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Biggest Risks When Outsourcing Web Development: Outsourcing web development can provide tremendous value through specialized expertise, cost savings, and efficiency gains. However, it also comes with major risks if not managed properly. From poor quality code to missed deadlines, there are countless ways outsourcing web development can go horribly wrong.
This article reveals the seven biggest risks when outsourcing website and app development – the deadly sins you must avoid at all costs. Read on to protect your next web project from turning into a disaster.
The First Deadly Sin – Lack of Vetting and Due Diligence
The number one risk when outsourcing development is failing to thoroughly vet potential partners. You must select an agency or freelancer with proven expertise, capabilities, and track record.
Cutting corners during the vetting process can lead to disastrous outcomes down the road. Red flags to watch out for include limited portfolios, lack of client references, poor online reviews, and inability to clearly communicate technical abilities.
Avoid this sin by creating a rigorous agency shortlist, extensively reviewing portfolios, checking references, interviewing teams, and trusting your gut instincts during the vetting process. Don’t risk your project with an unqualified partner simply because they offer the lowest bid.
The Second Deadly Sin – Lack of Documentation
Clear documentation provides a blueprint for product specifications, technical requirements, brand guidelines, workflows, and more. Lack of proper documentation breeds misalignment and confusion.
Outsourcing partners may miss important details and make incorrect development decisions without sufficient documentation. This causes extensive rework, blown budgets, and missed launch dates.
Document everything thoroughly – product vision, sitemaps, wireframes, style guides, product requirements, governance policies, and technical specifications. Leave no detail to chance.
Solid documentation takes time upfront but saves huge headaches when outsourcing web development. Treat documentation as your project bible.
The Third Deadly Sin – Poor Communication
Outsourced development requires aligned constant communication to succeed. Language barriers, time zone differences, and cultural gaps can hinder effective communication with offshore teams.
Critical details and feedback can get lost in translation without concerted effort. This leads to wrong turns during development which may not be caught until too late.
Bridge communication gaps by identifying primary points of contact, conducting kickoff workshops, providing reference assets, holding regular meetings through development sprints, documenting conversations, and clarifying requirements repeatedly.
Make communication a top priority, not an afterthought, when outsourcing web development. Clear communication minimizes missteps.
The Fourth Deadly Sin – Unrealistic Deadlines
Aggressive project timelines feel compelling but often lack basis in reality. Succumbing to unrealistic deadlines when outsourcing web development jeopardizes quality.
Development partners may cut corners and take shortcuts to meet arbitrary deadlines. This can result in sloppy, untested code with technical debt baked in.
Avoid this sin by being honest about project scope, accounting for uncertainties, and building in buffer time. Have your partner review timelines to ensure achievability.
Plan for multiple testing and QA cycles after development to catch issues before launch. Don’t let unrealistic deadlines derail your project’s quality.
The Fifth Deadly Sin – Lack of Milestone Tracking
Major web projects have too many moving parts to manage without defined milestones. Clearly outlining expectations around deliverables tied to payment instalments is crucial when outsourcing.
Without milestone tracking, projects risk scope creep, mismatched priorities, and inability to assess progress. By time problems surface, your budget and timeline are already blown.
Define milestones based on project phases – design round one, technical specification, backend code complete, QA testing, etc. Tie payments to milestone achievement to motivate your partner.
Rigorous milestone tracking limits nasty surprises when outsourcing development. Your project stays on time and on budget.
The Sixth Deadly Sin – Not Planning for QA
Many organizations look to outsourcing partners for development only then conduct quality assurance (QA) testing internally. This proves inefficient.
Thorough QA testing takes significant time. Not planning for QA with your partner leads to delays, un caught bugs, and coordination challenges.
Build QA into project plans with your partner from the start. Define test cases, provide access to staging environments, verify cross-browser compatibility, monitor site speed, and confirm security.
Robust QA testing ensures you launch a polished web product free of defects. Don’t treat QA as an afterthought when outsourcing.
The Seventh Deadly Sin – No Post-Launch Governance
Your partner developing the website or app isn’t necessarily best positioned for long term governance and enhancements after launch. A clear roadmap for post-launch support prevents problems.
Without defined plans, future development, bug fixes, hosting, domain management, and technical optimizations can fall through the cracks.
Discuss ongoing scope of work, hosting, maintenance, and support fees ahead of product launch. Document handoff plans, technology stack details, and knowledge transfer protocol.
Define detailed post-launch governance to get the most value from your investment when outsourcing web development. Don’t leave loose ends.
Key Takeaways – Mitigate Outsourced Web Development Risks
- Vet potential partners thoroughly based on expertise, capabilities, and track record.
- Invest time in comprehensive project documentation and detailed specifications.
- Make constant communication a top priority to prevent misalignment.
- Set realistic deadlines to avoid sacrificing quality and testing.
- Use milestones tied to payments to track progress closely.
- Build in comprehensive QA testing time with your partner.
- Map out post-launch governance for maintenance and support.
By sidestepping these seven deadly outsourcing sins, you can reap the benefits of development partnerships while minimizing risks. Take steps to confirm capabilities, document extensively, communicate clearly, plan realistically, monitor milestones, test thoroughly, and govern post-launch. Outsourcing web development done right brings tremendous rewards. Avoid these seven sins, and your next digital product is primed for success.