Outsourcing Software Development: Onsite vs Remote Support

Outsourcing Software Development: Onsite vs Remote Support

Gabriella Papaiacovou
1st June 2020

Home Insights Outsourcing Software Development: Onsite vs Remote Support

As a software development company, we offer our clients the flexibility of either remote development and consultancy support, or the option of having our team work alongside their staff at their own premises. After 10+ years of finding success with both options, our director Royd explains the pros and cons of each and how to decide which is best for your next project.

The Benefits of Outsourcing Software Development For Your Business

Before we look at which is the most viable option for your business and project, it’s important to understand why outsourcing software development has become so popular, even in businesses with their own experienced development teams.

  1. Access to wider pool of knowledge
    In the ever changing world of software development, it can be difficult for even the most talented developers to keep up to date with the latest changes. Outsourcing some of your development needs gives you access to a much wider pool of knowledge, to a team who are well versed in complicated and bespoke projects, giving you a greater chance of making your project a success.
  2. More cost effective than hiring
    A huge benefit to outsourcing development is the fact that it gives you access to senior developers when you need them, rather than having to pay a full time wage (and of course the dreaded cost of recruitment). With the current tech talent shortage, salaries are high and there is less talent than demand, so contracting a skilled developer is often the most cost effective option.
  3. Hit project deadlines sooner
    Outsourcing your project to a team who are experienced in working to very tight deadlines whilst outputting a high quality work is a valuable option, especially if speed is of the essence.
  4. Lower risk By working with senior developers who have been carefully selected to meet your project needs, you ensure you get the right person for the job.
  5. Greater flexibility Get access to the senior support you need, as and when you need it. Add or remove members to the project based on any changing requirements – a hassle free way to get your project on the road to success.

Remote Software Development Support: Pros & Cons

Remote software outsourcing happens when the contracted developers work from their own premises rather than the clients, giving regular updates through calls, online communication channels and weekly or monthly meetings, rather than continuous face to face contact.

The pros of remote outsourcing include:

  1. Fewer distractions
    By having the outsourced developers work from their usual premises, this can help to avoid small distractions (such as getting to know new people and working with a new group). For us, this isn’t usually an issue due to our team having gone through the process time and time again. If you are going to work with a remote outsourcing solution, then it helps to ensure the company you work with has solid experience to avoid wasted time.
  2. Can be more cost effective With remote workers, you save money by not having to provide office equipment or amenities, plus you’re not paying for their travel time to get to your office.
  3. Fewer complexities around team integration
    There can be certain complexities around integrating developers with a new team – from getting them to work to existing processes to avoiding personality clashes. For the onsite option, It’s important the developer you work with is not only matched to the skills you need but also to the personality of your existing team. This however, becomes less complicated when the team members are not working next to each other on a daily basis through the remote setup.

The cons of remote outsourcing:

  1. Less face-to-face access to developers Whilst communication channels like Slack are useful for ensuring regular access to developers working on your projects, it’s not the same as being able to wander over to the developers desk and ask a question quickly. The benefit of this however, is that there’s less disruption to the developer which means they can work on your project faster!
  2. Less opportunities for internal up skill
    There tends to be more opportunities to up skill a client’s team if the developers work onsite than there is through a remote collaboration. Outsourced help can bring much more than just a successful project – working with developers outside of your organisation also brings in potential new efficiencies and learnings for your own team.

Onsite Software Development Support: Pros & Cons

Onsite software outsourcing happens when the client is happy for the developers to work from their office, usually alongside their own development team.

The pros of onsite software outsourcing:

  1. Obtain an outsider perspective on processes
    Sometimes it takes an outsider to identify better ways of working or amends to processes that could actually improve your internal teams output, even long after the outsourced project is complete.
  2. Easier to get involved in team discussions If the client already has a development team in place then it can be beneficial to have any outsourced help onsite, so they can be there for any spontaneous project discussions and important decision making conversions.
  3. Learn niche skills Having developers around who’ve been specifically selected for their niche skill set increases the chance of your own team picking up any additional skills.
  4. See them working For some clients, the ability to be able to see the developers working hard on their project is important, however with the recent pandemic and impact this has had we imagine this mindset will shift, especially now it’s clear productivity can happen away from the business office.
  5. Relationship building This is useful if you plan to use the company for future projects, as it will be easier for the team to work together having already gone through the process and having understood how everyone works.

The cons of onsite software outsourcing:

  1. Onboarding time Onboarding is often seen as a challenge when it comes to outsourcing development, due to expectations around the time it will take the developers to get up to speed with a project. In our experience, due to the fact we only employ senior developers, we usually find that this process actually takes much less time than the client initially anticipates.
  2. Desk space required Sometimes if a business is already at capacity, having another member work from their office isn’t a viable option.
  3. Uncertainty over management dynamics If senior management aren’t used to the onsite dynamic they can find it a challenge figuring out how to manage an external developer alongside their existing dev team. In our experience, it helps to treat them like part of the team, being honest and upfront whilst remaining professional.

So, which is better, onsite or remote software outsourcing?

From experience it really does come down to the circumstances of the project. If the project is at a smaller scale, it’s less useful to spend time onboarding and usually a better idea to get the job done quickly without onsite developers. However for larger scale, time-sensitive projects having the entire team together in the same room can have huge benefits, especially when it comes to communication and the added benefits of getting an outsider view on existing processes.

To make the right decision, we assess each project on an individual basis, weighing up the benefits based on the requirements, to provide a solution that will support the client’s business in the most efficient way possible.

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