Ihor
Feoktistov

From Office Tables to Local Taxes: How Offshore Software Development Price is Formed?

#Dedicated teams

How to get maximum quality and efficiency at the minimum cost? That’s the question that bothers many business owners. You want to bring your idea to life before someone else comes up with something similar, but you need to do it right. 

One way is to assemble an in-house team. This would include recruitment, onboarding, planning, management, accounting, and all that jazz. You may need a bigger office with a few more workstations. In other words, it’s going to require more money and more time, which you don’t necessarily have.

The other way is to outsource the development team. Here’s how it works. You partner up with a foreign contractor and they do all the work for you. Many companies go for this option because it’s thought to be faster and more cost-effective compared to having more employees locally. But is it as cheap as it seems? 

In this article, we’re going to explain what factors make up the cost of software development outsourcing. You’ll see why your invoice might not be as small as you expect and why it’s still worth it. 

The Factors that Makeup Software Development Cost

Imagine that you’ve partnered up with a Ukrainian software development team. What exactly are you going to pay for? 

Office 

The first and most obvious factor that makes up the price of offshore software development is the cost of office space and related expenses. This includes rent, furniture, technical equipment, office supplies, food, and drinks (water, coffee, tea, cookies/fruits). 

Even if the company assembles remote teams, they still need the office to do it. For example, here at Relevant, we have specialists working with us in-house, but we also have access to a large talent pool of freelancers in case our clients need extra brains.

Hiring 

Every client has unique needs, and when it comes to gathering development teams, it’s always a process with multiple stages. From figuring out how many specialists the client needs to conducting multiple levels of interviews, there has to be someone to take care of it all. 

That’s why software development outsourcers usually have several recruiters working with the team full time and getting paid for their expertise. Without them, it would be impossible to assemble a qualified team so fast and integrate into the clients’ projects smoothly. 

Vacations 

Let’s not forget that we’re working with real people. And even though some of them are super motivated to work tirelessly 365 days per week, it’s not a healthy story. The developers are working with the clients overseas, but they are treated like regular full-time employees with all the perks and days off.

The company is legally required to provide time off to employees, which includes state holidays and annual vacations. Also, whenever someone is not feeling well, it covers a certain amount of seak leaves. 

Education 

Software development is a skill. The new technologies and solutions emerge all the time, so it’s super important to keep it sharp. Also, since Ukraine is not an English speaking-country, ensuring that the team speaks the language at a decent level is a must. That’s why many IT companies pay for their employees’ language courses. 

Every respectful offshore software development firm invests in the education of their employees. Otherwise, they won’t be able to compete on the market. Here at Relevant, for example, we make sure our specialists get access to the latest knowledge. We arrange mentorship programs for new hires, hold internal lectures, and have a full-time English teacher in-house. 

Taxes 

If we are talking about Ukraine, the cost of living here is much lower than in other European countries, not to mention the United States. That said, the taxation system here is generally favorable for the IT-sphere. You’ll find our local corporate taxes pretty comfortable compared with yours, so it won’t be as much of a financial burden for you as it would if you had an in-house team of the same size. 

Non-tech employees 

We’ve already mentioned HR managers and recruiters, but they are not the only not-tech employees working in the organization. There are also project managers, accounting staff, cleaning, and other office maintenance services. All these people ensure the smooth work of the entire office.  

Accounting work

One of the best things about working with an offshore software development company is simplicity. When you have an in-house team, you are the one dealing with employee salaries and accounting. But if you are working with an outside contractor, you don’t have to worry about anything. As a client, you will simply receive an invoice. All the behind the scenes work will be done for you. 

Why cost shouldn’t be your primary driver  

What do you mean, you may ask? Why else would I need to outsource if it won’t save me any money? 

First of all, outsourcing software development is going to cost you less anyway. It’s just that the price shouldn’t be the most important factor in choosing a contractor among several alternatives. 

The vendor that offers the lowest cost on the market cannot provide the best quality by definition. From what you can tell after learning about all those pricing factors, software development outsourcing is a complex service. Therefore, every aspect plays an important role in the outcome.

Lowering the overall rate would require significant trade-offs in certain aspects, and it’s a sure way to end up with poorly qualified developers who can’t seem to get on a call with you in real-time, have difficulties communicating in English, and have nothing in common with your company culture. 

We don’t need to mention that as the result of such collaboration, you’ll lose more than you gain, so be wise about it. 

Summary 

Outsourcing a software development team can become one of the best business decisions you’ve ever made. However, for this move to work out as good as expected, you need to be willing to invest. Now that you understand how offshore development cost is formed, it’s going to be much easier for you to find a reliable partner overseas. Feel free to contact us to learn more about how you can hire an offshore development team.

Ihor
Feoktistov

Top 7 Tips to Speed Up Your Software Development

#Dedicated teams

Have you ever seen a business that doesn’t care about the development speed? Or a client that couldn’t care less about the release date? Neither do we, and it’s not surprising. 

Every organization we’ve ever worked with was under pressure to reduce time-to-market and maintain their market share. Unless you have a significant market dominance like Microsoft or Apple, you’ve got to move faster than your competitors. 

Unfortunately, very few teams can handle overwhelming task loads and tight deadlines. Regular burnouts and high turnover rates become a norm for many software development companies, but it surely is not the way to go. 

In this article, we’re sharing actionable tips on how to speed up software development and optimize overall workflow in a tech company. These simple changes can make a day and night difference for your team.

What software development speed depends on? 

The speed of software development depends on a few key factors:

  • development process complexities;
  • quality of code;
  • team size;
  • human factor. 

Let’s discuss each. 

Development process complexities

Every developer faces numerous challenges during the working process. These complexities may be associated with: 

  • the technical side of the project (such as complex software architecture, third-party integrations, innovation, and so on);
  • project requirements (unclear goals and objectives);
  • unreasonable deadlines (e.g. when the estimated project length does not match with the actual scope of work);
  • structural mismatches and internal issues within the company, etc.

Software production becomes even more challenging when the team has to deal with several complexities at once. The more problems they have, the slower the development speed will be. 

Quality of code

Everybody knows that writing a high-quality code is a time-consuming process – it’s either done well or done fast. However, super tight deadlines aren’t going anywhere. Whereas cutting down some corners is inevitable, compromising the entire code quality will eventually increase project duration. You’ll have to fix the errors anyway, but it’s going to be much more difficult (and more expensive). 

Team size

The success of each project depends on the efficiency of internal communication. If there are more than seven people in the team, finding the common ground becomes more challenging. The optimal team size for the most productive cooperation is up to five people. The solution for large projects that require more people is to divide the developers into smaller groups based on the project components each of them is working on. 

Human factor 

The performance of the whole team depends on the contribution of each member. If everybody on the team is skilled, experienced, and self-motivated, the job will be done much faster. That’s not to say that less-skilled developers are a no-go. They may eventually become the most valuable asset in the entire organization, but it’s still going to take some time to get them on board and help them grow. 

How to boost your software development process without wearing your devs out 

The efficiency of the software development process is easy to hamper, but there are quite a few things you can do to make sure your team doesn’t run into these challenges. 

How to speed up your software development without compromising the product quality and wellbeing of your devs?   

