Outsourced software development reduces the costs and time-to-market, but all is in vain if your product features faulty code. Quality code is maintainable, extendible, well-documented, and well-tested. It’s easy to read, understand, and oversee. Other important attributes are efficiency, lower technical debt, and consistent code formatting that follows the relevant conventions. The more of the criteria the code meets, the better your chances of success. This article should help you get an appropriate code quality from IT outsourcing Ukraine partners.
Choosing the Right Outsourcing Partner
Many risk factors can be mitigated when you are only looking for a mobile or web development outsourcing company. You may start on Clutch or other websites that provide information about such companies, including prices, reviews, and links to their websites.
A company’s site speaks for itself. A blog can provide information about the company’s expertise, how they handle technical issues, and any experience in your field. Analyze the portfolio and search for case studies showing more details about relevant projects and technologies. If there are websites, check them out. If there’s a mobile app, check the ratings and user comments on App Store or Google Play, or try it yourself.
Examine the company’s infrastructure and quality certifications. A good IT vendor provides a full stack of services, from UX/UI design to support, and uses agile methodologies which allow tracking the progress continuously. If needed, contact the company’s former clients and get first-hand feedback on how it works. Look at its contributions to open-source projects, such as GitHub. Explicit comments and organized documentation indicates the company’s developers are meticulous and well-organized.
If you’re satisfied with all of the above, proceed to communicate with the company. Ask about their workflow and whether you’ll have insight into the process and participate actively. Does the company offer a guarantee on its code? Does it provide the maintenance and support services, e.g., for a year or another agreed term? The more attention it puts to QA and maintenance, the more reliable it is. Continuous integration and continuous deployment, automated testing, and test-driven development also facilitate outsourced product quality.
Clear prioritized expectations and requirements also ensure the delivered code’s appropriate quality. The requirements to code and the technologies to ensure its quality must be agreed with the offshore team in advance to make sure you’re on the same side. Include all these issues in the service level agreement.
A reliable outsourcing partner will include quality requirements into the software development agreement. In general, the statements should include, but not be limited to:
- Acceptance testing period. Usually, during 5-10 days you can check your website/app. If something is not working according to the specification, it should be fixed on the vendor’s expense.
- Software warranty period. Usually, the product should stay free of defects at least for 120-180 days.
- Provisions on:
- delivering versions of the product regularly;
- terminating the agreement in case you’re not satisfied with the quality of work;
- well-documented code and handing it over to your in-house team at the end of the project;
- the absence of viruses or any other malware;
- support after the project is completed.
Sign agreements about who owns the code for which you pay and where your code comes from. (If the developers used pirated code, there’s a risk of an IP lawsuit.)
Quality Assurance in the Process
QA specialists aren’t the only ones responsible for the quality. All team members should make sure that the code they are returning is working as expected. Regular reviews and varied testing is required:
- Regular code reviews help you have a comprehensive view of the development process and prevent issues down the road. Most IT companies have regular meeting-based code reviews. 72% are doing “over the shoulder” code reviews, and 63% tool-based code reviews.
- Functional testing focuses on what happens when users interact with the product. Code quality is measured based on how well each feature functions.
- During unit testing, the developer analyzes every single line of code for errors. This method ensures the proper functioning of the software because developers can quickly find bugs that may have corrupted it.
- Regression testing is performed after all coding modifications. Looking at how each new code affects the software, the team makes sure that no flaws have been created.
The product must be checked for bugs or deviations from the technical requirements throughout the development cycle. Take corrective actions promptly and, if needed, consider using internal resources or a third party for review and test responsibilities.
A right version control tool is the foundation of the system. Git, the most popular tool for version control, also facilitates seamless collaboration. You need a platform for effective communication and a system that makes all participants accountable. GitHub or a similar service will help you see exactly how the remote developers work and give you a real picture of the code quality. JIRA is a popular tool for bug tracking and project management.
Set up regular short meetings with the offshore team and have all product-related issues that arise addressed between the meetings. The free Skype and Google Hangouts can facilitate screen sharing and face-to-face communication between you and the offshore team. Slack can be integrated with GitHub, JIRA, Trello, and Google Drive.
Most of the risks associated with offshore software development can be avoided by careful selection of the outsourcing partner, a detailed agreement, and good collaboration coordination. Make sure you have agreed and documented the deadlines, QA process, project acceptance, software warranty period, and project support term. Transparency in communication, systematic code analysis, and multi-level testing and maintenance further promote appropriate code quality.