This article was contributed by Valeria Poliakova who is working as a content writer for Relevant Software.
Outsourcing software development has become a common practice for businesses looking to reduce costs and save time. However, outsourcing also poses the risk of low-quality work and poor code quality, which can seriously affect the software's functionality and extensibility. In this article, we'll explore ensuring quality in outsourced software development projects by finding the right development consultant and implementing quality assurance methods.
Finding the right development consultant
For any business, outsourcing software development can be a challenging task. Low-cost providers may need specific instructions to be practical, while high-cost providers may not be feasible for many businesses. Meanwhile, having an in-house development team can be costly and require additional management to ensure their success.
To outsource your software development project, research different companies offering such services. You can begin with a simple Google search using keywords like “hire IT consultant” or “hire software consultant.” From there, make a list of a few companies that, at first glance, may meet your requirements. Next, conduct a thorough investigation of each company on your list. Look at their portfolios, previous projects, customer reviews, and referrals. It's also a good idea to contact some of their previous clients and ask them about their experience working with the company. If their response is positive, you can proceed with confidence.
Once you've completed your research, contact the shortlisted software development consultants either by phone or email. Clearly communicate your project goals and requirements, and ask them about their working methods, the technology they currently use, their management experience, pricing, timeline, and if they have worked on similar projects in the past and how they accomplished them.
When selecting a consultant, a common mistake is only to consider the price and duration of the project. Instead, also consider the consultant's experience and previous work on similar projects. Take your time to choose the right consultancy for your project. Having a dedicated development team, you can ensure that the developers have a thorough understanding of your project goals and requirements and are fully invested in the project's success. Once you're sure about your selection, put an agreement in writing, either on paper or electronically.
When working with consultants, there are several crucial documents that you may need to have signed in order to ensure a successful collaboration. These include:
- Service Level Agreement (SLA): An SLA outlines the terms and conditions of the services the consultant provides. It typically includes details such as project scope, timelines, deliverables, and payment terms.
- Software Requirements and Specifications: This document outlines the technical requirements and specifications for the software the consultant is developing. It includes details such as features, functionalities, and performance expectations.
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): KPIs are measurable metrics used to track a project's progress and success. They can include factors such as project timelines, budget, and quality of work.
- Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA): An NDA is a legal document that prevents the consultant from sharing confidential information with anyone outside of the project team. This is particularly important for projects that involve sensitive information or intellectual property.
Code quality control
Maintaining code quality is one of the biggest obstacles businesses face when outsourcing their software development. To non-technical stakeholders, code quality may appear to be a subjective matter, but it has significant consequences in terms of both functionality and extensibility. In particular, low code quality leads to technical debt that can be challenging to address in the future, affecting project velocity and the ability to attract high-quality developers.
Low-quality code can cause a range of problems. Firstly, it can lead to unexpected errors, resulting in application downtime or hard-to-detect issues. For example, code may not properly handle rare errors, causing the entire application to crash. Secondly, it can lead to performance problems that may not be noticed until the software is in production. Finally, low-quality code often requires future rework or refactoring, also known as technical debt, which can slow down future software development efforts. Components may be tightly coupled, requiring developers to decouple them when adding new features or functionality.
There are different quality assurance methods to ensure strong code quality standards. It's important to include these methods in a well-defined workflow. These methods can include:
Regular code review
Regular code reviews provide companies with a comprehensive view of the development process. Workers can be reassigned to tasks that prevent further issues if things go wrong.
Unlike detailed coding reviews, functional testing concentrates on how the application performs when users interact with it. The method helps to see the product through the customer's eyes, as they are more interested in the product's overall functionality than the code behind it.
Unit testing is typically used during extensive projects. During unit testing, each line of code is separated and then analyzed for errors by the developer.
By assessing every line of code, developers can promptly identify any bugs that may have affected the software. While unit testing ensures code quality, it also trains developers to be more analytical when creating code.
Regression testing is a way of testing code to see how any new changes affect the software. Adding new code can make an application better, but it can also cause problems. To make sure that everything still works properly after making changes, regression testing is done to check for any mistakes that might have been made.
To ensure quality in outsourced software development projects, it's essential to do thorough research on potential development consultants and select the right one based on their experience and previous work. Implementing quality assurance methods like regular code reviews, functional testing, unit testing, and regression testing can help maintain high code quality standards. By taking these steps, businesses can successfully outsource their software development projects while ensuring quality and avoiding potential technical debt.
About the author
Valeria Poliakova is a content writer working for Relevant Software. Her task is to reveal the expertise and capabilities of the Relevant team and help you choose a product to solve your problems.