1. Expand your team 

Sometimes, the project deadline doesn’t match its scope. The obvious solution to this problem is adding more resources. If you want to handle more code, hire more developers. That’s what we do for many of our clients here at Relevant. With the help of our staff augmentation services, an organization can get any desired specialist or even a whole team for the required period. We take over the entire recruitment process whereas the client’s team stays focused on software development.

2. Work with small teams and small components 

Something as simple as breaking down a big piece of work into smaller manageable chunks is also applicable to software development. A recipe for highly productive software development, according to Venkat Rangan (Clari Inc) is entrusting small components to small teams. Combined with systematic tests and integration, it brings amazing results and lets the developers accomplish their goals much faster.

3. Set clear requirements and roadmap 

You’re going to achieve much better results if you take time to plan every step on the way. If the development team is very clear on the project requirements and goals, if they know exactly what to do and when to do it, you already save a lot of time on discussing what’s next. Create a roadmap of the entire project and discuss it with the team before the beginning of the development process. While they’re still going to be some challenges along the way, at least they won’t have to rewrite the code.

4. Limit your work in progress (WIP)

One thing that helps us make the development process more efficient is limiting the amount of work in progress. When there are too many tasks, things tend to get overwhelming. Not only it hampers the development as multitasking goes up, but it also puts extra pressure on the team. Many project managers use a kanban board to manage the development process. If you use it too, try to specify the maximum number of tasks allowed on each column. It will give enough time for planning, feedback, and review. 

Source of board template

5. Leverage the Lean approach 

Taking the Lean approach to software development means optimizing development time and resources, reducing waste, and focusing only on what the product really needs. It basically means working on what truly matters. To make sure your team is moving quickly and efficiently, build your software in small increments and get user’s feedback as early in the process as possible. With this information, you’ll be able to make necessary adjustments while the development goes on.   

6. Avoid technical debt 

Technical debt is a conscious decision to choose a not-so-great solution to speed up the development process. It’s not a bad thing if you do it strategically and have a plan on how to make up for it later. Otherwise, technical debt leads to system complexity. You may cut the corners now but you’ll still have to deal with it later. Until then, the problem is going to get much worse. So whenever it’s possible to write a proper code from the get-go, do it.

7. Automate as much as you can 

Although you can’t “automate” software development in a traditional sense of this word, you can still take a lot of work off your developers’ shoulders. Here are some of your options. 

Automated testing

Automated testing is probably the best way to reach a compromise between speed and quality. Thanks to the repeating scripts, anyone can run tests in regression without the need to repeat the same steps manually. It gives more time for working on the new features as the old ones are being checked automatically. Whereas it’s much more effective than manual testing, running multiple tests across various devices and browsers still takes a lot of time. When the product quality is not as important as getting it to the market on time, you might want to leave testing for the users.

CI/CD pipeline 

Continuous Integration (CI) is a software development approach, according to which every developer in the team merges code changes in a central repository several times a day. Continuous Delivery is the practice of automating the software release process. Implementing a CI/CD pipeline can significantly increase development speed due to lots of factors. It removes manual errors, provides instant feedback, and enables fast iteration. 

CI/CD Pipeline

Workflow automation tools 

Your team needs to communicate. Such aspects of the development process as task management, project meetings, workflow discussions, and so on seem insignificant, but they tend to stack up. You can easily save at least an hour per day by implementing an automation app like Zapier, which will automate repetitive tasks. 

Summary 

Here at Relevant, we know from experience that it’s possible to speed up software development without sacrificing product quality. We’re actively using these tips to help companies extend their development teams. Check out our case studies and visit our ​service page​ for more details. 

Andrew
Burak

Recruitment Process at Relevant Software: How We Select the Best Talent

#Dedicated teams

The search for a skilled professional with the relevant experience can take months on end, but customers don’t wait. That’s why every business tries to fill in the vacant positions as soon as possible. However, the recruitment process is the wrong time to rush. If you hire from the hip, it’s going to backfire. To make sure it doesn’t happen to our clients, we’ve developed a thorough vetting mechanism for attracting and recruiting the best talent. 

In this article, we’ll take you through each stage of the candidates’ selection process at Relevant Software. 

Ukrainian IT landscape 

Over the past decade, Ukraine became known worldwide as one of the best IT outsourcing destinations. It’s even sometimes called a Silicon Valley of Europe. How come that such a common country with modest economic growth became one of the biggest IT hubs in the world? There are a couple of things about the Ukrainian tech scene you might find interesting. 

Ukrainian tech education 

Some of you may not know but Ukraine is a goldmine of tech talent. The IT Ukraine Association notes that over 20,000 tech students graduate in Ukraine each year. The local IT clusters collaborate with the best Ukrainian state universities helping them keep their curriculums up to date with the latest business innovations and tech trends.

It’s very common for many established Ukrainian IT companies to offer internship programs and professional courses. After two to four months of training, the best trainees usually receive job offers. 

Currently, Ukraine is ranking fourth in the world by the number of tech specialists, and the amount of tech experts is only growing. Based on the report by GSA​, the number of people working in IT engineering will reach 200,000 in 2020. So when it comes to hiring the most skilled IT experts, our country offers a pretty large talent pool. ​

Quality of code in Ukraine 

Quantity is awesome, it means that there is a lot of people to choose from. However, the thing that matters most is code quality. Ukrainian software developers are recognized by SkillValue as some of the world’s best professionals with an average score index of 91.26%. Also, our engineers scored an average of 88.7% across all​ ​HackerRank​ challenges. So whenever you decide to partner up with the Ukrainian team, you are sure to receive a great product. 

Relevant Software reputation on the local market 

Our company has been serving clients both locally and overseas since 2013. For all these years in business, we’ve acquired a decent reputation as a trusted and skilled IT partner. We are also a member of the Lviv IT Cluster ‒ the organization that unites the best IT companies in Lviv, the heart of Western Ukraine. Our office is located in a picturesque location in the city center and we take pride in being known as one of the best local employers with competitive salaries and a favorable working environment. Our people are our most important asset and we are super-precise when it comes to employee selection. 

So what’s our recruitment process?  

The candidate assessment at Relevant 

A promising talent is hard to find, but the result is always worth all the effort. When selecting the best candidates for a job, we take them through multiple assessment levels to determine their hard and soft skills, and in case of the remote teams ‒ to see whether they are a good fit for a particular client’s project. Here’s how we go about it. 

CV review 

The selection process starts with a review of the candidates’ CVs. This is the initial stage during which we single out the applicants with relevant experience and skills. The selected candidates are then invited to the video interview with a recruiter. Our HR specialists hop on a call with an interviewee to check their soft skills, tell them more about our company, and ask about their expectations. If it’s a match, then the person gets to the next selection stage. 

English assessment

Effective communication is an essential requirement for the success of any project. Here at Relevant, we work with clients from all over the world, and we want to make sure that our engineers understand them well and can easily answer all their questions. Clearly, a good knowledge of English is a must for working in our company. We have a full-time English teacher in-house, who helps us to evaluate the English level of candidates. 

