Here are 5 key tips for a great outsourced software development partnership from Keeper’s CEO and Founder, Stephen Walsh. 

Have you ever considered your outsourced software development options? If you speak to any CTO, they’ll tell you that in-house development teams are the preferred solution for scaling software operations. They’ll say that there’s no way an ‘external’ team could understand the product, or be trusted to work within the particular environment. That collaboration and efficiencies are always going to be optimal with a fully in-house team. 

I disagree. It’s more than possible to work with an outsourced team if (and the “if” is a critical one) you work with the right partner. 

Keeper Solutions has been delivering award-winning outsourced software development for more than a decade. I thought I would put together my best advice for those considering an outsourced solution, to ensure operational success. 

The realities of modern business, especially in a global context, is that talented, experienced software developers are harder to find than ever before. How and where we work has been dramatically changed by the pandemic and now every team, not just technical ones, must adapt to distributed environments and learn to collaborate, iterate and deliver in ways that might have never been possible before. 

This means it is now easier than before to consider working with a team that are not perhaps all sitting under the same roof. Rather than thinking of outsourcing as an unfortunate necessity, it’s actually more true to say it’s an immense opportunity – one where you can access rich seams of untapped talent, experience and value. Some of these recommendations are internal to the service provider and some to the customer. Some are based on the dynamics of the relationship between the two.

Recommendation 1: Select Your Outsourced Software Development Partner Carefully

What are the metrics for selection? Of course there are dozens of factors that you should consider. Putting them into a matrix and scoring your service providers across that matrix is a very sensible way of comparing your options, rather than just going with your gut. However, the two metrics most worthy of upweighting are track record and domain expertise. You might consider price point to be the most important, but that might actually be a red herring. What is the unmeasured lost value of a wasted month for a partner that fails to meet milestones? 

Domain expertise is also important – a service provider that understands the complexities of your tech stack, the regulatory and compliance requirements of your marketplace, that’s an invaluable layer that will have a significant impact on your long term success. Track record is also a very useful metric. For this, look to case studies, testimonials and useful sites such as or Or (and this is probably best done at the final stage of an evaluation!) you can ask to speak to other customers. 

Recommendation 2: Think Global, Love Local (Time Zones)

One of the obvious benefits of offshore software development is access to talent and lower operational costs providing competitive advantage and value. However, if your outsourced software team is in Malaysia then it’s going to make it very difficult to work efficiently if you have in-house teams that are relying on deliverables from them, because the time-zones aren’t going to work well. 

That’s why Keeper has a number of software delivery centres in different time zones that we can strategically allocate to geo-specific projects. Our teams in Costa Rica support many of our US clients, and our teams in Croatia and Romania work closely together with both our European and US partners.

Recommendation 3: Compatible Frameworks

A really great partnership is integrated and built on a foundation of trust. It also requires frequent and open communication. It’s critical that your organisational frameworks are compatible. From a strategic level it might mean a commitment to Agile and Scrum methodologies. From a practical level this means that you’re not to use Google Studio on one side and Microsoft environments on the other, as shared documents and messaging systems aren’t compatible.

Should you both use Slack – what are the overt and covert cultural norms of communication and collaboration? These should be well understood and if necessary, documented in advance to prevent disappointment or friction later in the relationship. 

Recommendation 4: Focus on Culture

Synergy is one of those business words that gets overused. However, it’s worth reflecting on what it actually means, which is “the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects”. Synergy is the result of a successful outsourced relationship. The results are greater than the sum of their parts. The benefits are very much worthwhile. 

Culture is at the heart of every organisation, and at Keeper we are committed to a culture of openness, respect and collaboration. Our working relationships in this environment thrive, and empower us to do our very best work. Take a long look at the culture of any organisation you are considering working with. Do you share the same values? How do you each deal with adversity? Like the iceberg that sits below the surface, it can be very difficult to uncover an organisation’s true culture before you get to work with them. Having multiple conversations with a range of stakeholders is a critical first step.

Recommendation 5: Outsourced Software Development That is Design-Led

Not an obvious one, but a critical recommendation nonetheless. Frameworks, time zones and even culture might be obvious evaluation touchpoints. So what does design have to do with selecting an outsourced software partner for your scaling business? Having a design-led approach to your projects and solutions is a critical success factor. This means taking a design-thinking approach to the scope of work and every layer after, from design and build right through to operate. 

By putting design-thinking at the heart of your project, it’s much more likely that the project stakeholders will be best served, that the deliverables will have impact on the business and that time and resources are well spent.

Get in Touch to Discuss Your Outsourced Software Development Options

A huge thank you to Stephen Walsh for working with us on this article. If you would like to discuss outsourced software development with us please get in touch today.

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