SDLC: What It’s Like in IT Outsourcing?


SDLC: What It’s Like in IT Outsourcing?

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If you fail to plan, you plan to fail - truly is a guiding principle to all custom software development. This is especially relevant when you’re outsourcing it.

As a business owner, you’re concerned about the quality of the final product and expect to get the work done quickly and at the highest level.

Thus, you need to ensure that you both (you and your outsourcing partner) have a comprehensive understanding of what needs to be done and how to accomplish your goals. One way to do it is to define your software development life cycle (SDLC).

This article will walk you through everything you need to know about SDLC and outsourcing, from what it is to the most efficient outsourcing SDLC models that will bring your project to success.

On the spot

The Software Development Life Cycle describes a structured workflow that facilitates software development. 
While working with an outsourcing partner, your SDLC will depend on the chosen engagement method.
If you decide to go with staff augmentation, i.e. temporarily hiring a few professionals to your team, the SDLC will be completely defined by you.

If you’re working with a dedicated team, these stages will be divided between your company and the outsourcing partner.

A development center model assumes that your outsourcing partner takes over the whole SDLC and adds an additional stage - requirement gathering and analysis - to allow your outsourcing partner to gather all the necessary information to deliver a satisfactory result.

If you want to learn more about how SDLC is affected by different engagement models read on!

What is the Software Development Life Cycle?

Software Development Life Cycle offers a structured flow of development processes that help a company build flawless, high-performance software. It describes a process dedicated to producing high-quality software within a specified time and budget.

Traditionally, SDLC was viewed as a series of steps, with each phase of software development devoted to a specific activity. The modern development cycle uses DevOps and Agile approaches that somewhat compress these processes.

Companies can use different SDLC methodologies to develop, maintain, and test software. The SDLC process will vary depending on the method chosen.

Mind you, there’s an ambiguity with the abbreviation. SDLC can also stand for System Development Life Cycle, a series of stages involved in developing a new computer-based system, from ideation to creation, release, and maintenance.

Software development and system development are similar in terms of the stages involved, but system development is a broader term because it encompasses both hardware and software development.

Outsourcing software development has its specifics when it comes to the SDLC organization. The engagement model you choose greatly influences it.

At SENLA, we support all modern development models and the most popular IT outsourcing engagement models. For this reason, we propose you review outsourcing SDLC workflows through the prism of our practice. We’ll be able to give you a decent broadly-encompassing overview of the topic and allow you to familiarize yourself with different approaches to SDLC when outsourcing software development.

SDLC with Key IT Outsourcing Engagement Models

1. SDLC with Staff Augmentation

Commonly called outstaffing, staff augmentation allows our Clients to be fully involved in the development process. In this outsourcing engagement model, companies hire extra talent to upscale their development team based on their needs.

The Client decides on which grounds they require specialists and who exactly fits their needs. For example, they may come to us for tech talent in specific niches that may be harder to hire locally, such as big data developers.

With staff augmentation, the Client generally oversees the development cycle’s core processes, from assigning tasks to establishing communication and approving team members. Our experts work under the Client's management using the workflows, engineering practices, and communication styles their company uses. Obviously, in this case, SENLA’s specialists follow the software development cycle established by the Client and their development team.

Staff augmentation offers our Clients an excellent way to tailor a team and use them in the best way to achieve their software development vision. This strategy also gives them access to our quality global talent in 5 HQs who can speed up the development process.

At the same time, outstaffing poses some challenges, for example, when it’s difficult for experts to get used to a client’s processes, especially if they join mid-project. The main challenge for them is to seamlessly integrate into the new team and its preferred SDLC.

We at SENLA aim to overcome this challenge by preparing for it in advance. As said, we support all actual software development models. This greatly facilitates our staff’s collaboration as a part of a Client’s team.

In CVs given to Clients, we also provide information on what methodologies candidates have the most experience with so that our Clients can consider this fact when selecting the talent to join their team.

This approach is ideal for anyone who wants to quickly fill in a small talent silo without all the accompanying recruitment hurdles. Consider choosing staff augmentation services in the following situations:

  • When you want to bring in specific, hard-to-hunt talent fast
  • When you have a strict deadline and can’t onboard new staff
  • You want more involvement in the development process
  • When you want creative control over SDLC

2. SDLC with Dedicated Teams

This model, generally implied when talking about outsourcing, is used when our Clients need to develop some certain functionality — a new feature, an integration, etc.

In such a case we’re not only able to supply them with talent fast but also give a significant advantage of reducing micromanagement. Our dedicated teams handle the tasks independently from start to finish.

The Client is only actively involved at the inception when picking developers and agreeing on scope, timeframes, and deliverables. Our teams operate within the Client’s global SDLC but we also have our own smaller flows that may consist of planning, development, testing, and retrospective of one separate sprint (if the global project's development model is Agile).