In-person interview to check hard skills 

If the candidate successfully passed the previous stages, we proceed to a more specific technical examination. The next selection stage is the interview with our senior developers/QA engineers/project managers, during which they check the hard skills of the candidates. We always include practical tasks to see how the applicant is going to deal with the actual task. 

References check

A candidate might be the most skilled person for the job, but it’s also important how they get on with the team. That’s why those who successfully passed rounds of tests and interviews are asked to provide the names and contact details of at least two-three persons as their professional references. The recruiters contact these people and document their comments and remarks for future records.

Final interview

After the person has passed all the stages and the recruiters have done the reference check,  we conduct a final interview with our CEO to agree on terms and make a final decision. If it’s a yes, then we prepare a job offer and send it over to the candidate. 

Summary 

Having the right people on the team is a guarantee of the high quality of work and a comfortable workplace environment. We put every applicant through multiple evaluation stages to not only understand if they are good for us but also to make sure we are good for them. As a result, we build powerful teams that deliver the best results for our clients. 

Would you like to work with us? Reach out to our specialists via this ​contact form​

Ihor
Feoktistov

How To Hire DevOps Engineers ‒ A Step-by-Step Guide

#Dedicated teams

Did you ever wonder why it’s such a pain in the neck to find a qualified DevOps engineer?  There’s always some obstacle. Either the candidates aren’t qualified enough to keep up with your needs, or the rates are so crazy you’re not sure you need them anymore. 

While other companies deploy project after project, you’re still trying to figure out how to meet a single deadline with an X amount of devs (which is obviously NOT enough).

Sounds familiar?

If you’re looking for a DevOps engineer for your project, this article is for you. Keep reading to learn more about the hiring process and what are some things you might be overlooking that hamper your recruitment process

Let’s dive in! 

Outline Your Requirements First ‒ DevOps Engineers Responsibilities 

Before we move on to the DevOps engineering hiring process, let’s define who this person is and what DevOps actually means. The term is coined out of the two words ‒ “development” and “operations”. A DevOps engineer is a person who is skilled in both. It’s a versatile expert whose main function is to help different development teams improve specific parts of code and enable companies to improve their platforms based on what they already have. 

Interestingly, DevOps as a job title is kind of made up by the industry, which means that there is no step-by-step process on how to undertake this career. Whether or not someone can apply for DevOps position depends on their skills and experience with coding and working in different teams.

In short, DevOps engineer is someone who:

  • Understands the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
  • Has a solid grasp of different automation testing tools for developing continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines.
  • Can successfully manage the entire DevOps team.

So what are the main responsibilities of DevOps engineer? 

  • Application and Infrastructure planning, testing and development.
  • Maintaining CI/CD pipelines.
  • Automation implementation.
  • Ensuring security.
  • Ongoing monitoring.

Let’s take a closer look at each. 

Application and Infrastructure Planning, Testing and Development

DevOps engineer’s job is to fill the immediate business needs. In their day-to-day, DevOps look at the individual functions of the cloud environment and write code to scale them. To pull it off, a person needs to be able to write small snippets of code in several languages. They also must be skilled in testing, and big-picture planning (integrations and additions across many systems). 

Maintaining CI/CD Pipelines

DevOps engineers are responsible for building a CI/CD pipeline and making sure that all the processes, people, and tools work in sync. They can spot areas of improvement and optimize the pipeline on the go. When DevOps engineer does the job well, the team can continuously test without hampering overall speed.

Automation Implementation

Automation is the reason why organizations hire DevOps engineers in the first place. DevOps are responsible for its implementation and their job is to boost the efficiency of both engineering and IT. Meanwhile, companies can focus on more strategic tasks. 

Ensuring Security 

DevOps engineer’s job is to support the users of the infrastructure they develop. The best way to ensure safety is to build reliable software, to begin with. Writing secure code that will be protecting the cloud against hackers and viruses is a valuable skill for a DevOps engineer. 

Ongoing Monitoring

Collecting data and understanding how to act on it effectively is crucial for every organization. That’s why DevOps engineers monitor their apps and infrastructure to detect and oversee the blind spots, observe them, and troubleshoot possible issues. 

What are the Most Important Skills for DevOps? 

Clearly, the skillset required for such professionals is far above the average. In one of the surveys conducted by DevOps Institute for their Enterprise DevOps Skills Report, C-suite executives, managers, and individual contributors were asked to rate the importance of the different skill categories for their DevOps team members.  

Take a look at the results. 

Most important skills for DevOps

The expectations are generally pretty high, but they vary slightly based on the desired experience level.

Are there any differences in job requirements for, say, junior and senior DevOps engineer? Most certainly, there are. Let’s examine them closer. 

Skills Required for Junior DevOps Engineer 

  • Understanding of Agile, Waterfall, SDLC.
  • Understanding of version control tools.
  • Knowledge of CI/ CD tools. 
  • At least one programming language. 
  • Understanding of Docker images, containers, and registries.
  • Knowledge of Infrastructure Management tools.
  • Understanding of cloud computing.
  • Good communication skills in English (written, spoken).
  • Soft skills (self-motivated, detail-oriented, strong team player).  

Skills Required for Middle DevOps Engineer

  • Solid knowledge of CI/ CD tools.
  • Good knowledge of version control tools.
  • Good experience with bash scripting/troubleshooting.
  • Knowledge of 2+ programming languages.
  • Solid understanding of cloud computing services.
  • Infrastructure Management skills.
  • Proficiency in automation tools.
  • Good communication skills in English (written, spoken).
  • Soft skills (self-motivated, detail-oriented, strong team player).

Skills Required for Senior DevOps Engineer

  • Proven expertise in using CI/ CD tools.
  • Proficient knowledge of version control tools.
  • Experience with bash scripting/troubleshooting.
  • Knowledge of 3+ programming languages.
  • Proficiency in cloud computing services.
  • Expert-level Infrastructure Management skills.
  • Proficiency in automation tools.
  • Excellent communication skills in English (written, spoken).
  • Soft skills (self-motivated, detail-oriented, strong team player).

DevOps Engineers Salaries in Various Countries

Given the number of skills required for this job, it’s no surprise that the salaries of DevOps engineers are pretty high. However, they fluctuate greatly based on many factors: 

  • individual skills 
  • professional experience on related jobs,
  • country of residence
  • the company, etc. 

To illustrate, let’s compare DevOps salaries in three different regions. 

Disclaimer: The numbers discussed further are just an estimation and may vary based on the aforementioned factors.  

RegionYearly earnings (junior)Yearly earnings (middle/senior)
Ukraine$ 7 900 $ 31 500  
United States $ 70 000  $ 178 500
Europe (e.g. Nehterlands) $ 34 000 $ 79 000 

Job Description Example for DevOps Developer 

When searching for an ideal DevOps engineer, pay special attention to crafting an appealing and to-the-point job description. It will save you the hustle of turning down the applications that don’t fit the requirements. 

Below is the example of a DevOps engineer job description you could use as a reference in your search. 

Introduction

[Your company name] is a company that specializes in […]. Right now, we are looking for [junior/ middle/ senior] level DevOps Engineer to fill in a vacant position in our team. You will work at the intersection of Development and Operations to design, code, test, and optimize great solutions for clients.

