Software outsourcing comes with risks, and how you can mitigate them is a topic we’ve already covered. Simply find a reliable IT outsourcing company, and you’ll get a great partner that will save you countless hours (and dollars).
However, with Halloween just around the corner, we decided to turn up the spooky and share some terrifying tales of things that can go wrong when you outsource software development.
Without further ado, here are five outsourcing horror stories that will make your blood run cold this Halloween:
You need a piece of software made in a hurry, so you contact the first software development firm you find on Google, as long as they’re cheap, don’t bother to study the vendor’s security approach and disaster recovery plan, rush into signing a deal, and wake up to the happy news that your trade secrets and customer information has been leaked. Or worse — sold to your competitors.
Sounds like a business owner’s worst nightmare? Surely something that catastrophic wouldn’t happen in real life, right? Wrong. A study into Data Risk in the Third-Party Ecosystem (March 2016) revealed that 58% of respondents across multiple industries admit they can’t determine whether their third party vendor’s security policies are sufficient to prevent a data breach, and only 35% say they conduct a frequent review of their chosen vendor’s security measures. Scary stuff.
Outsourcing software development can cost you plenty of money, but if the end result is a poor quality product with bug after bug after bug, what you have is a Halloween horror story. This is a common problem, and there are a few possible reasons why even the best intentions often result in terrible code:
Congratulations. You managed to find a seemingly great outsourcing vendor with an impeccable security policy and top-notch software engineers dedicated solely to your project. Sadly, the fairytale comes to an end when, one by one, the developers you hired start leaving the team. Deadlines get pushed back as the vendor looks for replacements, and the newbies spend more time getting to know your project than actually working on it.
Just when you seem to be getting back on track, another one of your team members hands in their notice, and before you know it you’re caught in the revolving door of people coming and leaving for no reason at all.
Or so it would seem. Even the tech companies that are routinely rated as the best places in the world to work, including Google and Amazon, experience high turnover rates with tenures averaging a little over a year, according to research by PayScale.
If your outsourcing partner doesn’t take the extra step to retain their employees by — first and foremost — providing competitive compensation packages, but also by investing in team building activities and career development opportunities, don’t be surprised when they tell you that your project won’t be completed on time due to staff shortages.
You know the scene: you’re trying to get updates from your vendor, but the dialogue is starting to look a lot like an attempt to communicate with the spirits during a staged séance — you keep asking the questions, but no answer is ever returned. If you’re lucky, your vendor may forward you from one staff member who’s supposed to be responsible for your project to another one.
Different cultural backgrounds can also turn communication into a nightmare. High context cultures, like Asian, Subcontinental, or Arabic societies, tend to put a greater price on honor and reputation, in some cases valuing politeness over clarity. If you outsource web development to a company from one of these cultures, you might have trouble getting an honest status update if something doesn’t go as planned.
Eastern European cultures, although much closer to the Western mentality, are just as unlikely to be upfront from day one. If you outsource software development to an Eastern European country, the people you communicate with will need to get to know you as a person before they can fully trust you. Get ready to show them your least flattering photos from the last family get-together!
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Invoice. Invoice who? Unexpectedly enormous invoice — that’s who!
The exchange above is what happens when you sign a contract that doesn’t include a full list of additional expenses that may occur. This can include after-hours communication, overtime, and the purchase of software and hardware for the team.
Most outsourcing companies — even the best ones — will expect you to pay for work that isn’t covered by the scope of your initial agreement. However, you have every right to know exactly how much this extra work will cost you, and for this information to be included in the contract.
By now, you’ve probably made up your mind to never as much as think about outsourcing software development ever again. But hold on a minute! There’s one last thing we’d like to share with you:
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