Scalability in Software Outsourcing

Software projects shrink or grow in scope all the time. Perhaps your budget has been unexpectedly slashed by managers. Maybe a new market for your product has suddenly opened up and you’re faced with the need to add translations to your entire product. Or maybe there’s an update in the software platform which has thrown your coders out of whack.

Whatever the circumstances, being able to change the scale of a project to cope with the fickleness of software development can make or break it.

Changing the pattern

In the old-fashioned model of “how to build software”, there was an in-house development team of fixed size, sitting and waiting for the work to come in. Often this resulted in either too many projects at once, resulting in engineers having to constantly context switch, or not enough work to keep them busy, resulting in a slow drain on your budget for not much result.

Then outsourcing came in and changed everything.

Instead of keeping a stable of developers, (usually the fewest possible), now the scalability of an outsourced software project means that internal teams can be augmented at need. With SCRUM and Agile methodologies, teams can be run in parallel, accelerating the work rate and often slashing costs.

Who should you look at for scalable solutions?

Look for offshore partners from countries with a solid base of coders. This will occur where there is a high level of education, with a competitive market for coders, and no excessive brain drain to other countries. Of course, political stability and a good grasp of English are also needed, so that communications and consistency of service can be maintained.

You will also need good levels of project management skills within the outsourcing company and in-house to make a dynamic, scaling software project work. Excellent reporting and feedback will help you to understand when and where to add or subtract resources. Being able to foresee project bottlenecks, high or low traffic periods and HR issues and sculpt actions accordingly will certainly help avoid many difficulties.

When to scale

The best strategy for scaling a project is to plan the offshore component at the start. Keeping an offshore team as a dedicated resource is a great idea, especially if you have a lot of smaller projects. Using the same partners consistently allows you to predict the results with far greater accuracy.

If you’re likely to outsource, plan to outsource from the start.

How does it work?

Scalability means you pay for the services you get, rather than paying just to keep bums on seats. This is no doubt a wonderful thing, but there needs to be elevated levels of communication between you and your outsourcing software company in order for this to work properly.

Having an established firm with sufficient resources that they can increase or decrease team size in line with your needs is another key feature. Taking the time to assess your offshore partner company fully, including site visits, will be essential to understanding if this is really viable or not.

Using an experienced outsourcing consultant as part of your planning and strategy phase can save you money by helping you avoid the pitfalls of failing to scale. Get in touch today to talk about how I can help you roll with scalable software project outsourcing.

Leave a Reply