Mark Garnish and Simon Hill have had a long, successful history of working in Legal Technology and helping law firms across the world.
Their new venture post Tikit, Xperate plugs an interesting gap for mid level Law firms and smaller Legal Tech vendors that require development and project management resources.
In most western economies it is becoming increasingly difficult to find good software developers, if you can find them you have to manage them and then you have to retain them.
Large enterprises have recognised these challenges for years which is why many of the major outsourced services businesses in Asia and beyond have thrived. Many of these same enterprises have gone on to open their own offices in the same locations. This shift to the East isn’t just about reducing costs (although that clearly helps), its mainly about getting access to talent.
Many SME’s struggle with the idea of outsourcing software development. They feel they will lose control, have budgets that are constantly exceeded and end up with a disappointing product at the end of it all. All of these things can and do happen and many people have experienced it but it doesn’t have to be that way.
With nearly 10 years of experience in outsourcing software development (and I did have the choice to keep it all in-house) I have heard all the stories about what has gone wrong but here are three key lessons I have learned:
- You need to treat every member of your outsourced team as though they are your direct employees irrespective of who actually pays them. Your contract is with your outsourcing company – your relationship is with your team.
- Be prepared to travel at least once a year (when we are allowed of course). If you are in London and you have an office in Manchester with team members based there you would go and see them. The fact that your team is overseas and several time zones away makes that journey even more important especially if you are signing a multi-year contract.
- Make sure you have met (virtually if necessary) the leaders in your new team, not just the account manager. You have to be able to establish a relationship with them and if you don’t get on, your project stands more chance of failing. Your team should be more aligned with your goals and your strategy for the length of their engagement with you than they are with their own companies aims.
Follow these basic principles and you will have access to a fantastic pool of experienced talent who will really help drive your business forward delivering quality products, on time and on budget. You may also get to visit some beautiful parts of the world.
COO Xperate Limited
Outsourced Software Development for SMEs