When you start a new partnership with an external company, there are always some initial challenges. But a good onboarding process is key to kicking off any collaboration. Read on to learn about the best practices of getting to know your software development partner for ultimate IT project success.
IT outsourcing – global trends
According to Mordor Intelligence (1), the global IT outsourcing market in 2021 was valued at $526.6 billion and is expected to reach $682.3 billion by 2027.
One of the main reasons for such a trend is the global tech talent shortage – in a study by McKinsey (2), 87% of respondents reveal they are experiencing some gaps within their talent pool or they expect those gaps to appear within the next few years.
Challenges around IT outsourcing
Given the statistics, chances are you will start an IT collaboration with an external partner in the nearest future. If you feel worried about it, you are not the only one. Companies say that when it comes to outsourcing, their biggest worry is the risk of a costly failure. IT managers are concerned with communication problems between them and their partners, with a possible lack of mutual understanding, with hidden costs, loss of control and a reputation damage that comes as a consequence.
How to kick off your IT collaboration?
Good news is that most of those problems can be avoided if you start your collaboration in a productive way. Trust, transparency and never leaving anything to chance are key when it comes to setting up a fruitful and honest partnership. But they all require time and effort on both parts.
Here are the most important aspects of kicking off an IT collaboration that you should think about when starting a new partnership:
1. Important first meeting
The very first meeting is always extremely important. This is the moment when you get to know each other, get a feeling of what the collaboration might look like, do all introductions. It’s crucial to use it to its full potential, so do get ready, know your priorities, and let your partner know exactly what you expect.
2. Show your partner the way you work
If you want your collaboration to succeed you must get to know your technology consultancy and software delivery partner well and let them know as much about yourself as possible. And there is no better way to get to know each other than to see where you work and how your teams are organised. Invite your partner to your headquarters and go to see them. Show them the culture your company represents and the values you stand for.
3. Give your partner access to knowledge
Knowledge is key when it comes to a fruitful collaboration, so you need to make sure your technology partner has access to it and knows where to look for it or who to ask about it. Be open about your company strategy, goals; make sure they know what exactly you want to achieve and how you want to do it. Show them how to address any gaps in knowledge they may have – indicate who will be the main point of contact in case of any questions and make sure you introduce that person and involve them in every stage of your project.
4. Agree on your processes
Communication (or the lack of it) is one of the most fundamental issues when it comes to all sorts of collaboration. The best way to tackle it is to agree on the way you work, on the processes you will apply, tools you will use, and the communication rules you will follow.
5. Summarise your meetings and discussions
It may seem pointless initially, especially if your business is not large, but at some point you will see that remembering all that was agreed is simply impossible or that sometimes you need to delegate some of your tasks. What would be helpful here is doing quick written summaries of meetings. What’s more, doing written summaries in emails is a great way of making sure the other side understands things the same way you do.
6. Keep in touch throughout your project
No matter whether your software development project will last for three months or three years, it is very important to keep in touch and do updates on what was achieved and what is still to be done. Regular updates are extremely important and allow for spotting any problems and fixing them as soon as they arise. A good idea is to set up a fixed date for those meetings so that the whole team knows about them in advance.
7. Remember about governance meetings and escalations
At some point of your collaboration, you may need a governance meeting to discuss any bigger changes or problems, and you should know who to invite to it. Also, in case of any bigger challenges, do not shy away from escalations – your collaboration will become much easier and more straightforward if you know how to go about them, should they happen.
Every time you start a collaboration with an external software development company, it is crucially important to onboard your IT partner in the best possible way. Trust, transparency and never leaving anything to chance are key when it comes to setting up a fruitful and honest partnership. Get ready for the meetings, show your partners the way you work and what your values are, invest time in giving them all the knowledge they need and focus on great communication.