Job Role and Responsibilities

Who You Are:

  • A highly motivated person with a passion for building scalable and efficient products.
  • You have very strong communication skills in English, both written and spoken.
  • You are a great problem-solver.
  • You are [familiar with/have a solid understanding of/ expert in] operating systems such as Linux, Windows, iOS and Android.
  • You have a [basic/ solid/ expert] understanding of programming in languages, such as […].
  • You are [interested in/ understand/ the expert in] Design Thinking Methodology and Agile.

What You’ll Do:

  • Build, deploy, configure, and maintain systems in […] environment.
  • Work closely with the development team to ensure a continuous integration environment. 
  • Optimize and automate processes, using tools like […].
  • Troubleshoot and solve issues in development, testing,  and production.

Required Expertise

  • Must have [basic/ solid/ expert] knowledge in [Java, Jenkins, Puppet, Docker, Bash, Python, Ruby, etc.]

Preferred Expertise

  • Experience in […] 

Interview Questions to Ask DevOps Developer

Supposing, you’ve picked a few good-looking CVs. Now, how do you determine whether any of them are a good fit? Very simple. Asking the right questions will do the trick. After the interview, you should be able to tell whether the candidate has the necessary hard and soft skills to become a perfect addition to your team.

Hard Skills 

Below are the examples of interview questions for junior, and middle/senior developer to check their hard skills. 

  • What DevOps tools do you have experience with? Do you want to master any other tools? 
  • What is version control and why should it be used?
  • Why are Configuration Management Processes and Tools important?
  • Can you explain the concept of “Infrastructure as Code”(IaC)?
  • What is meant by Continuous Integration and how would you ensure it?
  • What is the difference between orchestration and classic automation? What are some common orchestration solutions?
  • Why proper instrumentation and measurement are important for  DevOps culture?

Soft Skills 

Many companies value personality and soft skills over technical expertise. After all, you can deepen the knowledge or sharpen the skill, but personality stays the same. Here are some questions you can ask during the interview to make sure a candidate fits in your company culture.

  • How would you describe the functions of an ideal DevOps team?
  • What skills have you learned to help you get better in a DevOps role?
  • What does the perfect release look like? Who is involved, and what is your role?
  • How would you go about diagnosing and fixing problems in production?
  • A deployment just failed. What steps will you take to remediate the situation?
  • How would you improve DevOps strategy in our company?

Hiring DevOps Engineers: 3 Ways to Go 

When it comes to hiring DevOps engineers, there are three popular options: freelance websites, recruiting agencies, and outsourcing companies. Let’s review all three in detail.

Hiring Freelancers 

Freelancer platforms like Upwork, Freelancer.com, YouTeam, Toptal are very popular when it comes to finding specialists in the IT sector. The principle behind these platforms is the same. You set up an account, create a job post, choose a freelancer (or a team of freelancers), and start a contract. 

Client interface on Upwork

Pros of hiring a freelancer:

  • Much cheaper rates;
  • Reviews from previous clients; 
  • Wide range of specialists;
  • Great for minor changes and short-term projects.  

Cons of hiring a freelancer:

  • No guarantees;
  • No formal contract signed;
  • Possible language barrier;
  • Different time zones;
  • Management complexities causing more harm than good. 

Working with Recruiting Agencies 

Another widely used option is partnering with recruitment agencies. Here’s how it works. You let the agency know what positions you’d like to fill and they provide the recruitment services to the extent that you prefer, from identifying qualified people to conducting interviews and candidates selection. The cost of their assistance may vary based on their service model:

  • Executive search ‒ the employer pays an up-front fee for assistance filling a role
  • On-demand recruitment ‒ flexible support at an hourly rate
  • Recruitment process outsourcing ‒ the employer entrusts the entire recruiting function to the agency.

Pros of working with recruitment agencies 

  • More time for important strategic tasks; 
  • Access to more qualified candidates.

Cons of working with recruitment agencies 

  • The cost of recruiting;
  • Lack of control;
  • Indirect candidate access;
  • Potential communication issues.

Hiring DevOps Engineers through IT Companies 

This is probably the best option for projects of any size and budget. It’s less expensive than hiring in-house employees, but just as reliable.

Pros of hiring DevOps engineers through IT companies

  • Cost-effectiveness; 
  • Guaranteed expertise and reliability; 
  • Dedicated manager for each project; 
  • General team experience and quality work.

Cons of hiring DevOps engineers through IT companies

  • Different time zones;
  • Possible language barrier. 

Outsourcing individual experts or even the entire teams through IT companies is super convenient. They are not only qualified but have all the necessary technology in place. All you need is to share the details of your project and cooperate along the process. Sounds like a plan, isn’t it? But make no mistake, there are still some pitfalls to beware. 

The truth is, finding the right outsourcing company can be a challenge. You’ve probably heard all these urban legends about the worst outsourcing experience. However, if you take this process seriously, your project will end up in good hands. To find a reliable IT company, go beyond Google search. Places like Clutch will help you find accurate information about each team and referrals from colleagues will encourage you to make the best choice.  

Our company also provides team extension services. Here’s how it works in Relevant Software. 

Our Dedicated Team Set-Up Process 

It’s super simple. First, we gather the client’s project requirements, agree on the desired workflow, team size, deadlines, and deliverables. Next, we assemble the team, select the best-suited experts, show you CVs, invite you to perform the final interview, and smoothly integrate into your ongoing project. As a result, you complement your team with needed experts and finalize all the work successfully without any recruitment hustle.  

How We Help Companies to Get DevOps Engineers on Board 

We enjoy helping startups, mid-sized businesses and digitalizing enterprises transform the future with actionable solutions. Take a look at some of the projects we provided engineers to:

  • 24Onoff ‒ Efficient time-tracking and project-management SaaS platform for the construction industry. 
  • Biderator ‒ An auction platform for construction work that connects contractors and clients and provides them with a transparent bidding process.  
  • FirstHomeCoach ‒ A platform for a UK-based fintech company for navigating buyers through the property purchasing process. It connects them with trusted advisors, who in turn, help buyers secure a mortgage, get insurance, and handle all the legal paperwork. 

Summary 

Hopefully, this article will help you become more strategic about the hiring process. Now that you’re armed with these insights, you should fill in the vacant position in no time. And if you liked the idea of outsourcing and partnering with an IT company, Relevant Software will eagerly provide you with junior, middle, and senior DevOps engineers. Contact us for details.  

Andrew
Burak

Documents in Software Development Outsourcing You Absolutely Have to Know About

#Dedicated teams

So, you decided to outsource software development. Congrats! But how can you make sure your product is protected? And how do you establish the terms of the partnership? The short answer is with the help of documents like NDA, MSA, SOW, and DPA. Taking your time to prepare these documents will help you establish the required terms, specify the responsibilities, the rights, and other collaboration terms.

Key Documents in Software Development Outsourcing

Let’s take a look at the basic documents for software development outsourcing. We will also define the key terms that can often be confusing or misleading. This will help you arrange a business relationship that is safe for both parties.

Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

One of the primary documents at the initial stage is a Non-Disclosure Agreement or NDA. This agreement is signed if two companies (or a company and an individual) are going to exchange sensitive information. An NDA is signed to protect this information from being disclosed.

