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5 Things Startups Should Consider Before Outsourcing Software Development

5 Things Startups Should Consider Before Outsourcing Software Development

It is not unheard of for startups to outsource some parts of their software development. There is a host of reasons why most startups resort to outsourcing rather than hiring an in-house software developer. The reasons could range from cost, the need for different expertise, a lack of time to develop the software alone, to the need to put the task in more experienced hands.

For whatever reason, there are key factors a startup should consider before taking the plunge into outsourcing software development. Below is a rundown of some of those key considerations startups should consider.

1. Nature of the Software

Before you outsource your software development to another company, it is important to understand if it is your key competency/competencies. (“Key competency” means are important qualities deemed by the company that an employee should possess.) The rule of thumb is that you do not outsource your key competency/competencies whatever the circumstances.

Entrusting your startup’s ‘secret sauce’ to a third party is similar to relinquishing control of your company.

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If the software is not at the core of your business, you may proceed to hire an independent software developer.

In the same vein, is the software operational or creative? Good practice is only to outsource operational products such as reservation systems or process automation— systems which may be large but mundane. For creative products like chip design programs, consumer games, or architectural renderings, do them in-house.

Also, is it a software product or a software service?

Software developers will agree that once a software product is written, it usually doesn’t need lots of effort and skill to deliver it to clients.

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Not so with software service. Software service is often customized for a specific need. Therefore, outsourcing service software almost always never works and needs to be managed carefully.

2. Technology Standard

Whether to outsource or not is also predicated on the technology standard of the software. If you intend for the technology to feature the most up-to-date technologies; to be scalable to handle many millions of users, and to feature multi-system failover and recovery, then you need to do it in-house. Don’t outsource. However, if it is simple software, opt for the lowest cost solution which is outsourcing.

3. Cost

Cost is among the most crucial considerations when it comes to getting any service or product. Outsourcing may provide you a cheaper cost depending on what you want accomplished.

When considering outsourcing, always think about the costs in the short run versus the long run.  Usually, outsourcing tends to provide better costs in the short run, but may not in the long run.

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You should also be able to identify what the other indirect costs are to see if outsourcing is the best option.

4. Intellectual Property Considerations

As you prepare to entrust your software development to a different independent company, it is important to understand that some legal jurisdictions have little, if any, respect for software as intellectual property. For instance, you may be aware that approximately 90 percent of software used in Vietnam and China is pirated.

Fortify your intellectual property against any theft and misuse by coming up with contracts and non-disclosure agreements.

 5. Ability to Get the Skills When They Are Needed

Most businesses need the input of a diverse range of resources and skills which you might not be able to acquire full time.

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For example, you might not be able to afford software architects, designers, and testers as full-time employees. The beauty with outsourcing is that it will permit you to access the resources when and as you need them.

Conclusion

If you have a typical startup and you agree with your co-founders to work on the first product without pay, that’s fine. Software outsourcing in such a case may not be appropriate.

However, if your firm is not software oriented and you need some software-related work to be done, you can consider outsourcing rather than hiring a team of software developers.

It’s for you to decide!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via static.pexels.com

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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