Delegating software development of your product to the external vendor, always raises the same question – how to find the best one? Software outsourcing brings many benefits to the business, at the same time, this process is full of challenges. Here are some questions you should ask the vendor to make your outsourcing endeavor as risk-free as possible. Define Development CapabilitiesAsk the potential developer about the fields of specialization (ex. iOS, Android, Ruby, etc.), the size of each team and their successful projects. It will help you to understand what can you expect from the cooperation and final product.Review the Case Studies, a Portfolio of Previous Projects and Ask About Software EstimationHow the team typically estimates the cost and time of building the software, and how accurate they usually are? Ask the vendor to provide relevant examples from the portfolio and details of client involvement (design, strategy, development, team size, technology leveraged and length of the project). What about intellectual property rights?Make sure that contract clearly stipulates a full IPR transfer at the end of the project. Also, it is crucial to sign the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), so the trade secrets and other sensitive information are protected by Law. Also, to make cooperation more clear you may adopt the Information Security Policy. The ISP sets rules to control access to sensitive information, addresses the issue of safe data storage, transmission, and processing. How will you control the work of the remote team?Of course, you need to be sure that team, located far away from you, has no issues working on your product. Also, you may take part in the candidates’ selection process for your specific project. If you have an opportunity to meet the team – use it for building mutual relations based on trust. How will they handle the time zone difference?As a lot of companies from the USA outsource projects to Europe and Asia, in this case, an important thing to pay attention to is the time difference. Most of the outsourcing companies are adjusting to the customer needs, and make product development process more efficient. Evaluate the working hours, time difference, set up time for meetings and communication. The vendor will work in order to set up the workload accordingly to your specific needs. What about cultural difference?Even though the modern society is globalized and cultural differences are not as big as used to be a decade ago, some mentality differences should be taken into account. It is important to understand sayings in the correct way. For example, if the contractor says that project will take a month, will it be a real month or a couple of those. Will the meeting take place at 5 pm, or the 5:15 pm? If the contractor says: “I hear what you are saying”, does that means that your remarks will be taken into account, or you will be ignored. So, the best advice here is to learn about the culture you are going to work with. Will the same people be assigned to your project for the whole development process?This question helps to determine if the prospective partner can deliver and retain staff experienced with your software during the development phase. There are some additional questions that may help you:Will your staff work full time on my project?Will I be told if you are changing the staff that works for my project? Are the assigned staff employees of your firm or do they work as contractors?What is the turnover rate at your firm? (If it is consistently more than 10% on an annual basis it could signify retention issues and pose a risk to your project.)What will happen after the project is done? After the project is finished – you have to be sure that final product will be maintainable. Make sure that you are not left with the project one by one, there are some most important things:documentation transfer;code maintainability;product warranty;“Who will own the finished product, will you receive the source code and related materials?”Wrapping UpWhile outsourcing may seem like a stressful undertaking, there are a lot of benefits of working with an external vendor. It is cost effective and allows you to get solid tech expertise on the budget. Just do your due diligence and choose a dependable vendor who is up for the challenge of building your dream product and will deliver maximum business value.