An NDA should contain the following:

  • A clear definition of confidential information. All materials have to be determined as confidential or non-confidential. Information like processes and procedures, development strategies, passwords, customer databases, architecture, prototypes, source code are usually confidential.
  • Confidentiality term. Make sure to determine the time frame for keeping information confidential. The period has to be long enough to keep your business safe but not too long not to scare away the other party. The confidentiality term usually varies from one to three years in the software development and outsourcing business. 
  • The disclosures/representatives clause. You should explicitly state with whom the confidential information can be shared. Are these people employees, business partners, freelancers? Don’t forget to include them in the NDA.
  • The use of confidential information. It’s important to indicate how sensitive information can be used.
  • Legal obligations to disclose. Any NDA is written to protect information disclosure. However, sometimes, it is required for legal proceedings or, in other cases, determined by the valid legislation.
  • The return or destruction of confidential information. This section determines what each party should do with sensitive information after the collaboration is over. Consider all information bearers: USB storage devices, CDs, copies, hard drives, servers, and so on. 
  • The remedies clause. It indicates how a party that breaches the NDA should compensate for the disclosure of sensitive information.

Master Service Agreement (MSA) 

A Master Service Agreement is signed if a company is going to work with a client repeatedly. This agreement allows to reduce legal expenses and facilitate the provision of services. Make sure to include the following clauses:

  • Provision of services. The order of providing services.
  • Acceptance and payment for services. The fees, taxes, timesheets, and other things related to the procedure or services acceptance and payments.
  • Term and termination. The time frame during which the MSA is valid and the conditions when it can be terminated.
  • Intellectual property rights and ownership: What intellectual property is and how it can be managed.
  • Confidentiality. What confidential information is and how to handle it.
  • Liability, warranties, representations. Party warranties, liability field, and representations (persons involved in the project: employees, partners who will be participating, etc.).
  • Indemnification. The parties agree on how they are going to indemnify any harm if caused to each other.
  • Notices. How the MSA will be delivered and which delivery notifications you are going to receive.
  • Miscellaneous. Disputes and their resolution, data protection, governing law, benefit, assignment, amendments (indicate that there should be no amendments or modifications without being signed by the mentioned party), the severability clause (if any provision of the agreement is unenforceable, it doesn’t cancel the enforceability of other provisions of the agreement).

Statement of Work (SOW)

A Statement of Work is one of the most crucial documents in the software development business. This is where parties identify the details connected with the project, describe project stages, the features, acceptance criteria, risks, and so on. 

In the SOW, you should provide a CI/CD pipeline diagram, the schedule of development procedures (visits, communication within the project, approval, objection, reporting procedures and order, deploying, and closing the project). A Statement of Work should additionally include details like the list of devices, screen resolutions, browsers, and their versions used for testing purposes.

In a special attachment to the Statement of Work, you can indicate information related to payment and payment models. Here, mention whether it is a fixed-price project or the company will pay for the time and materials applied. It’s also important to indicate the force majeure conditions, major risks, and their influence on the implementation of the current task or scope (not the entire project).

DPA (Data Processing/Confidentiality Agreement)

DPA, or Data Processing Agreement, is intended to regulate data processing by the parties as well as the relationship between the parties. It is an agreement between the data controller and the data processor. In the case of outsourcing, the contractor is the data processor, and the client is the data controller.

During software development, the vendor has access to the databases with customer data, processes, and stores it. That’s why it’s essential to agree on how this data is going to be stored, processed, protected.

Many companies ignore this document, but this is not our case. At Relevant Software, we have developed our own Data Processing Agreement template according to GDPR.

Details to Pay Attention to When Signing a Contract

The final and most crucial negotiation stage is the signing of the MSA and the SOW. These documents finalize the things that haven’t been settled for now. Let’s take a look at the typical contracts signed by vendors and the details you should pay attention to.

Fixed-Price Contracts

This kind of contract is the best option for smaller projects. With it, the requirements are strictly defined. Fixed-price contracts work perfectly when the client needs to develop a solution but doesn’t have the capacity or in-house resources. The vendor guarantees to deliver a particular solution based on the client’s expectations within a set budget and is entirely responsible for the project results.  

This contract type is not flexible, so it’s not frequently signed when it comes to software development. But if you are going to sign this kind of contract, determine every project detail. Make sure you agree on the pricing, the deadlines, the budget, and everything else that might be important.

The Dedicated Development Team Model

This is an optimal solution for a long-term project where the client hires a team of developers, pays a monthly fee, and manages the team. 

Being an extensively flexible model, it allows adapting to changes rapidly. And based on our experience, we can assure you that the dedicated development team contract is the most efficient for software development projects.

The Time and Materials Model (T&M)

The time and materials contract requires payment based on an hourly rate. This contract is signed when the client needs a specialist to work on a project for a particular time. This contract type guarantees the transparency and the cost-efficiency of any project.

Clauses of Outsourcing Contracts You Can’t Ignore

Payment Terms

Payment is a critical notion that has to be discussed at the very start of the negotiation. You have to be very clear about how much, when, and in what way the billing and the payments are processed. If a retainer is needed, it should also be indicated in the agreement.

In many cases, if a payment isn’t made on time, the vendor might stop providing services. It is inconvenient for both parties and can be avoided if all the details are defined clearly.

Liability & Warranties

Liability clauses are of particular importance in any IT outsourcing contract because they determine the extent to which both parties bear the responsibility. Make sure you check the liability cap: with it, parties mutually limit the liability of each other to some extent.

The liability cap helps to manage risks and control the financial exposure of a business.

The warranty clause is usually provided in a fixed-price contract. Within this clause, the vendor guarantees that products will be delivered within the deadline, and based on the client’s requirements.

Notice Periods

A notice period is the time frame given to make changes in the development team. Notice periods influence the project’s smoothness and the quality of its implementation.

There are two main kinds of notices:

  • The first one is connected with scaling the development team up and down. In this case, the notice period might vary from one to three months.
  • The second one is connected with the termination of the contract. This notice is crucial for a vendor to organize all the processes efficiently. Usually, it varies from one to five months for shorter contracts and from six to 12 months for longer contracts.

Confidentiality and Data Protection

In the contract, you should determine the data protection matters within the enterprise. Software outsourcing companies usually have high standards for the protection of sensitive data. Security control and policies have to be established and followed. The company should perform regular audits to make sure that all the procedures comply with the accepted standards.

Intellectual Property Rights

The contract should clearly state that the client is the owner of all the intellectual property that has been created during the project. If the payment has been delayed or wasn’t made, the vendor has the right to use any intellectual property that was not paid for.

Non-Solicitation Clause

In this clause, you should define the fees the client pays if they hire the vendor’s specialists. The same applies if the vendor’s employees are hired by a third party.

A vendor spends a lot of resources to find, recruit, train a specialist. That’s why, if the specialist goes off to another company, the vendor should be compensated for it.

Another option is to agree on the conditions of how this collaboration will evolve.

Jurisdiction

In software development outsourcing services, the client and the vendor are located in different countries. So, it’s important to determine and agree upon the jurisdiction location in advance.

