages and technologies will be used in your software development project. Make a list of them, and consider writing a brief description of how they would be used in your proposed project.
As a result, you’ll be able to express your requirements more effectively with possible software development partners and identify the ideal professionals for your project.
Gaper’s services also include staff augmentation. In such a setup, you get to hire a development team for a contracted period of time and also undertake the tasks of managing this team. This may also involve the new team working alongside your existing teams in your company.
Managers and founders often prefer this approach if they have the time because it affords them a great deal of flexibility and control over the teams working on their projects.
Of course, the task of closely managing teams can be left to your software development partner too if they are well-reputed and credible.
One qualm that managers and business owners have with software development partners is the issues that they fear will arise due to geographic factors. Some software companies have a fixed time period during a day when everyone is supposed to be working on tasks that involve dependencies and need active interactions.
You can also assess related soft skills like teamwork, time management, language skills, and other factors necessary for successful product development.
In case, you specifically prefer the team to be located in one country, some partners may be able to arrange that as well. Of course, in this case, you can go for onshoring, nearshoring or offshoring.
The former entails hiring remote developers from your own country. Depending on where you are based this may or may not be a pricey decision.
Nearshoring involves outsourcing from nearby countries. This may help you get more affordable teams relative to your home country without having to keep up with time zone and sometimes cultural and language differences.
Offshoring is outsourcing from countries far away from your own. A popular example is American businesses working with software houses in India. If you are able to partner up with a credible company, you won’t have to worry about work quality, soft skills, and time management.
If however, your partner is more focused on securing a high volume of work for a remarkably low cost, it may mean red flags for the standard of work.
Once you’ve got a good idea of what you’re looking for, it’s time to start looking for a software development partner.
The world is at your fingertips with online markets. Individuals may use their platforms to market their services and improve the communication and payment process.
Finding a developer is simple thanks to websites like Fiverr, UpWork, and Toptal. Keep in mind that the quality of the outcomes might vary, and adaptability isn’t always one of these platforms’ strong points.
A software development team might provide your project additional flexibility.
Hiring through a company is a great approach to ensure you’re obtaining high-quality personnel while also giving you the flexibility to have as much or as little control as you want over your software development partner.
Many businesses are expensive, but Trio is an example of a smaller development firm that is shaking things up by providing a quality development experience at a fair price.
After you have evaluated and onboarded your partner, all that’s left now is to draft the contracts to be signed once you’ve examined your software development partners and picked the best fit.
These are thrilling times to be alive. After you’ve signed the contract, stay in touch with your outsourcing partner and utilize your timetable to determine when the project will begin.
Three things determine the success of a successful business partnership:
In the case of a successful software development partnership, good communication is essential not just between the business development parties, but of course, also amongst the in-house and external development teams.
Any engineer or developer will bear witness to the fact that no good code came out of a team that did not have a healthy flow of communication. It pays to be open-minded when working with people that have different personalities and communication styles.
This also applies to the business managers on both ends. Being open about your requirements and capabilities, even if it might be awkward or difficult at times, will pave the way for a smooth work road ahead.
Your communication may involve video meetings or an occasional in-person meeting over lunch or tea.
As managers and leaders, you are also responsible for helping initiate communication between your teams and introducing them. Implement appropriate communication tools and systems in place for remote teams.
In the world of software development and engineering, it is common for hiccups and uncertainties to affect a team’s progress. If your development partner is suggesting changes to timelines and project features, be open to hear them out and find a middle ground.
A good partnership only blossoms into a fruitful one if there is trust between the parties. For this, communicate as much as possible in the early stages of your relationship.
To build realistic expectations, have the team members be open about their work styles so as not to be disappointed later about a seemingly late delivery or work ethic. Basically, treat your partner and the external team as a part of your own company.
This applies within developer teams too. Everyone has different work and coding styles and preferences. It is just important to be aware and accepting of them. If something needs to be changed, feedback given in a healthy manner is essential.
It may be a good activity to involve your partner in relevant and related business decisions. At the most informal level, perhaps you could simply ask for their advice. To cement a more formal relationship, perhaps have a senior member from the other party be a part of an important meeting.
Never hide important information about work or team dynamics that is crucial to your software development partnership and the progress of a project.
As a rule, make sure everything related to a project and business relationship is always communicated to the concerned parties no matter how trivial or insignificant they may seem at the time. This saves everyone from shocks and unexpected outcomes later on and prevents anyone from playing blame games.
This applies equally for business developers and software developers. Particularly in case of the former when prices and timelines need to be discussed, make sure you are clear in your explanation of why you are charging something for a service or why you are not able to pay more for something else.
Similarly, developers need to be particularly clear about what they can or cannot do when coding. Anything else that might affect their workflow or quality of work should also be communicated.
If anyone asks a difficult question, or if a sensitive matter of any sort needs to be discussed, pluck up the courage and communicate truthfully. Nothing ruins a business relationship or professional workflow more than hidden truths.
To wrap the above pointers, it is important for both parties to be clear about their long-term objectives. This usually clears up a lot of misunderstandings and uncertainties that the aforementioned factors generate. Be innovative and creative about your ideas, but also realistic and well-informed. It may transpire that both have some overlapping aims and visions which mutual business support may help foster and achieve.
A few questions that business owners and managers might have are answered below. If you still have queries about such a business partnership and are interested in getting into one, feel free to set up a call with us.
What is a software development partnership?
A software development partnership entails getting into a business partnership with another company that helps you hire individuals or teams of software developers and engineers. You may choose to vet and manage them if you like but the partner company can also do it for you.
What are the advantages of a software development partnership?
You save the hassle of hiring especially if you do not have a senior software engineer onboard. You save infrastructure and management costs. You can obtain talent that is otherwise rare or not easily available in your local market. You are also saved the task of building up a team from scratch. A good partner can end up aiding you in achieving your own business goals and objectives as well.
What are the disadvantages of a software development partnership?
Some managers do not like giving up the overseeing role as it reduces control, though some companies allow you to manage teams closely. You get to face some setbacks if factors like time zones, language barriers, and poor work ethic are not addressed in the early stages. It may cost you more in the long-term if the software development partner you choose is not transparent or reliable.
Where should I start if I want to hire remote developers and engineers?
You can choose to start off by setting up a meeting with Gaper and see how the work dynamics suit you. You can also look up other companies that offer team augmentation services. It is recommended that freelancers are hired as a last resort since it is not only tricky to assess their skills, but it is also hard to create a team that will work and collaborate on a long-term basis with you.
How much does a software development partnership cost?
The cost of such a business collaboration depends entirely on the scope of your work and the kind of services you are looking for. It is of utmost importance to discuss this aspect thoroughly and evaluate the resources associated with these costs before you enter such a partnership.
Are software development partnerships reliable?
If chosen and assessed smartly, yes. Partnerships where you find that there are red flags regarding transparency, engineer skill sets, and other aspects relevant to the work will end up being hard to sustain. Reliable companies will not hide information, nor will they refuse to answer any of your qualms about their work.
In conclusion, a good software development partnership takes work but if nurtured and dealt with in a professional manner, can end up being an incredible success for both parties. Skepticism surrounding such partnerships remains. Many owners and managers do not like relinquishing their control over hiring and management.
While this is completely understandable and common, not all businesses can afford to follow this approach. For such entities, there are ready-made solutions for hiring top talent and competent engineers and developers that empower them to do business in otherwise tough markets. Because remote work and WFH engineering and development is normalized now, it is up to you to integrate this flexibility through good business partnerships.