How to build foundations for working with your technology partner

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We’ve already told you how beneficial it is to stop equating IT outsourcing with body leasing and to focus instead on finding a technology partner.

From scaling your IT operations to injecting the know-how, processes, and tools into your organisation, there are many dimensions in which a reliable partner can support you. Their technical skills, insights, and versatility can improve your relationship with business and help you to better respond to changing needs.

If you’ve already invested in IT outsourcing, why not ask for more? Chances are you’ll not only begin receiving better service, but you’ll also save on unnecessary development, just like one of our clients. Our assessment of their processes proved they should start small instead of investing immediately in a large team. As a result, they saved big by addressing the most pressing issue first. They gained a strategy necessary to scale their IT operations successfully.

This situation wouldn’t have been possible if our client had been closed to the idea of working with a technology partner. So, how do you prepare for such a relationship?

First, identify and share the goals of your organisation

What challenges are you trying to solve? What are the requirements of your business? How sure are you that you are approaching these problems from the right angle?

Your partner is there to help you. Share your business problem, rather than ask them to focus only on a specific section or assignment. Surprising as it may sound, the market is imbued with body leasing. An external team can help you discover another approach that can prove to be more beneficial.

If you’re wary of sharing your goals, for instance because of IP matters, your extended development team will then focus strictly on solving software issues. As a result, you won’t take full advantage of their gained experience from developing applications in different sectors. You will not benefit from the improvements they can introduce to your project to shorten the TTM or enhance the customer experience.

Remember that your partner is bound by an NDA with hefty fines for disclosing your confidential information. Don’t miss out on your chance to get expert advice–two heads are always better than one!

Second, be ready to analyse your development process

If your team has focused on one product or process for a while, most probably you could benefit from external feedback. We by no means want to say that your procedures are faulty, but if there are any areas for improvement, they can be easily spotted from the outside.

An external technology partner can analyse your existing software development processes, identify your pain points, and suggest ways to optimise your IT operations. These elements are crucial to establishing an action plan that will save time, and thus money. Don’t spend effort on fixing mistakes stemming from inconsistent procedures, unclear requirements, and miscommunication.

If you haven’t hammered out a process of collecting and passing business requirements on to the development team, the first to suffer will be your User Stories. Instead of presenting a well-defined scope of work, they will most likely feature a description of one or two sentences. This form will impede creating sufficient estimates and smooth development as your engineers will be spending more time sorting out what’s needed rather than delivering it.

There are many more examples of issues arising at the intersection of development and business, such as, the impact on quality assurance in the project, the way UATs are performed, or code review standards. Even though these elements aren’t directly related to the team’s experience and skillset, they can still impact the time and cost of software development.

Your external developers may all be aces with outstanding CVs and experience. If you don’t give your technology partner a chance to manage the team and the processes for you, you won’t be able to benefit from their expertise fully and risk not meeting your goals.

Third, find the right solution to the problem

A while ago, we highlighted the importance of having an internal data security policy in place before outsourcing IT operations. The same principle applies to introducing new procedures in your organisation, for instance, following your development process analysis.

Of course, being aware of the gaps in the process is crucial. Still, the ability to create and implement new procedures at the intersection of two organisations is of equal essence. That’s why solutions must adequately match the situation in your business and technology landscape. It’s not about ensuring your extended team fits in with your organisation, but about streamlining existing processes and improving development speed and efficiencies.

An excellent example comes when a team decides to increase the learning curve to develop new modules faster.

At Scalo, we assigned individual members to all types of related activities–from R&D to core app development and maintenance. As a result, our specialists grasped different aspects of the client’s business ecosystem and predicted the implications of process adjustments. This knowledge directly translated into improved communication and effectiveness, as well as lowered the number of bugs.

I hope these foundations will help you start off on the right foot with your new technology partner. Stay tuned, as in my next post I’ll be sharing more ideas on developing an efficient relationship with your external IT team.

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