Long-distance working relationships have always been considered difficult. However, thanks to modern-day technology, working with someone remotely has never been easier.
Yet clients continue to struggle to find a trustworthy developer and it’s no big surprise really: the amount of bad programmers out there has been growing exponentially.
How can you avoid drowning in a practically endless choice? If you don’t have a great deal of experience of outsourcing web development, how can you judge quality? It’s highly likely that anyone who has outsourced projects in the past will know that success is often down to trial and error. But what if you don’t have the time and can’t afford the error?
When it comes to outsourcing web development projects there are a few tried and tested techniques that can help to ensure you choose the right development partner and make the road through the IT-world less bumpy:
1. Company / Individual
Find out if you will be working with a team or an individual.
Will the provider be able to handle a larger amount of work? Will the work be completed from home or from an office? Having a comfortable work environment is extremely important but often underestimated.
Hiring a team is often more effective than contracting the services of an individual because a company can handle larger workloads, which can be useful if you’re working to a deadline. Also, when working with a larger company, you will secure the services of a range of individuals with different skills: web designers, front-end developers, back-end developers, quality assurance professionals, project managers etc.
If you choose to work with an individual, you may come across a self-taught developer who works from home. All credit to him for his perseverance, but do you really want him to keep learning on YOUR project, or do you simply want the job done neatly and flawlessly without any unnecessary expense and delay?
2. Souce Control and Bug-tracker
Inquire if developer uses source control and a bug-tracker.
These tools not only simplify the whole development process but also make your investments future-proof.
A version control system (VCS) keeps track of all changes in the source code; So later, during system maintenance, it will be easier to understand who wrote a particular piece of code, when and why. Also, keeping all source code in VCS enables multiple developers to collaborate on the project together without overwriting one another’s changes.
The bug tracker is essential. Every software system will produce bugs during the development phase. These need to be found, tracked, logged, fixed and tested again. Without an effective bug tracker system and process in place, things will get out of control very quickly.
It is not surprising that consistent use of these tools is considered to be the “hallmarks of a good software team.”
3. Quality Assurance
What proportion of time (if any) will the programmer devote to quality assurance (QA)? Who will perform the QA?
A clear division of responsibilities is extremely important and it goes without saying that upfront assignment of tasks ensures that work is done in a much more effective way. A dedicated Quality Assurance (QA) professional will find issues in the system more efficiently than the developer who built it.
QA is performed to verify that a completed project /system has all the features and functionality that was required and that the code is bug-free prior to the installation of the finished product.
4. Relevant Experience
Check if developer worked on similar projects in the past.
If a developer has successfully completed complex projects in the past, he will have gained a great deal of relevant experience that will allow him to save time, and obviously your money, on the current project.
What kind of warranty does the prospective developer offer?
Companies that value their clients and are confident with their services have no difficulty guaranteeing that they will eliminate any possible bugs free of charge. Look for a company that offers a warranty so that you have full peace of mind that you will enjoy a fully functioning and bug-free product.
How does an overseas developer intend to communicate with you?
Determine in advance what communication channels suit you and your developer. Pay attention to communication in general, especially at the beginning of the project: warning bells should sound if it takes a while for a developer to get back to you with the information you request.
7. Change Requests
Ask a programmer what he will do if the requirements change during the course of the project.
It’s recommended that you agree how you will handle changes to requirements upfront before the project starts in order to avoid any conflicts and misunderstandings. If the team will not be flexible or willing to change the course of action, once again, it may be worth looking elsewhere.
8. Sounds too good to be truth?
Don’t let the developer woo you.
Some developers will promise the moon in order to secure a new client. Others naturally underestimate the amount of work to be done and will fail to meet the deadlines or deliver the requirements. Don’t believe anyone that promises to build you a Facebook-like social network in under a month. Lots of customers fall into this trap… it’s called wishful thinking.
9. Budgets and Timelines
Finally, don’t set the bar too low.
If you require a quality product, demand the best and be prepared to shell out a little more. We all know there is no such thing as a free lunch.