Why should you always start software outsourcing projects with a workshop?

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Software outsourcing has risen in popularity in recent years. As more companies rely on external team extensions and technology partners, Technavio research predicts that 2020 will be a year to welcome even more IT outsourcing projects and that the market will flourish at an annual growth rate of over 4 percent.

If you are reading this post, then most probably you are already looking to outsource some or all of your IT operations. In one of our recent entries, we described three crucial foundations you need for working with a technology partner. Starting a software outsourcing project without a decent understanding of your business goals, processes, and problems won’t get you far. How do you plan to solve a problem without knowing where it lies?

You can go for guesswork and risk putting your time and money into finding answers that won’t make much difference to your business, or ascertain the right questions during an initial assessment workshop. Such an approach can save you hassle and money – just as it did for one of our clients.

In this post, I will explain to you why organizing and attending an assessment workshop is vital before closing any deal, and even more importantly, why IT outsourcing companies should deliver it for free. Read on!

The initial workshop is the key to software outsourcing success

At Scalo, we often get inquiries from clients who know from the outset what precisely ails them and how they can cure those ailments. Yet, when we start asking more in-depth questions, we discover that their pain often lies in entirely different places.

Our team focuses on pinning down and grasping the real challenge of the client before rushing into software development work. The majority of software development takes place remotely. That’s why the opportunity to interact with all project stakeholders at once – from both the client and developer side – are scarce.

The initial workshop presents a chance to get everyone together. It’s a chance to get on the same page on the project scope, goals, and needs. Such sessions serve as a point of departure for a deepened analysis of the problems and blockers, which may result in adopting a joint strategic and tactical action plan.

Not to mention, all instances of face-to-face contact are crucial to building trust and improving communication, which helps drive the success of software outsourcing projects.

The recipe for a productive initial workshop

There are a few ingredients, rules, and steps one needs to follow to ensure that the workshop serves its purpose.

First of all, you need to select the right participants. From our experience, you can expect the best outcomes when the following set of stakeholders attend the initial assessment session:

  • your business’ side: the CTO, IT project managers, lead developers;
  • the software outsourcing company’s team: account and technical delivery managers, a software or technology leader.

Then you ought to decide on the session scope, time, and place. Our workshops tend to take between 2 to 4 hours, and we recommend organising them at our client’s offices. Of course, we also hold online sessions; however, contact in person is unrivalled.

Our initial workshops always follow an agenda, however, it’s not too rigid. We want to allow for random discussions, regarding various matters cropping up throughout the meeting.

What if I prefer to skip the workshop?

Of course, we don’t force anyone to attend a workshop against their will. Yet by skipping it, your business faces several risks.

First, you miss out on the opportunity to get a better understanding of your needs. While you think you may know what you require, the real challenge often lies in a radically different place than initially envisioned. A lack of proper intel can strike you badly when selecting the service, elements of the tech stack, or team members – leading to unnecessary waste and spending.

The workshop is an opportunity to confront the initial assumptions with reality, and to make the right choices. We often hear from our clients that such sessions helped them gain a wide view of their existing development practices. It gave them a better idea of areas where they needed to improve performance or product quality.

Second, BEFORE signing a contract and jumping into a long-term commitment, you lose the opportunity to learn about your technology partner’s work culture and ethics. The workshop is the moment to start interacting with your potential vendor’s team. Both parties discover each other’s modus operandi–and withdraw or align accordingly BEFORE any work commences.

Finally, if any technical or business issues have yet to be spotted, the workshop is the best moment to find them before it visualizes in the work.

OK, so you said such a workshop should be free?

Yes, you heard it right. At Scalo, we believe that you should get such a session free of charge. If you’re going to pay for software outsourcing services, then why don’t you expect more from your technology partner?

It’s a win-win situation for both sides. By learning more about your challenges and goals, the vendor can come up with a bespoke action plan for your business.

In the next post, we will share our client’s story, so you can see how it works in practice. Stay tuned!

Want to see how out outsourcing services may boost your software development? Arrange a free consultation with our experts. Contact us!

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