How do you best evaluate the skills of offshore developers?
In the process of finding offshore developers it often becomes hard to do a practical evaluation of the actual skills strong and weak points of an individual, Do you have any good experience in how to find resources that fits your requirements well?
I would assess the providers on at least the following:
- Technical Skills
- Quality assurance
- Availability of key resources
- Communications skills
- Cultural fit
- Transparency and Flexibility
- Track record
- Industry and domain experience
- Value for money
I would weight these assessment criteria based on your priority as they may vary by the nature of the work and type of project. You can then score the candidates and make an objective assessment. Hope that helps.
Having just appointed an OS development company to build a new Software application, here's my learnings:
- Issue a detailed RFP for your project, requesting key points of information in the response, to include: Recent clients, recent sample work, detailed profiles of the team members who will work on your project, number of projects the vendor currently has in progress, what is the value of these projects, how many other new projects will the vendor be starting during the period of your development.
- As part of the RFP provide a detailed scope for your project and request that the vendors responding to the RFP work up circa 5 pages of the site (best you identify the 5 pages, so you can compare the results easily later)
- Ask the vendors to write some code against a brief so you can access their approach and audit their coding capability.
- Speak with references, if possible ensure some of these references have used the vendor for projects of a similar size to the one you are looking to place.
- Request for confirmation of accreditations, e.g. Microsoft Gold partner, and ensure you cross check these with the partner.
- Request a copy of the contract the vendor will be expecting you to sign if you appoint them. Key points to look for in the contract are around ownership of the final source code and how this will be transferred to you, with no copies retained by the vendor.
That's hopefully given you some direction, my advice would be stick with it as you are likely to generate significant savings. On the project I"m currently outsourcing the cost will be circa 30% of what Australian development teams where quoting on alike for like basis.