Outsourcing Pros and Cons: Reasons For and Against Outsourcing the Software Development Cycle
One of the biggest questions startups have is whether or not to outsource the software development cycle. There are plenty of outsourcing pros and cons to weigh and consider when making such an important decision for your business. After all, you want personnel who know software engineering inside and out, but also want the software development cycle to have a positive effect on your company’s bottom line.
These are some outsourcing pros and cons to consider when making this important decision for your business.
When Not to Outsource the Software Development Cycle
- In most cases, business-critical operations should be kept under your company’s control internally. For startups, a high quality outsourcer could be used for a limited time consulting period to learn best practices before taking on these tasks yourself. Outside companies can be tasked with smaller, complex projects, but you do not typically want an outside company handling the important day-to-day tasks of your business.
- Do not outsource if outsourced software engineering is going to affect the consumer-facing side of your business. Outsourcing is best done behind the scenes.
- You have the infrastructure, technology, and people internally who know the software development cycle and can make solutions work for your business.
When You Should Outsource the Software Development Cycle
- Software engineering projects are necessary from time to time, but software engineering isn’t critical to your business model. There are not enough regular projects to justify keeping a full-time software engineer on staff for 40-plus hours a week.
- Your time is valuable. Sure, you can build a non-critical module internally, but with a small staff you have other essential business needs to attend to. Outsourcing will usually result in a quality project done on time and on budget.
- For efficiency, one-time software engineering projects are best done by an outside consultant, especially if your staff cannot handle certain tasks that require expansive skillsets.
- You work in a high-cost region where on-staff developers come at a premium and you need to reduce your company’s burn rate in order to maximize revenue.
- You need a flexible software engineering workforce able to plug in and out of projects when needed. This is optimal when your company hits slow periods in the year, and is cheaper and friendlier than hiring and firing staff.
- You want a low-cost model for yourself and are outsourcing on a build-operate-transfer model.
- You have no real experience in managing technology, especially the software development cycle. Even if you chose to outsource the software development cycle, it is important to have a technology manager in-house to keep the consultant accountable and fulfill other business technology needs.
- You found an outsourcing company that is passionate about the software development cycle, understands how your business operates and doesn’t impose their processes and proprietary methodology on your company.
Simply put, this very simple three question rule of thumb is important to consider when weighing outsourcing pros and cons.
- Can someone do it cheaper than you?
- Can they do it faster than you?
- Most importantly, can they do it better than you?