Top 5 reasons for and against software development outsourcing

As a software development and IT consulting business, we’re often asked what the pro’s and cons are of outsourcing software development vs. hiring a developer on staff. Here is our ‘Top 5’ list for each side of the issue, from our perspective.

Top 5 reasons you should outsource software development:

  1. Experience: Working with an established team of software developers means that from day 1 you get highly experienced team members who know how to work together.

  2. Fresh Perspective: Sometimes when you work within an internal team environment, it’s hard to have perspective. Bringing in a consulting company can bring in objectivity that you can’t get from your own staff.

  3. Quality: If you do a lot of anything, most of the times you get good at it. With dedicated people on quality assurance, with quality engineering as part of the system design, and with processes in place, it’s almost a guarantee that even an ‘average’ specialized external team will create better software compared to an ‘average’ internal team.

  4. Flexibility: Right now you may need 1 developer, but in 6 months you might need 4 (or vice versa). Outsourcing developers allows you to upgrade and downgrade your team as you need (and as your business goals develop).

  5. Access: You want the best on your team. But, attracting the best to your start-up might be a hard sell. It’s easier for software companies to recruit and retain senior talent due to resources, technology, security and advancement opportunities.

Top 5 reasons why you shouldn’t outsource development team:

  1. Lack of control: Outsourcing your software development means that you won’t be in total control of the development status. If you have a developer on staff, you can walk in their office at any point and completely change around their priorities. Working with an outside company means letting go of this level of control and having to depend on someone else.

  2. Longer turn-around time: Often internal teams will turn around iterations faster than an outsourced team since the outsourced team is also juggling other client projects.

  3. Distance: More than likely, your outsourced team will probably be in a different city or different country. Having a developer on staff allows for more instant and in-person interaction.

  4. Small project costs: Smaller projects may be less cost-effective with the outsourced model and often software development consulting companies won’t even take on small projects without charging some kind of premium.

  5. Internal resistance: Some within your company may feel threatened by a project outsourcing model. Although most project outsourcing serves the purpose of overcoming a lack of internal capabilities, some internal employees may be concerned that this model will lead to cutting back internal staff in favor of project outsourcing.

So there you have it, the top 5 reasons for, and against, outsourcing your software development. There is no general ‘right’ way, as each company has unique needs and goals. The key is to identify what your top objectives are and finding a solution that works best for your organization and goals.

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