Effective Outsourcing

ZYX Products had an incredible new product they were going to release next month. They had put so much work into the design of the product and it was going to be a game changer. Two weeks ago, the QA team had started to complain about the performance of the product. It was largely dismissed because they were so close to the release date and if it was a little slow it shouldn’t effect much. When the engineering manager tried to use the new product this morning, however, it was not only painfully slow, but it was so bad that the product kept crashing. A few in-house resources were tasked with looking into the issue. What they reported back was a mess of sub-standard programming techniques throughout the entire part of the product they had sent to their offshore agency. ZYX ended up paying their in-house team extra to rewrite that component from scratch in time for their release date. Digging down to the root causes revealed that the offshore agency had hired inexperienced developers, and that ZYX had not implemented code reviews or any of the other quality controls they would have for their in-house resources.

Generic Software kept running into production bugs that should have been caught during testing. As with many companies, they had outsourced their testing to an offshore agency. Now, however, the team was not really confident that testing was being completed as their tools indicated it was. A “control test” was created with ridiculous expected results and allowed to run in the next release cycle. Not unexpectedly, the test came back as passing. When asked for screenshots of the test results the offshore agency had to admit that it had somehow missed “just this one”. Confidence in the agency plummeted even further and eventually the contract was terminated. The problem didn’t lie with just the offshore agency. When the root cause was looked at it was discovered that the agency had very little communication from in-house engineering, there were no requirements set in place for the quality of work done, and Generic had little to no input as to who was on the team for the offshore agency. Addressing even just one of these issues could have improved the results for Generic Software considerably.

Outsourcing has become a part of the technical landscape and it’s not going to change any time soon. It is a powerful tool if done well, but it can also end up costing you more if done poorly. The beauty of today’s digital age is that there are so many options available when it comes to outsourcing. From agencies on just about every continent, to contract workers all over the world, you have a wide range of options available. The key is to find the option that works best for you and implement it well. At HillCity Technologies we can help you assess your current outsourcing strategy and situation and devise a solution that works best for you. We’ll help analyze the agencies you are working with or want to work with, and give recommendations on how to proceed. If you’re unable to find an outsource solution that works for you, we can implement a custom solution utilizing our network of domestic and international resources.