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How To Find a Reliable Partner For IT Outsourcing: a Step-By-Step Guide

Published on 
July 9, 2020
Danil Vilkhovskiy

Selecting an IT outsourcing company is a task of great responsibility. Choose the wrong one, and you may end with a poor result, broken deadlines, and even project disruption. The whole procedure may seem complicated and daunting to you. Especially, when it is your first time and you do not yet know all the nuances. So, keep reading to get a full understanding of how to find a reliable house for your software development.

Step 1. Shape your IT project needs and requirements

Yes, we urge you to begin with a deep analysis of your software development needs, challenges, and requirements. To clarify, it is crucial first to understand what is your starting point and destination and map your route as rigorously as possible. No one leaves home without knowing where and how to go. The same way, no one starts looking for a software outsourcing company without knowing what he wants from the project contract.

Here are some tasks to perform at this stage:

  • Set project vision and its goals
  • Specify targeted features of the solution
  • Clarify special requirements for the final build
  • Specify your milestones and deadlines
  • Define the required technology stack
  • Plan a project budget
  • Prepare your RFQ

Step 2. Make your vendor shortlist

Just as you never consider staying at the first hotel you came across while traveling abroad, never consider handing over your project to the first software development company as well. So, do some preliminary research and compose your list of vendor-to-be candidates selected out of IT outsourcing companies that fit your criteria in the first instance.

Here are some freelancing and B2B platforms and directories we recommend you to visit in your research:


Many of them have filters that enable you to narrow your search down. To clarify, there are millions of companies that provide software outsourcing services around the globe. Therefore, search filters significantly simplify your scanning. For example, you can filter outsourcing companies by their:

  • Specialization and industry focus
  • Company size (that is why you need to understand your project scope and your deadlines)
  • Average hourly rates (that is why you need to understand your budget), etc

Also, it would be great if you know someone who has already outsourced his software development and can recommend you a vendor to deal (or not to deal) with. Yes, a vendor-never-to-deal-with shortlist is an important part of your finding the right vendor. After all, you don’t want to waste time and money just to affirm or deny their disrepute, do you?

Step 3. Verify your shortlisted vendors

Here, verification means conducting a deeper research for your shortlisted vendors to exclude those who are not the right one for your exact case. Here are some details about the candidates to pay attention to:

  • Technology they use
  • Service focus
  • Expertise in your targeted domain
  • Number of completed projects
  • Average (and the longest) project duration
  • Development methodology (is there agile or only waterfall model?)
  • Number of their developers and ability to ramp up the team assigned to your project, if necessary
  • Reviews about their previous works (in terms of final results and workflows), communication and collaboration approach

Visit their websites to know more about them and their services. Examine their portfolio. Contact companies to ask your questions about their expertise and experience. Read available reviews, feedbacks, and testimonials (whatever your, other customers, or a platform may call it). Ask and check their references. Discuss their vision of your project implementation and solutions they can offer. At last, verify their proficiency and coding practice.

Step 4. Analyze bids

Having gone these three steps, you will probably leave on your shortlist, perhaps, no more than five or six companies that are worth further considering. Now, it is time to send them your RFQ and analyze their bids.Here are some tips on what things to take into consideration when analyzing and comparing bids:

  • Look first at man-hours and only then at project cost. Definitely, rates may differ from company to company. In contrast, man-hours provide a great comparison basis and reveal the company’s understanding of the project scope. (That is why you need to evaluate the project scope at the first step.)
  • Beware of too low rates and prices. Overestimation is bad for your pocket, but underestimation may be even worse as it will definitely result in additional expenses that are not factored in now.
  • Analyze milestones a company suggests for the project. Compare them between each other and with your milestones and deadlines.

With five or six bid proposals in your hands, you have a very large room for decision.

Step 5. Discuss the contract and collaboration details

The cost makes the difference and determines. However, there are other things that matter as well. To clarify, you need to discuss certain contract clauses and guarantees, communication and collaboration details before making your final decision.

Here are some points to touch and analyze in your negotiation:

  • Technical support guarantees (terms and conditions)
  • Availability guarantees (especially in case of significant time zone difference)
  • The way they are going to manage your outsourced software development project
  • Their ability to understand you and express their ideas and vision
  • Communication roadmap

Step 6. Make and test your decision

Now you come close to choosing a vendor you are going to entrust with your software outsource project. Choose the one who has convinced you in their ability to deliver the result you need, the one who wins your trust. Choose and try them with a pilot project (if possible) to make sure the vendor not only seems to be proficient and reliable but really is.

Well, here you come to the end in your vendor-finding journey. We hope this guide will help you find the right outsourcing partner for productive long-term collaboration. Good luck with your project!