Why you should subcontract more software development

Most companies develop their software in-house using a team of engineers. Your company should probably subcontract more of its development work.

Many managers like it that way; they can see whether the team members are working and they like the fact that their colleagues can see that the manager is responsible for a large team.

However, it’s often not an efficient way to work. The teams are often made to work in an open plan office (or cubicles in America) where everyone bothers everyone else, with conversations, telephone calls, meetings, etc.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Some of the work can be sub-contracted to engineers such as myself, working at their own premises. The contract engineer can then get on with the work each day, with no travelling time to work and few disturbances. Of course, this means that the work is judged by results, not by the amount of time, like a team member in the office.

The two major problems with software development projects are that they are often over budget and are delivered late. Large companies often accept this situation – but there are alternatives. If some of the work is sub-contracted, it’s possible to specify a fixed delivery date for each work package. The company also has more control over the costs.

There are a few preconditions for successful subcontracting:

  • has to be a certain level of trust between the contractor and the company
  • it has to be the sort of work which can be performed externally
  • it can’t be classified (secret) development
  • the manager has to be prepared to write a statement of work
  • the contractor has to do the work
  • the company has to pay on time

Visit my site at: www.garthwaite.info