Getting the most out of your software development partnership

Peter Tylee 11 Mar 2021

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Tech companies almost always use development partners, yet managing them to produce a polished, releasable product on time is not only a challenge in and of itself, but one that multiplies exponentially when projects involve multiple parties across the globe. While an outsourcing partnership is often seen as an opportunity to cut costs, and one that empowers the company to focus on core projects, solve issues, and enhance quality, companies looking to do so must be aware of factors like the different roles and responsibilities in partnerships, the Partnership Life Cycle, and the often-overlooked aspects of cultivating an effective development partnership.

 

Roles and Responsibilities in Partnerships:

Multiple people are involved on both sides to help make better products and services for the clients. Some typical roles include:

● Project Manager (PM): A PM’s main responsibility is to identify deliverables, budget and schedule for the whole project.

● Partner Procurement Specialist (PPS): A PPS’s responsibilities include qualification, contracting and business management of the partner.

● Functional Manager (FM): Managing group of technical specialists.

Understanding how these gatekeepers work and providing them with the support needed to do their job is a crucial aspect of developing and maintaining a healthy partnership.

 

Understanding Partnership Life Cycle

The life cycle consists of 6 steps:
 

1) Search

In this step the main goal is to search for the best partner for your business. Keep in mind that while this phase can take time, it is essentially the bedrock of the partnership and impacts the rest of the process depending on whether it is done properly.

2) Qualification

This is the process of determining if the partner you’ve found has the competencies, capabilities, capacity, and compatibility with your company to accomplish your goals. This phase might include requesting the execution of a small development project to see how well the partner team works with your company’s team.

3) Engagement

Here, you and your partner have found common ground and come to an agreement about the contracts and/or service agreements to take place.

4) Symbiosis

In this phase, your partnership will begin to take effect. If you have selected the correct partner this phase will be short, and in this step some changes can happen for example changes in employees or roles.
5) Leverage

Finding, qualifying, and achieving a symbiotic and productive relationship with a partner company can then allow you to see a return on your investment.

6) Disengagement

Like all things in life, there may come a time where your partnership ends. This can happen for example if your company hires an in-house team to do the work. There’s always the potential that you may work with them again in the future.

 

Tips for cultivating an effective development partnership:

 

While there is always an abundance of factors to consider when you’re trying to get the most out of a software development partnership, it is important to keep a few simple tips in mind.

First and foremost, a company must find a partner who understands the business they’ll be developing for. Finding a compatible partner can make the difference between success and failure. The software development partner must have a solid grasp on the challenges you face (or in some measure be enthusiastic about acquiring the necessary domain knowledge) in order to implement effective software solutions. Ideally the partners you’re looking for will share the same passion you do, which will become evident in the quality of their deliverables.

Second, clearly discuss your security policies. The software development vendor should specify the administrative and technical controls which they apply to ensure the security of your confidential data. You must also make sure that the agreement with your partner guarantees the protection of your information and intellectual property.
Third, it is important for the development team to be aware of the overlap hours with your company. In a globalized world, it is common for even small teams to be composed of geographically separate members. Being aware of how and where your potential partners work will help to schedule calls and planning sessions.

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Written by

Peter Tylee

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