Summary

Finding an excellent software development vendor is hard. But considering all the collaboration details and arranging them into an exhaustive agreement that satisfies all parties is even harder. If a contract is poorly written, it might lead to a number of misunderstandings and issues that might influence the collaboration.

Take your time to prepare the documents. Make sure that your contract satisfies both parties, there’s an NDA, an SOW, and a DPA. They provide assurance in the vendor and guarantee that the product will be delivered on time according to the requirements. And if anything goes wrong, the parties will know what to expect and how to resolve the dispute.

Here at Relevant Software, we have the templates for all these documents. All our clients have to do is enter their contact details, and the documents are ready to be signed.

Andrew
Burak

Statement of Work (SOW) in Software Development: Everything To Know

#Dedicated teams

Let’s imagine that you finally picked a qualified outsourcing company with a dedicated team of software developers. You might be sure that the vendor you’ve chosen is reliable. Still, wouldn’t you want to make sure that a company you’re hiring has an understanding of your expectations before they start working on your project? If your answer is “yes” or “absolutely,” then keep reading to find out how to secure a successful collaboration and why Statement of Work (SOW) in software development plays such a crucial role.

What exactly is SOW, and why is it necessary for productive partnerships with IT-firms? Basically, it’s a document that clarifies every aspect of your contract with another company, including schedules, terms, work standards, payment method, as well as acceptance criteria for deliveries. As a matter of fact, a high-quality SOW should cover every critical point of the work. So, what exactly should this document include? Let’s take a closer look.

Purpose of Statement of Work (SOW)

Before starting a project, every party must make sure that they understand methodology, objectives, deadlines, payment, responsibilities, and requirements.

Statement of Work (SOW) in software development is a business document that covers every nuance of the agreement between the client and an outsourcing company to boost cooperation and minimize the chance of conflict or confusion between organizations. 

Aside from the scope of job, schedule, project’s objectives, standards, and success definitions, SOW may include other miscellaneous information, like security considerations, hardware and software restrictions, post-project support, penalties for late or poor-quality deliveries, and clauses to terminate the contract early.

Although SOW is usually considered more of a business document than a legal one, you shouldn’t underestimate its importance because it defines the full extent of your collaboration with an outsourcing company. Therefore, SOW should be explicit, clear, and written in an understandable language, leaving as little to interpretation as possible.

Who Should Write the SOW

In software development, SOW is typically created by an outsourcing vendor. What makes this method conventional in the industry is the fact that software devs can write SOW with detailed project information and as a part of the documentation package. It’s difficult to find a writer qualified enough to understand the specificities of your contract. However, IT-company responsible for the project development is far more likely to compile a quality document promptly to give to the client.

At Relevant Software, we follow our custom SOW template and provide our clients with in-depth and comprehensive SOWs that include all necessary information for effective partnership.

What’s included in the SOW for software development projects

As a rule of thumb, the more information Statement of Work contains, the more chances the customer’s needs will be met in the most time- and cost-efficient manner. Formats may vary based on vendor, but the majority of SOWs adhere to proven guidelines where content is divided into the following sections.

Introduction

Start by stating an objective and a list of parties involved in the project. It’s important to indicate the date and location of drafting the document to avoid concerns about its credibility and legitimacy.

Purpose (What is it?)

This section must state the goals of the project and the objectives that the client wants to accomplish. A clear understanding of the client’s expectations will increase the effectiveness of collaboration with your organization.

Scope and Description (What is going to be done?)

Given the complexity of this chapter of the SOW for software development, it’s more efficient to outline the project into several steps, like “project discovery phase,” “application development,” and “testing phase.” Then, these steps should be divided into extensive and comprehensive tasks, which you may want to further break into phases if the complexity of the product calls for it.

Upon reviewing, make sure that the Scope and Description section identifies the following information:

  • General budget overview.
  • Expected deliverables.
  • The individual tasks.
  • Phases of certain tasks.
  • Responsibilities and roles of each party, including figures accountable for configurations and software input, supplied information, security, as well as approval of system maintenance and performance.
  • Appointed project managers, representatives of each organization, and other key figures.
  • People with an authority to accept the completed product provided by a software developer.
  • Conditions about possible force majeure or issues in functionality implementation.
  • Specifications and limitations for subcontracting development, and the company responsible for the quality of subcontractor’s work.
  • Requirements or certifications for developers or sub-contractors.

Location of Operations (Where will it be done?)

When hiring an outsourcing company for software development, you can gain access to a worldwide pool of talented and vetted engineers. It means that some vendors can work for you from various countries with different jurisdictions. Therefore, it is essential to list facilities where the programmers operate from and time-zones under which they operate. If a customer wants to have real-life meetups with a vendor’s representatives, the SOW must specify the locations where meetings can take place.

Standards (How will it be done?)

If the Scope and Description sections are all about the nature of the project, this part of SOW is all about the process of operations, which includes the following information:

  • Technological limitations (coding languages and platforms).
  • Industry standards software dev should stick to.
  • CI/CD pipeline diagram.
  • Information about the testing of the product, involved parties, and necessary hardware or software.
  • List of accepted devices, screen resolutions, and browsers for the testing process.
  • Means and tools for communication between the client and the outsourcing vendor.
  • Procedures for minor and major order changes.
  • Penalties for late deliveries and bonuses for extra labour.

Deadlines and Schedule (When is it going to be done?)

I think you would agree that development shouldn’t be rushed. However, having a set of deadlines and tight timetables can improve the product’s quality and give the project more flexibility. Having a thorough schedule helps to keep the project moving forward with some room left for trial-and-error or potential issues during development.

Therefore, every SOW must state a start date and timeline for the project. To streamline the development, both sides need to have a detailed list of tasks and milestones with set dates of deliveries. Furthermore, the documentation should set a timeline for routine reviews of performance.

This section should also specify the contract’s duration, which measures by date or by a specific period. Additionally, this section may include the maximum weekly or monthly payable operating hours of the software development team.

Monitoring (How to control it?)

As mentioned above, the SOW should state deadlines for performance reviews if a company wants some control of the development. The software development vendor must adhere to his responsibilities and give regular reports. Companies can also implement management software. Some of the most popular applications for supervising and reviewing operations are Jira, Basecamp, Asana. Although all tools and applications for management should be clearly stated in the agreement.

Acceptance Criteria (How will we know the job is done?)

The document must clearly define success and failure, which means it should cover what criteria constitute successfully completed deliverables the client should accept and pay for. Also, it should include circumstances under which the company can terminate the agreement without paying the full price. A detailed description of the features’ acceptance criteria will also help to cover the risks of change requests.

Additionally, Statement of Work should include an attachment with information about the process of submission, as well as people authorized to review and accept deliverables.

Contract Mode and Payment Model (What does the payment process look like?)

After reaching an agreement about preferred payment terms, companies must outline them in as much detail as possible. 

