Companies of all sizes are looking to develop custom software for their customers and for internal use. However, the tight labor market and historically low unemployment rate for software engineers mean that building an in-house development team for a reasonable price is exceedingly difficult. That’s why executives are turning to software outsourcing services to find the right talent and complete their development projects. The global outsourcing market reached $85 billion in 2018 and is growing every year. The rapid rate of expansion has led many new companies to enter the industry. However, many of these firms lack the necessary experience and expertise. These young companies often hire the cheapest talent and produce low quality work, frustrating their clients. Because research estimates that custom software can cost more than $250,000 to build, failure is simply not an option. This article will help executives identify the four most common pain points encountered when outsourcing software development–and provide their solutions. Quality of Service Managers frequently note that poor quality of service as one of their biggest frustrations associated with software outsourcing services. This is because budget-focused outsourcing companies tend to inexperienced and low-cost software engineers–a strategy that excludes the most talented and in-demand software engineers who charge a premium for their skills. This approach often leads to disappointment down the line. Less experienced developers make significantly more coding errors than more experienced programmers. A single unqualified software engineer can write thousands of lines of incorrect code–mistakes that can take weeks or months to fix. The best way to ensure the quality of service is by performing due diligence before signing a contract with a software development company. Pay special attention to feedback from the company’s past clients, information about their past projects, and their sourcing and hiring process. The best companies will focus on hiring the best talent in their region, regardless of cost. Mismatched Expectations Mismatched expectations occur when the client and their outsourcing partner have different ideas about how the final software should work and feel. This is especially frustrating given the huge amount of work and resources necessary to build custom software from scratch. Research estimates that custom software can cost more than $250,000 to build–which means that failure is simply not an option. The best way to avoid failure is to set clear expectations from the beginning. Once a software outsourcing partner has been identified, it is important to document expectations in writing before signing a contract. Focus on the planning and requirements outline–this will clearly state how the software should function and what features it should have. In addition, create a plan for stakeholder and end-user involvement. This plan should ensure that they have access to a prototype as soon as possible. Ensure that software meets expectations by soliciting stakeholder feedback throughout the software development cycle. This will enable the development team to identify problems early on and ensure that the final product works as planned. Software Security Software security is the single most important issue in the tech industry. Recent reports have demonstrated that the number of data breaches has increased by 600% since 2005 and is on pace to break every historical record in 2019. These attacks cause tremendous damage to businesses. The White House estimates that malicious cyberattacks cost American businesses more than $100 billion per year. Just as importantly, a cyber attack that results in stolen consumer data can damage a company’s reputation and lead to lost sales. However, despite the importance of cybersecurity, many businesses and outsourcing companies fail to take software security seriously. That’s why the best tech managers are placing a heavy emphasis on cybersecurity throughout the entire software development cycle. The top software development services are leaders in the software security field as well. They integrate top software security methodologies like the Trusted Software Methodology and Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Security Development Lifecycle into all of their projects. Executives should make sure that their software development partners are integrating cybersecurity into every stage of the software development process–rather than limiting it to the testing stage like an afterthought. Language Barrier and Time Zone The language barrier and time zone difference are two of the most common issues associated with software outsourcing. Most of the oldest outsourcing companies are located in South and East Asia. Many of these firms have developed a reputation for hiring workers that struggle to communicate in English. American executives and developers alike have complained that their augmented software engineers cannot express themselves effectively in English. This makes collaboration with their in-house counterparts difficult and promotes misunderstandings. Furthermore, their workers are located across the globe from their American clients–making communication during business hours difficult. American software developers typically work from 9 am to 5 pm. But, since 9 am in San Francisco is the equivalent of 9:30 pm in Mumbai, instant communication and problem-solving is unlikely. American executives are avoiding the communication and time zone problems associated with Asian outsourcing companies by partnering with firms in Latin America. Since these companies are located in the same time zone (or close) as their American counterparts, they can collaborate during the same working hours. In addition, workers in Latin America are highly educated and typically fluent in English–making seamless communication a reality and eliminating language-based misunderstandings. Conclusion Software outsourcing has become a popular resource for companies interested in developing custom software for their clients or for internal use. However, the rapid expansion of the outsourcing industry means that many outsourcing companies lack the experience and technical expertise necessary to build custom software successfully. Executives can select the right outsourcing partner and increase their odds of success by understanding the four most common problems associated with software outsourcing. In addition, each of the solutions provided above should help companies outsource software development successfully and avoid wasted time and money.