A useful checklist for starting an outsourcing relationship
“Competencies” are on the checklist for every tech lead seeking an outsourcing partner. But a competency isn’t “full-stack web services” or “cloud dev ops”. Those are just entry tickets: the basics that get you into the game.
Real competencies—the skills and practices that make the difference between a successful outcome and a failed project—are a lot softer and fuzzier. Factors like teamwork. Positive energy. A sense of shared enterprise. Even how much people seem to enjoy their work.
So if you’re interested in outsourcing your software development and ongoing maintenance and support, it’s vital to look at this softer, “human” side as much as the technological requirements. Here’s our brief checklist for the competencies that—in our experience—lead to a successful outsourcing relationship.
1. Both sides understand that relationships aren’t all about work
To learn how important personal relationships are, listen to conversations in any successful partnership. They’re asking about each other’s families, know each other’s hobbies, genuinely enjoying the interaction. These partnerships succeed because the people have more time and energy for each other, and want to treat each other. (Whenever you hear of a big project failing, you’ll see a story of warring tribes, not partners in a joint enterprise.)
Strypes has a head start here. Our “nearshoring” model puts customer-facing people (the Account Delivery Group) by your side, not in a distant nation; it’s designed specifically to put personal relationships at the core. Issues are easier to solve when you share a desk. And a donut.
2. An outsourcing partner questions each brief, not accepts it
Sounds annoying, doesn’t it? You present the scope to a potential partner, and all they do is quiz you on it. Actually, this is the best thing that can happen.
Because lots of questions mean they’ve read the document. (What a concept!) Thought deeply about requirements and outcomes. And, perhaps, seen flaws in your project that could be corrected early. All of which are good things for your timeline, budget, and future success.
So if the outsourcing team you’re considering keeps coming back with annoying questions and comments—rejoice! It means they’re interested in more than your money.
3. KPIs are used to manage, not measure
On many projects, success metrics are used as a stick to beat outsourcing partners with. That’s the wrong approach, because it sets the scene for combative behavior and the blame game. Used correctly, Key Performance Indicators are management tools, used to see the Big Picture and get insight into potential problems.
This is why every Strypes project strives for metrics that lead to a positive outcome for both parties, not provide point-scoring opportunities for one side over the other. (Yes, it works both ways.) That’s the mature way to work. And mature makes more sense.
4. The mindset is to solve problems, not just react to them
On a mediocre project, the outsourcing partner solves each problem as it comes up. Then does it again, because the problem reoccurs somewhere else. Often because the outsourcing partner is compensated for that action, and thus has no incentive to make the problem stop happening. They’re reactive. Not strategic.
Strypes doesn’t work that way. Both your on-site Account Delivery Group and the European agile group creating solutions work together to solve each problem at the root. A problem isn’t an action item to be checked off; it’s a teachable moment that provides information for improvement. This leads to better outcomes. And they arrive sooner.
5. There’s a shared vision of success – and everyone knows it
Last—but perhaps most important—is a factor that’s quite vague and fuzzy. Imagine yourself a year or two down the road, working with each other … what do you want to feel? Relief that it’s all over? Bad answer. Celebrating a successful close? Incomplete answer.
The ideal vision is where you’re both toasting the end of one project … and looking forward to the next one.
At Strypes, we like to be there for the long haul. Not project execution, but an ongoing partnership with a stake in your success. An on-site team you’ll want to work with again; off-site resources you can depend on without worry. That’s nearsurance: the “nearshoring” of having people right there in your building, with the reassurance of end-to-end project ownership and responsibility.
CONCLUSION: Strypes checks every competency box
If you see any of these factors in your current outsourcing arrangements—and are perhaps nodding in recognition of what’s missing—then take the next step: have an exploratory session with Strypes. You’ll see what we do. How we work. And hear some stories of success.
Because at Strypes, we believe success is more than an outsourcing relationship.
It’s an outsourcing friendship.