In software development outsourcing, there are usually two price models that vary based on the scope of your project:

  1. Fixed-price contracts are best suited for companies who have a detailed plan, strict delivery dates, and defined requirements. This model also fits smaller projects. With this type of contract, the vendor usually takes full responsibility for the results, but your project compromises flexibility. Payment is typically set up by schedule, or after reaching certain milestones or deliverables, or it can be conducted as a single-sum when the job’s done.
  2. Dedicated development team model is appropriate for long-term or complex projects with a non-identified scope, which can involve rapid changes during development. It’s a more efficient type of payment for both parties because it allows for shifter requirements adjustment, feature replacement, and allows the customer to effectively manage and monitor an engineering team. The client typically makes monthly payments based on hours programming team devotes to work.

Miscellaneous (What else should we clarify?)

Are there some questions left that you find useful for your collaboration that doesn’t suit the categories mentioned above? Some of these questions can be specific to your project and can include:

  • Questions about security regulations and standards.
  • Travel payment (in case a real-life meeting is needed).
  • Details about code ownership.
  • Composition of the engineering crew and program evaluation team.
  • Post-completion support, communication with clients, and further testing.
  • Final admin duties (how and where the document will be signed).
  • Estimated effort level.
  • Liability cap and warranties.
  • Timeframe for applying changes in the engineering team composition.

Summary

In essence, the Statement of Work (SOW) is one of the pillars of collaboration between the client and a software development company. It provides both parties with planning, methodology, and, most importantly, clarity and understanding of the work that’s to be done. We would even go as far as to call it an essential document that can separate a successful collaboration from a failed one.

We at Relevant Software have supplied more than 200 organizations from over the world with dedicated teams of vetted engineers. In addition to outsourcing developers and creating products from the ground up, we managed to outline over 100 SOWs for our customers. If you are interested in our expertise, you can take a look at our cases.

Ihor
Feoktistov

How to Write an NDA for Software Development [Template Included]

#Dedicated teams

NDA stands for a non-disclosure agreement. This document ensures that when you share your proprietary information (ideas, trade secrets, etc.) with another person, they will keep it a secret. In terms of software development, a non-disclosure agreement is usually signed between a client (a company owner) and an outsourcing company before they enter into a business relationship.

There are two types of an NDA: unilateral (only one party agrees to protect the other party’s information) and mutual (both parties agree to protect each other’s information). Unilateral NDAs are the most popular.

When Should I Ask Someone to Sign an NDA for Software Development?

An NDA for software development is often surrounded by controversy, but there are a few strong reasons to sign this document before sharing any confidential information with third parties: 

  • To secure your trade secrets. Trade secrets make your business stand out among its competitors. Whether it is your secret ingredients, original marketing strategy, or an innovative manufacturing technique, disclosure may ruin your business.
  • To keep your project secret before release. An NDA for software development can also be very helpful when you are working on a novel product, and you don’t want your competitors to be aware of it before its release. Keeping it a secret will allow you to remain the “first-mover.”
  • To protect other sensitive information. Even if your business doesn’t have any trade secrets, and there are no revolutionary products under the hood either, an NDA for software development can help you secure your financial, marketing, or other sensitive information. 

You don’t always have to sign an NDA, though. For example, if you commission a software development company to build a generic mobile app or a website based on WordPress, the entire legalese thing will only slow down the process. If you don’t have to share any confidential information to complete your project, an NDA is not necessary either.

What Does an NDA for Software Development Look Like?

There is no single, universal template of a non-disclosure agreement. Nevertheless, any NDA for software development should include the following information.

Parties to the Agreement

If it is a unilateral agreement, Parties to the agreement will include only the Disclosing and the Recipient parties. But there’s a catch: double-check whether you need the Recipient party to share confidential information with their affiliated companies, partners, or agents in order to complete your project successfully. If so, make sure that your NDA covers all of them.

In terms of software development, it is recommended to sign an NDA not just with developers but also with anybody who has access to the source code, mind maps, product features, and other sensitive information. These may include QA experts, designers, project managers, or product managers. It’s critical for outsourced experts to be the only recipients of confidential information. It’s also advisable to sign this agreement with your in-house team. 

What Is Deemed Confidential? 

This section of an NDA for software development identifies what kind of information is considered confidential. Is it only written information? Is oral information supposed to be kept a secret, too? As the Disclosing party, make this definition as broad as possible to prevent the Recipient party from using any loopholes. It’s essential to clearly identify what kind of information is confidential.  

The Scope of Confidentiality

This section is the “main body” of your NDA. It consists of two types of obligations: 

  1. The confidential information must be kept secret. This also means that the Recipient party is expected to take reasonable measures to keep the lid on sensitive information. For example, only certain employees of the Recipient’s company will have access to confidential information (the Recipient party should also make sure that these people are familiar with the restrictions outlined in your NDA for software development). 
  2. The Recipient party may not use the confidential information themselves. This is one of the key reasons behind agreements like this. If you don’t want to wake up bankrupt, make sure that your NDA restricts the Recipient parties from using the confidential information for the purposes not outlined in the NDA.

Exclusions from Confidentiality 

There are instances when keeping certain information secret is troublesome for the Recipient party. If the Recipient party discloses such information, they won’t be subject to lawsuits. These instances typically include:

  • publicly accessible information
  • information already known to the recipient
  • information independently generated by the Recipient party without using any confidential information specified in the Agreement
  • information disclosed to the Recipient party by another party without any NDA obligations.

Obligations of the Parties 

This section of an NDA for software development usually covers the recipient’s obligation to maintain the confidentiality of the shared information and restricts its use. Restrictions might include:

  • using the confidential information only for the purposes specified in the agreement
  • sharing the confidential information only with persons who need this information to serve the purposes listed in the agreement
  • making sure that these persons treat this information in line with the restrictions specified in the agreement
  • taking appropriate measures to keep this information secret.

Consequences of Breaching the Contract

Your NDA for software development will be pointless unless you identify the implications of a possible breach. 

Typically, the Disclosing party seeks financial compensation – a fixed amount set by the contract. Some include attorneys’ fees and court costs, too, which can be collected from the breaching party if the claimant wins the case. It’s best to avoid unrealistic penalties.

Additionally, it’s recommended to include a few methods of alternative dispute resolution. ADR that allows settling legal disputes out of court is classified into three types:

  • Mediation. A neutral person helps the parties find a satisfactory solution
  • Negotiation. The parties resolve the dispute themselves
  • Arbitration. A “private” court where a neutral person listens to both parties and then finds a solution.

From a business viewpoint, ADR is more efficient than litigation, which is a public proceeding. ADR guarantees that your sensitive information will remain under wraps.

Software Development NDA Template from Relevant Software

Creating an NDA for software development from scratch can be time-consuming. To avoid loopholes, you have to consider every single word carefully. But we are here for you to speed up this process. 

At Relevant Software, we work with international clients and understand perfectly your urge to keep your valuable business information safe. For your convenience, we drafted a template of an NDA for software development.

To get it delivered to your mailbox, simply request it here.

Conclusion

In software development, you often have to share confidential information with another person, team, or even company. The best way to secure this information is to sign an NDA for software development. With this document, you can protect your trade secrets, as well as financial, technological, marketing, and other sensitive information. 

Even though there is no universal template, every NDA should cover the following details: information about the Parties, what information is considered confidential, the scope of confidentiality, the exclusions from confidentiality, the obligations of the Parties, and the consequences of breaching the contract. 


