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Measuring Communication & Quality Standards in Software Outsourcing firms

How to find and evaluate software development firms? How do you know that one is more suitable for your needs than another? What are the warning signs that you’re mismatched with your provider? What can you do to ensure a fruitful collaboration that takes your business a long way?

These are all the questions we are answering in this series of articles. We are EZtek!
In today’s article, we are going to tackle one of the most important aspects to check before making your decision, the provider’s communication processes and standards of quality.

Communication processes and collaboration tools

Needless to say communication is a critical component of any collaboration success. So, it should never be underestimated and should always be crystal clear and straightforward. But for software development, it’s also a very broad term with different components.

Now there are five types of communication you’ll have to handle with your teams. Be familiar with each of them and understand how your prospective provider approaches each.

#1 Project and Task Management

What are your workflows like?

In our experience, the number one software development tool for Agile teams is Jira. It’s a full-featured task management, team collaboration and reporting tool that you can use to manage your Kanban boards, scrum boards and other projects. Jira is super flexible and allows for unique workflows and processes so you can use a configuration that really works for you and your team.

How does your team control their code?

Do they use Devops lifecycle tools such as Gitlab or Github? Clarify how your team should work in terms of project planning, source code management, version control, etc.
Make sure you understand how they manage communication flows and frequency around these tools and in which framework they operate.

Most of the providers should be very well versed in using Agile/ Scrum methodologies, which is the gold standard process of the software development industry.

How does your team control their code?

Do they use Devops lifecycle tools such as Gitlab or Github? Clarify how your team should work in terms of project planning, source code management, version control, etc.
Make sure you understand how they manage communication flows and frequency around these tools and in which framework they operate.

Most of the providers should be very well versed in using Agile/ Scrum methodologies, which is the gold standard process of the software development industry.

#2 Daily Interactions

How will you communicate daily updates with your local and distributed teams? Where do you share feedback and assignments? There’s a huge number of messaging apps available like Slack, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Zoom or even email. See if you’re comfortable with whichever app the outsourcing vendor uses for day-to-day interactions between teammates.

#3 Cultural Awareness

The invisible part of communication is the cultural difference. Make sure that your provider is training its staff on cultural awareness. The people you will work with should share your organization’s understanding of the differences between individuals and their respective backgrounds. This is why at EZtek, we constantly promote a heightened awareness of cultural sensitivity to both our clients and employees.

#4 Progress Report and Team Status Update

Communication includes reports on your team’s progress. Ask what their practices are in terms of hour logging, project monitoring and progress reporting. Make sure you’re always aware of what has been done, by whom, for how long, what the next steps are and so on.

This is super important in terms of accountability and transparency with your team members. For example, at EZtek, we provide daily and weekly reports from every single team member.

#5 Escalation Process

  • How does their Escalation Policy (if they have any) work. Is it acceptable to you?
  • How do they document issues?
  • How long do they attend to an issue before deeming it unsolvable?

These are a few essential questions that you and your provider may also need to address before going further.

Standards of Quality

Before the collaboration can start, both parties need to agree on the expected quality of work. Particularly, what is their take on the essential industry standards?
  • What does the provider think about commenting code?
  • How do they ensure high quality, legible code?
  • Do they adhere to the clean code principle to control the quality of what they produce?
  • How about testing the code?
Of course, don’t overlook the expertise of the developers. What are their respective education levels, credentials and previous work experiences?
How does the provider pick the right candidates and make sure those individuals continuously upgrade their skills? What are their feedback processes for quality, developers and so on.
  • What does the provider think about commenting code?
  • How do they ensure high quality, legible code?
  • Do they adhere to the clean code principle to control the quality of what they produce?
  • How about testing the code?
Of course, don’t overlook the expertise of the developers. What are their respective education levels, credentials and previous work experiences?
How does the provider pick the right candidates and make sure those individuals continuously upgrade their skills? What are their feedback processes for quality, developers and so on.
These factors say a lot about the type of company you’re dealing with, especially in how they uphold standards of quality in whatever aspect. There are many other processes, tools and standards we could talk about. These are simply the ones that we get the most questions about when we speak with prospective clients. We hope this helps.

Let us know if you have more questions by contacting us. We provide software development, UI/ UX design and testing services to top brands worldwide.
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