From then on, we take all management upon ourselves, typically syncing with the Client during bi-weekly Friday demos (but it depends on the agreed-upon conditions). For us, it’s crucial to stay in touch with the Client and foster communication throughout the SDLC.

The exact team composition, as said, depends on our Client’s requirements but here’s one of the project pods that we’ve found to be particularly efficient  — The SENLA Unit.

The image depicting SENLA's Unit in a SDLC

It’s led by a senior developer, who sets up processes, oversees a team, and reports to the Client.

The main executing force is our middle developers who are fully self-sufficient to handle all project tasks on their own. If they face challenges, they ask for input from their senior colleague who applies their broad expertise to find a solution.

We also add one or more junior developers to the pod so they can grow in a safe and predictive environment, fostering their sense of self-significance. They typically handle individual, low-complexity tasks.

Such an approach not only helps us execute our Clients’ tasks the most efficiently, and cultivates a culture of mutual support and respect within our staff. It also helps us execute the smart cost optimization strategy for our Clients in a very efficient way. Witness this yourself:

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At the start of the project, together with the client, we agree on timeframes, deliverables, goals, and scope.

Hiring dedicated teams is ideal in the following circumstances:

  • If your in-house team doesn’t have the necessary expertise
  • If you want to bring in enough talent fast
  • If you want to decrease micromanagement

3. SDLC with a Development Center

We provide custom software development services through our offshore development center model which involves end-to-end management of the whole development cycle. This is the most hands-off and traditional software development outsourcing model.

Before the project starts, we estimate the approximate development time and development costs for our Client.

The software development lifecycle itself is fully managed and carried out by SENLA but we always include the requirement gathering and analysis stage in the general SDLC. The goal is to collect comprehensive information on the Client's needs for the software. We engage with the Client to clarify every specification and feature and analyze these requirements, considering how they fit into the software's design and code.

The SDLC methodology we choose will depend on a Client's requirements. The most popular SDLC methodologies include the following:

  • Agile: This is a flexible and fast development process where developers test and revise new software iterations as they go. In agile SDLC, developers adjust the software based on feedback. 
  • Waterfall: This method follows a strict approach to software development where each SDLC phase is planned before inception, and every requirement is settled before moving on to the next development phase.
  • Iterative: In this approach, developers implement requirements without extensive planning. They test items during product development and revise them if need be. 
  • Lean: This method helps enhance productivity and minimize costs by eliminating multitasking.
  • Spiral: This development method involves a cycle of testing and refining. Developers identify possible risks before every new cycle to avoid errors.
  • V-Model: This entails testing the software during each phase of software development. 
  • Prototyping: Involves creating a model and outlining how a proposed system will work. It allows clients to view a system’s capabilities before testing or coding. 

We have a full-format article on the 10 most popular development models, be sure to read it if you want to know more.

You should opt for this development model when:

  • You want the full-cycle implementation of your project by an expert team
  • You don’t have enough talent to implement a project in-house
  • You don’t want to go through a massive recruitment process
  • You want to maximize ROI from your smart cost optimization strategy
  • You want to easily scale the talent (our center can give out up to 100 experts per year)

Want To Discuss Your SDLC?

SENLA offers staff augmentation, dedicated teams, and development center options to cover all of our Clients’ needs. We’ve assisted more than 350 businesses in developing high-quality software.

Whether your objective is to optimize costs, develop high-quality software, or speed up software development, our team has proven expertise. Fill in the form below today to discuss a suitable software outsourcing model for your business.

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Strengthen your SDLC by hiring talented professionals or working with SENLA's development center!

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Why Senla?

Cost reduction

With SENLA, you can save around $16,200 in administrative expenses for every engineer and $30,600 in talent retention, support, and hiring.

Access to talented personnel

Our team comprises over 600 experts so that you can pick those that best suit your needs.

Diverse culture

Our company has offices in 5 locations across Europe; this helps us understand and navigate different work cultures.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you protect your intellectual property when outsourcing software development?

Intellectual property theft is among the biggest apprehensions organizations have when outsourcing development. It’s essential to check a vendor's terms of IP protection and have them sign an NDA before working with them. We pay special attention to intellectual property when designing an outsourcing agreement. Additionally, you can check out our tips on how to protect your software and intellectual property.

Why do firms outsource IT functions?

Some of the reasons why companies outsource IT functions include the lack of in-house expertise, the need for cost-effective niche skills, or the desire to focus on core competencies. Such companies choose outsourcing because they don’t want to restrict themselves to local partnerships. We also have a full-format article on why companies choose to outsource, so check it out if interested.

How can an organization estimate the cost of outsourcing software development?

In simple words, one can work out software development outsourcing costs by determining a project scope first. It will define development time and a team’s size with roles. Then one needs to multiply the estimated time by the hourly rates of the modeled team. This will give a very rough reference point for the project’s cost.
For you to comprehensively study the topic, we’ve prepared thorough articles on development time and development cost estimation, packed with insights. Be sure to check them out if you want to learn more

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