Whether you are looking for a technical partner to deliver a software project, help you fill skills or capacity gaps or, provide an advisory role on ‘where’s next’ for your business, it’s important you ask the right questions early on to help you select the partner that is the best fit in terms of need but cultural fit too. Outsourced partnership have become very popular within the business world, even more so with the rise of working remotely. It has multiple benefits as highlighted in our Development on Demand blog. When working as a collaborative team you can bounce ideas off one another, work flexibly, evolve, and build a dream team. Below we offer a rundown of questions that we recommend you ask a potential software partner.
What other companies do you work with?
Ask about the size of companies who they regularly work with and ask for examples of the kinds of projects they have completed.
What skills, experience and expertise do you have?
When working in partnership you can bounce off other individuals and use their skill set to benefit your projects. It is important to know their expertise, experience and what makes them unique. How will they bring your business goals together?
Can you provide references/testimonials from other clients of similar work?
It is important to ask this, it will give you that reassurance that they will be able to provide you with the service you are looking for. Case studies can really clarify this and allow you to see the potential of what could be achieved. It is always useful to find out what that company has done for other clients, they should share case studies and testimonials. This information can really help you build a bigger picture, trust, and imagine your partnership moving forward with the right fit. Some suppliers may be able to put you in contact with customers to have a first-hand conversation.
How regularly do you communicate and ensure collaboration between team members?
Communication is very important; you want to look for a partnership where you can pick up the phone or email and feel that you have access to support and answers quickly. You need to make sure that the relationship with this company is beneficial and cross-collaboration will happen.
What is your standard lead time for deploying skills/resources to new projects?
It’s important to gather information on how long things will take, continual feedback and if this schedule fits with your business. It’s super important to have a realistic timeframe and really gain a perspective, listening to what they say, then evaluating if this suitable. This will give you a great idea of time management timescale and how they will approach this task.
Will the resources you provide be assigned to any other projects at the same time?
This will give you an idea of how exclusive their commitment will be to you and how they manage the resources required to fulfil the partnership.
What is your pricing and rates structure for each of the skillset you provide?
Sometimes this can include a variety of services from a Project Manager to Quality Assurance. All are very useful in making sure projects are managed, communicated, and achieved throughout.
What are your standard contract terms?
Finding out about this early on will help you understand the best service for you.
How do you guarantee quality from the team members you provide?
Here they should explain quality control, support and if they do automated testing for example.
Will we retain ownership / IPR of any of the code you write?
You will need to read the fine print on any proposed agreement, to make sure.
What best practice processes do you follow for coding or any other skillsets you may provide?
Find out if they use a handbook, or a company file or other means to assure consistency and correctness.
Once you have all these answers, your decision process will be more informed, and you will have a much better idea if all your expectations can be met. It is a fact that an outsourcing partnership has numerous benefits when done wisely. Understanding how the partnership works, how it progresses and evolves is critical for getting the most out of the venture.
If you are looking to find out more about an outsource partnership, please do get in touch.