Last year was one of the worst in the history of data security breaches. In India alone, 1.5 billion personal records were stolen from the government ID database because of the insecure API used by the state-owned utility company Indane. Compared to these numbers, Facebook leaks with its 87 million users affected seems inconsequential. However, data breaches are not the only technological risk you run into when outsourcing software development.
Customers complained of typographical errors and broken links on the e-commerce site, while the social media campaign failed to produce the desired results. The poor execution damaged the client's reputation and had a negative impact on profits.
When you hire software developers offshore, you expect them to deliver the same quality as your in-house team, but at a fraction of the price. However, if you do not possess the technical expertise to take on the role of the CTO, you have to rely on external staff. Broken links, unresponsive forms, and constant failures will drive away even the most loyal of your customers, resulting in catastrophic losses and ultimate bankruptcy. The common causes of this problem include:
Insufficient technical skills. To lure unsuspecting customers, IT vendors keep the prices at their lowest and hire junior-level developers to save on salaries. As a result, the code quality is subpar. Crashes and errors become the norm.
Absent quality assurance. Manual and automated testing ensures the integrity of the code and the software project. If QA specialists lack knowledge or skills necessary to weed out the errors, the users will probably be disappointed with the quality of your project.
How to prevent the error plague?
Test individual developers' skills. Wrong people are the leading cause of outsourcing failures, so do not limit your communication to the IT vendor management. Review the software engineers resumes and portfolios, talk to them and provide small test tasks to assess their technical expertise.
Establish QA protocols. If you do not trust the web development services provider, you can hire an internal quality assurance specialist, outsource the testing to another company or freelancers. This way, the IT vendor will not be able to deceive you and deliver low-quality code without your knowledge. You can also request a full break-down of the QA process from the IT outsourcing team to assess their quality standards and protocols.
They delivered poor quality code, according to an engineer from another reliable vendor. They utilized inline CSS, which no professional developer uses. We requested a responsive app, but the engineer that assessed the code demonstrated that it was not. They set us back three months and took one-third of the total payment for a worthless deliverable.
While crashes and errors impair user experience and cause losses, wrong decisions at the architecture planning and decision-making stage can ruin the project's long-term survival. Security, compatibility, and integration issues undermine the possibilities of future growth and scaling. They become a significant budget drain and can sink a successful startup once it starts growing.
Custom software development projects hinge on the decisions of the team lead. He or she should possess the expertise necessary to make critical decisions, but offshore outsourcing IT vendors cannot afford to keep more than one or two specialists of this caliber. As a result, they are torn between a dozen different projects and do not have the time to assess all possibilities and make the best decisions.
Technological knowledge gaps concerning current best practices and industry-standard solutions are directly connected to the lack of senior-level developers. With no time to handle multiple projects simultaneously, they do not have an opportunity for research, studies, and professional growth vital in a dynamic field of software development services.
The worst-case scenario is paying for the services of the senior-level developer who does not have the time or skills to benefit your project. It is the core of multiple problems of outsourcing and is the risk you have to take if you are on a budget. However, some options can help you improve the chance of fair play:
Narrow down your choices to countries with proven IT know-how. While India may have been the ultimate choice at the rise of outsourcing, software developers from Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia are now in high demand because of their in-depth technical training and experience with successful international projects.
Compare solutions offered by several outsourcing teams. While no one will provide a full project breakdown for free, most companies will suggest the technology stack suitable for the project. Consider their choices and argumentation to choose the best vendor.
Check the team lead's background to ensure they are qualified to take on your project. Otherwise, consider using an internal CTO or hire a senior-level software developer to develop the architecture and oversee the development
While offshore software development comes with certain technological risks, you now know how to mitigate them. Besides, the in-house team has the same chaos potential, if not more. Just remember a British Airways employee that accidentally cut off the power in the company's data center in London and caused an overload when trying to fix the mistake. The 700 delayed flights and over 75 thousand of stranded passengers cost the company over $100 million.
Use our advice to consider the technological risks and mitigate them. Check out the first two installments of the series and don't let the dark side of software development outsourcing scare you! It takes courage to start a business, outsource development, and launch a product, but the potential benefits are well worth it.
The previous articles about pitfalls of outsourcing software development: