Software product development differs significantly from enterprise software development, not only in terms of processes and design approaches but also in terms of development, testing, and long-term maintenance.
When it comes to enterprise software development, a software engineer is tasked with creating a platform or application that is custom-built for the needs of a specific client in a particular industry. This process involves extensive research and testing to ensure that the product meets the requirements of the user base without any additional effort given toward market analysis, roadmap planning, design, and scalability beyond what is required by the single enterprise.
As such, they can focus on devising an approach that gets them from point A to B with minimal time invested in researching how it can benefit multiple audiences.
When it comes to outsourced software product development services, a higher degree of intricacy and complexity is essential.
For a product solution to meet the needs of multiple clients in various industries, a lot of thought and consideration has to go into each function’s design and development. To get from A to B in this scenario, the software engineer must build each feature with an array of potential variations in mind. Not always do users share the same goals or objectives. So to be successful, product development includes analyzing the differing wants and needs, ensuring that the solution can cater to them all at once.
As you contemplate outsourcing product development, it is critical to be aware of the different expectations between an outsource product development (OPD) vendor and a traditional enterprise software solution provider.
Here are seven essential qualities that should factor into your vetting process before partnering with an OPD vendor.
Product Thought Leadership
The success of any OPD project relies upon the vendor’s comprehension and appreciation of product lifecycle management. It is essential to have a team with experience in software product development that understands how to create products that will stand the test of time rather than short-lived, one-off custom solutions. An ideal team for this type of undertaking should have practical experience with software product organizations.
Knowledge and understanding are fundamental components, but having the right competencies is crucial to any successful OPD engagement. To construct a productive mindset within an organization, leaders must build teams and processes focused on packaged solutions; for instance, understanding the importance of numerous releases, selecting suitable tools and technologies, automation, and continual optimization. The same can be for gaining an insight into how best to maintain multiple items over a prolonged period while enhancing their value through further development.
Product Mindset: Business Analysts and UX Designers
It is essential to consider the various roles and contributions of individual leaders within the leadership team since they together form a holistic core that is essential for success.
Business analysts and UX designers with an understanding of different users and industries, in addition, are crucial. This type of role requires in-depth consideration of all facets of every feature, not just from the perspective of internal users but from a market perspective, taking into account all potential personas, profiles, actors, and roles. It is a challenging job that involves predicting all outcomes for each functionality based on those user roles.
Therefore, these key players must think outside the box when it comes to the design and implementation of features – constraining themselves within a real-world context while simultaneously being able to envision what could be possible to meet customer needs as much as possible. Such visionaries are indispensable for developing a successful product that stands out amongst competitors.
Designers, Not Just Coders
It is imperative to have engineers on the team who can think critically about creating a product and not just be able to write code that fulfills the given requirements.
Designing a product requires much more effort. It necessitates taking into account architectural needs, deployment strategies, design flexibility, performance improvements over time as the customer base increases, international considerations, hosting solutions (such as cloud and local hosting), multi-tenancy designs principles for security and configurability, management tools for administrators to utilize for automation of continuous integration and deployments, and providing support services.
Thus, an OPD provider with these capabilities will have a distinct edge over its competitors. Additionally, they should be able to plan for potential future issues such as scalability problems due to increased demand, updating or refreshing user interface layouts for a modern look and feel, or developing new features according to customer feedback.
Moreover, they need to consider various aspects like safety protocols with confidential-data-handling practices and cost-efficient pricing models according to market trends and conditions while still offering competitive features that keep up with industry advances.
Testers With an End-User Mindset
Testers with a product-testing approach tailored to their area of expertise are the ideal choice for an OPD project. Rather than merely adhering to established test scripts, these testers put themselves in the shoes of their end-users, ensuring effective and comprehensive testing of new releases.
Since real end users wouldn’t be involved in the development phase, as they would with traditional enterprise software projects, it pays to have testers who are able to evaluate both requirements and suggest improvements that better fit each user’s needs. This means going beyond mere functional validation and being more proactive in providing helpful feedback so that users get the most out of the product they’re using.
It also involves considering how different scenarios might affect usage and delivering solutions that factor in these potential issues. Domain-specific testing of this kind thus requires a lot of creativity and experience, making it invaluable for successful OPD projects.
When selecting a vendor to outsource your product development, you should look for an OPD vendor with a track record of sustaining their commitment over the long term.
Long-term engagement means more than just having a contract in place; it implies that the same team responsible for creating the product will be present throughout its multiple-year development cycles and available for any maintenance or enhancements needed. This type of dedication will not only facilitate the initial launch of your product but also ensure that it maintains its high quality and grows with time.
As such, ensure that your OPD provider can develop, manage and improve your product’s lifecycle properly and is willing to stay involved for years to come.
High Employee Retention
Finding a vendor with zero attrition may be nearly impossible, but if you’re looking for a service provider that offers long-term engagements, a partner with an impressively low attrition rate is something to consider. Having the same engineers and managers who began the project finish it is invaluable since product development requires a substantial timeline. Retaining veteran employees is another key to achieving positive results and having projects come to completion as intended.
Furthermore, high employee retention indicates that there are happy and satisfied workers in the workplace. This type of environment tends to promote productivity and creativity – 2 factors that are critical for advancement and growth.
Working with an OPD vendor can be a complex yet incredibly fulfilling experience. Behind the scenes, the professionals are experts in software development and make your decision to go for them rather than enterprise solutions all that more worthwhile.
Healthcare Domain Knowledge and Compliance
Creating products in the healthcare sector necessitates a deep understanding of US healthcare regulations. With the current heightened security measures and increasing focus on patient safety, companies involved in healthcare must ensure that they are accounted for as covered entities under HIPAA guidelines, which include strict stipulations concerning data protection. OPD personnel must adhere to all HIPPA protocols, with annual security training being a mandatory requirement.
Furthermore, staff members must be knowledgeable about other laws, regulations, and industry best practices that affect the secure handling and use of protected health information.
About the Author
Kaushal Amin is Chief Technology Officer for KMS Healthcare, a HealthTech software development and testing services firm based in Atlanta, GA, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He was previously VP of Technology at LexisNexis and a software engineer at Intel and IBM.