Everything seems to be so easily reachable for the modern generation. All you require is a laptop, a phone and good internet connection. Geographical restrictions no longer seem to prevent professional collaborations for web development and people are continuously expanding their influence much beyond spatial limitations. A potential start up web agency doesn’t really need to be much concerned about lack of technical resources locally.
With increasing demand and availability of knowledge sources, the community of software professionals can be found in almost every major city worldwide. You could potentially have an ideal team consisting of top developers, project managers and creative heads located at multiple locations across the globe.
We are talking here specifically about web development outsourcing. In spite of numerous complaints and criticism, hiring of web developers working remotely is an enormous market and not only benefits financially but also provides skills that may otherwise be not available locally or may be expensive. It has to be done correctly and collaboration with right people is the key.
So let’s find out why should you outsource web development?
It’s a big question first to think if outsourcing web development is worth. Although it may look like a single-time task, you launch your website and just let it fly. But what if your website needs are complex such as a custom responsive website application that needs a professional modern interface and creative layout, efficient and easy to manage CMS and eCommerce system? For that you require a full-service web development agency. In addition, the website will need to be further nurtured to improve its performance, make changes or add features to keep it lively and impressive all the time? So, the options are; either businesses will need to have an inhouse full time team or collaborate with a decent team of website developers that integrate well, work as an extended team and most importantly understand your business process.
The decision should be based on assessment of the business case based on following points:
Do you have people, budget, defined scope and solid plan to make your web project a success? An efficient process and project manager are very crucial that gives you control and assurance of delivering your web project the way you expect.
Do you have an efficient team of web designers skilled to produce a unique design layout and impressive UX (User experience)? Ideally the design should be created as per latest trends and should be working on the industry terms. Does your web development team have such skills and expertise?
Do you have an agile web development team capable to develop your web projects as defined and planned with assurance of quality, timely delivery, efficient communication, within budget and future support?
Do you have resources that can produce valuable, informative and SEO friendly content that viewers find appealing enough and unique?
Do you have a strong marketing plan and team to further promote your website, optimize it that helps to generate profitable revenue and ROI.
Most companies outsource ‘development’ and ‘Marketing’ to well established and experienced web development agencies that have flourished worldwide. While ‘design’ and ‘content’ is either done inhouse or collaborated with local freelancers.
For any industry to survive, it has to offer benefits whether financial or by providing skills. Outsourcing of web development have thrived over last decade or so employing thousands of web developers. While there are risks, there are numerous benefits too. The key is to engage with right people with right skills.
How to begin web development outsourcing?
So based on the assessment and your business case if you have made decision to outsource webdevelopment, the next thing to do is begin your search to find the right team. There are many collaboration online platforms where you can post your job but not all major companies participate here and it can be dangerous if your project requirement is a bit special that needs custom development.
There are tons of options available how you can go about hunting for a web development team. You can create and post your job with a short statement of your requirement, and let the web companies approach you. You can do some research about your competitors and who they work with for development. Many websites have a link of the company they hired for web development. You can prepare a list of your requirements and try to search yourself. Eventually, you’ll be in position to shortlist the companies that fit best. Mainly, it’s quality to price comparison ratio that separates one company from the others.
Different agencies and their web teams specialise in different aspects of web development. Some focus a lot on design while the others are rock stars in programming and data management. Finding the right balance and best-fitting skills for your custom web project is the crucial challenge. In our experience, clients who are happy with the work we have done for them are proactively recommending our name to their contacts. These leads are the best ones we can get and we’ll work hard for it.
What you should look out for when selecting web development company for outsourcing?
Hearing from your peer in the industry about their experience of working with the companies that you are potentially going to collaborate with is always a sensible approach. Ask for it and the well reputed ones will never shy away. It may be worth paying more to someone with stronger references.
More experienced web development company means they are well seasoned and less risky. They have well defined process, infrastructure, stability and team that are capable to hang on and don’t run away at crucial moments when needed.
A strong presentation of the past projects can give you a good judgement to make a decision. Although you should never judge the book by it’scover but if you cross check few cases with provided references you’ll know how genuine the portfolio is.
Regardless of what services and products are developed, it’s actually the personnel that are going to be collaborating with. How do they manage their team? What is their adaptation and recruitment process? How well they communicate and respond? These are the things that you should discuss when picking up a web development team.
In web industry, never bother about the time zones and the geography. This should never be a reason for inefficient communication. The important prerequisite is fluency in English from the team of developers that you will be working with. They should have good level of English especially while writing email, scope of project, understanding requirement or having a chat on instant messaging apps like Skype.
A successful web project heavily relies on an efficient quality control process and for long term collaboration this has to be done consistently. There are number of tools available that can help but an eye for every small detail is what really counts. Many web companies have stable and long-term relationship with their outsourcing partners and a good quality assurance process helps in confidence building.
Once you have found a web development company that satisfy your needs, you might first pass on a test project to understand their real time engagement process. These are generally better guidelines at early stages, but moving forwards there needs to be a great level of mutual flexibility on different issues which serves as a key to a successful long-term partnership.
Define and well document project scope
One major thing that a project heavily depends on for its successful execution is the information and planning. It is highly recommended to provide more details to web developers so that it’s easy for them to estimate the time and cost. Documents that are well defined, discussed and agreed before the project development commences, are less likely to raise conflicts at any stage. Never hold back any information about functionality or design due to copyright concerns or out of fear. Be open and trust your team. Clarity in the scope is of super importance.
100% of the available project details should be clearly put in the project documentation. PDF designs (wireframes or website layout) with comments on features and development guide makes it so easy for outsourced web development team. Engage with them more at this stage by having a screen sharing conference call; go through designs and functionality for each section that you have defined in your document, let them ask you questions and clarify doubts.
Set up a routine video call meeting or Skype chat.
Some want to micromanage even the smallest process and keep the web development team under surveillance. Remember, to be in control is good but let them do work rather than continuously hammering them with calls or chat messages every now and then.
Meetings are great and should be organised at specific times for updates and other project related discussion. Balance the productive hours and team meetings nicely.
Many prefer and efficiently keep track of their web development project via well-known task management and collaboration systems like Slack, Jira, Basecamp, Monday, Trello etc. We have delivered several projects without any calls with clients.
Keep an eye on timeline
Web projects normally undergo routine scope changes and adhoc issues especially during development phase when things begin to come into action real time. This is likely to extend the development timeline.
Web development teams tend to work on multiple projects and their resources often get bombarded with support requests for the projects they have done in past. They get diverted especially when client asks them to sort out urgent issues. This affects the development timeline of other projects they are working on. Keep routinely asking them about the progress of your project and when they expect to update or deliver you. Engaging a web development team or a reputed company (depending on your needs) rather than freelancers is better. Because a company has many developers they employ and can shuffle across their resources more flexibly than freelancers. Please they have point of contact that you can quickly connect to and get answers quickly.
N23 has been successfully operating as one of the most efficient outsourced web development agencies in India and we are always curious to work on challenging web projects.