Keeper Process: 2 Commonly Ignored Success Factors in All Software Outsourcing Project

Software development outsourcing has grown exponentially in recent years. In fact,  according to new research from Commit, outsourcing for software development at start-ups is expected to increase by 70% between 2022 and 2023, with companies projected to outsource at least 36% of their software development.

While many organizations understand the benefits associated with software outsourcing, they are less familiar with how an outsourcing partnership works from an operational standpoint. We are often asked how we start a project, what are the first practical steps and what the first couple of months ordinarily look like.

This is one of the reasons we put together a ‘Breakdown of the First 2 Months of Your Outsourced Development Partnership’. This post divided the first couple of months of any successful software outsourcing project into three key stages.

                        • Phase 1 – Consulting or Design Sprint
                        • Phase 2 – Pivoting to Manage Service
                        • Phase 3 – Bedding Down Development and Getting to Steady State

You can learn more about each phase by checking out the full blog post, here.

Two Vital Success Factors in Any Software Outsourcing Project 

In order to put together a comprehensive breakdown of the first two months of a software outsourcing project, we spoke with a number of key personnel on the front lines of delivery software products at Keeper Solutions. This included Keeper Solutions Founder and CEO, Stephen Walsh and Keeper Solutions CTO, Nick Holmes.

As we gathered information, conversations turned to pitfalls; where companies go wrong, common blindspots and what organizations can do to ensure success. Two factors that came up time and time again were the importance of communication and trust. 

Below we will go through these two, often ignored, success factors and what companies can do to turn potential pitfalls into operational strengths.  

Finding the Communication Sweet Spot

Strong communication is key to building successful relationships. When it comes to successful software development projects, communication is also vital for ensuring that teams are moving in the right direction, meeting KPIs and making the most efficient use of their time. 

However, according to Keeper Solutions CEO, Stephen Walsh, there is a sort of Goldilocks rule that organizations should follow. 

“When it comes to communication, we think it’s important that the time spent in meetings doesn’t exceed 7-10% of overall working hours. We find that anything over that can be disruptive. Sometimes developers get dragged into more meetings than it’s worth, or necessary, and this can significantly impact productivity.

There is a balance you need to be mindful of at all times. When there’s not enough communication, the outsourcing partner doesn’t have a proper handle on what’s going on and can’t create value. It can also cause confusion and uncertainty. But an overemphasis on communication can also be detrimental. It can negatively impact the software development process, simply because developers are spending too much time in meetings.”


Agree on the Cadence of Meetings in Advance 

At Keeper, we try to agree on the cadence of meetings in advance. This typically consists of daily stand-ups with developers of no more than 10-15 minutes. There are also quick weekly catch-ups to review the week’s tasks. 

Outside of that, we usually run two-week design sprints which require a planning and review session beforehand. This session is generally between our technical lead and a point of contact on the client side, and is used to review the previous design sprint and lay out objectives for the next one. 

To ensure that all parties are satisfied with the progress that’s being made, we also hold monthly updates where we review the monthly status report and check on KPIs. This is often held between the Keeper’s service delivery manager and whatever senior representatives would like to attend on the client side.

It’s incredibly important to get the balance right.” 

Trust – A Key Ingredient of All Software Projects

A component that’s closely related to communication is trust. When it comes to a software outsourcing project, trust plays a key role. And it does so on a number of different levels. 

Trust and buy-in from key stakeholders: Before you even consider working with a software outsourcing partner or a third-party team, you need to receive buy-in from key stakeholders. This is both at an executive and operational level. Without proper trust and buy-in, it is very difficult for an outsourcing project to excel.  

Discussions should be held internally to make sure that everyone is fully informed, that they understand why they are working with an outsourcing partner and the benefits it will bring. It is especially important that your executive leadership team supports software development outsourcing as a high-priority strategy and trusts the process. 

Trust in your extended team: To hit the communication sweet spot that we mentioned above, you have to afford developers and the outsource team a certain level of trust so that they can work with freedom and autonomy. Often, when organizations schedule too many meetings and try to micromanage developers, it is due to underlying lack of trust. 

Trust in the outsourcing process: One of the main reasons that companies outsource software development is to gain access to a larger pool of world-class talent and to quickly scale resources. But to achieve both these benefits, there needs to be a high level of trust in your outsourcing partner and their hiring process. 

At the start of every software outsourcing project, there is a discovery period where the outsourced partner (such as Keeper Solutions) learns about your company, your objectives and your technical set-up. This discovery period allows your outsourcing partner to gain a better understanding of your technical capabilities and what roles you’ll need to fill to bring a software project to life. 

Once this phase has been completed, the outsourcing partner can start to allocate resources and scale technical capabilities quickly and effectively. For this to happen smoothly and efficiently, there needs to be a high level of trust in the recruitment process. You must trust your outsourcing partner to do their job, find the right candidates and bring in the right people. A lack of trust often leads to second-guessing, breakdowns in communication and a disjointed hiring process. 

To reap the rewards of software outsourcing, you must trust the process. 

Choosing the Right Partner 

Another key success factor is choosing the right partner. At Keeper Solutions, we have put together a simple 8-step approach to find the right software development partner or find the right software outsourcing solution. Check it out here

Looking to work with a software outsourcing partner? Get in touch today.

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