If you’re looking for a software development vendor who takes legal documents very seriously, why not contact Relevant Software? We will help you bring your ideas to life, taking care of your valuable information along the way. Success stories of our clients are the best proof of our efficiency and expertise.

Andrew
Burak

Master Service Agreement in IT Outsourcing

#Dedicated teams

Imagine that you’ve found a suitable IT outsourcing vendor. You have a complex product that requires multiple phases of development, and your companies need to collaborate for an extended time. Maybe you already finished a project with the developer on a high note, and you’re positive about partnering up for next ventures. With the Master Service Agreement,  companies can streamline software development by simplifying general contract regulations for ongoing projects, while still being able to make decisions during development. 

With MSA, you can make the regulations clearer for both parties in advance to eliminate confusion. It also reduces legal expenses and bureaucracy associated with developing new documentation.

Let’s take a wild guess and assume you’ve already browsed the web for a high-quality MSA template. I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t find a good example so far. If so, you don’t need to worry, because below you’ll find the MSA template tailored for outsourcing development organizations.

What is a Master Service Agreement in software development?

Master Service Agreement (MSA) defines as a contract between IT-vendor and a client that outlines project expectations, responsibilities, roles, provided services, terms, and other essential agreements between parties.

What makes this document stand out from other agreements, like NDA, DPA, and SOW? The key difference is in the goal. MSA in software development can help the IT vendor and the client if they plan to work together repeatedly. Do you want to learn how exactly it boosts the firm’s collaboration in the IT field? Stick with the article to find out.

What is MSA needed for?

When a company and software vendor decides to work on a project over a prolonged period, the Master Service Agreement will make the process cleared out. It also helps to cut costs and save a lot of nerves for involved parties by removing the need to renegotiate and re-review most of the already approved conditions. MSA in software development is a complex document that takes a lot of time to draft. However, after sides reach consensus on it, it can be used as a template for the subsequent ventures.

It allows organizations to focus on essential concerns, like goals, objectives, and timetable of a separate project. Additionally, MSA helps software developers (outsourcing companies) and their clients to avoid contractual disputes or potential legal action. It can state who is going to be responsible for failures, unexpected costs, or intellectual damage, thus providing guarantees and indemnification for both sides. If some disputes do arise, meticulously outlined MSA aids in determining the guilty party faster, which helps with the risk allocation.

Given the importance and complexity of this document, your next question can be…

Who provides the Master Service Agreement?

In software development, MSA is usually written by an outsourcing vendor and then given to the client for a review. It’s a typical practice for the industry because software companies specialize in nuances and specificities of the project’s development. Additionally, an outsourcing company can compile a Master Service Agreement with other necessary agreements as a part of a documentation package.

It’s possible for the customer’s team to write the MSA and give it to the software company for examination, but there’s a high chance that the revision process can drag on for far too long. Outsourcing vendors, on the other hand, specialize in working with other companies and have more expertise compiling proper documentation.

For example, at Relevant Software, we have collaborated with more than 200 customers from over the world and provided most of them with all the necessary paperwork, including SOWs, NDAs, and MSAs.

Therefore, an experienced software company can effectively write the first draft of the Master Service Agreement in the course of days instead of weeks, and then present it to the client for examination. Outsourcing firm is also going to be swift with editing and adjusting the document to reach mutual consent faster.

What does the MSA consist of?

Simply put, a high-quality Master Service Agreement must state every important and minute detail to convey business expectations and provide financial guarantees to both parties. It should also be clear and understandable to guide project managers. For that reason, the MSA document is typically structured into the following sections.

Provision of services

After an introduction section with names of the participating parties, official contact information, and legal addresses, comes one of the most critical parts of the document with general conditions.

Provision of Services section of the MSA must contain:

  • Overall goals and objectives for future projects.
  • Client’s expectations.
  • Services provided regarding individual SOW.
  • Clauses, fees, and processes associated with order adjustments or SOW changes.
  • Regulations for progress reporting.
  • Description of the work model and weekly working hours standards with reference to the time zone under which the outsourcing agency operates.
  • Rules and limitations for solicitation with other contractors during software development.
  • Guarantees of independence for the IT vendor and the employer.

Payment and acceptance of services

There are three main methods of payment in software development:

  1. Fixed price method. Preferred method of work for projects with detailed plans and presupposed delivery dates. Payment is usually tied to milestones, completed tasks or phases, or it can be made as a one-time fee after employ accepts the product.
  2. Time and Materials (T&M). Suitable for flexible products with unidentified scope. In this contract model, the employer covers the costs of the materials and pays for actual hours engineers devote to work.
  3. Dedicated team model. Best payment type for multi-layered and complex products where the client can effectively manage the core development crew. The customer pays monthly based on the developer’s hourly project input.

MSA covers the acceptance process for the provided services, the causes for rejecting the work, or demanding a modification and revisions. The fees, taxes, timesheets, and causes for unplanned expenses compensation, as well as payment transfer methods, also go into this section.

Management and monitoring of performance

Individual projects should have the involvement of each side in operating processes and performance monitoring described in a separate SOW. However, the Master Service Agreement can mention the overall managemental structure of software development. Companies may even create a Management Guide attachment with the clarification of their administrative roles.

Terms and clauses for termination

Individual projects have their own deadlines and timeframes. The Master Service Agreement, however, states the duration of the developer’s and client’s partnership. MSA also describes causes under which a contract can be terminated prematurely. Alternatively, the document can establish an automatic renewal procedure if both sides deem it desirable.

Intellectual property rights and ownership

This MSA chapter lays out what results of work on projects under individual SOWs fall within the intellectual property and who retains ownership, copyrights, and other rights, associated with the contract deliverables. It also specifies which data and materials need to be delivered or transmitted to the customer. Meanwhile, the paper needs to state which software, inventions, technology, and data developed prior to or during collaboration, belongs to the software company.

Confidentiality

To ensure the protection of data that became known during the collaboration, the agreement must clearly state what information should be considered confidential and is no subject for disclosure to public or third parties. The MSA needs to clarify if the software development vendor can refer to his partnership with the employer in advertisements.

Liability, warranties, and representations

Section that sets liability limitations. Usually, both sides aren’t responsible for indirect or consequential damages. However, if exceptions are made, then they should be listed in the MSA. Furthermore, the agreement lists employees and participating partners who assume the risks for operational incidents that lead to direct losses.

Indemnification

In case the client or software company fails to comply with the Master Service Agreement, which leads to the monetary losses, data breach, copyright infringement, or reputational damage, the contract explains how the responsible side compensates such harm. Additionally, it should mention exclusions from indemnities.

Communication and notices

To stay in touch during development, the MSA must state the representatives of each side, their preferred methods, and tools for communications, locations chosen for real-life meetings, as well as the process of receiving official notifications.

For example, the agreement can establish the process for delivering the MSA and its revisions. It can also cover the procedure of approval or rejection of the deliverables.

Miscellaneous

The paper can have other conditions that don’t fit the sections addressed above. However, if organizations consider them necessary, your MSA can also provide the following information:

  • Disclosure about data protection.
  • Governing laws and jurisdiction.
  • Procedures for minute amendments to the documents.
  • Clauses for severability of the agreement’s provisions.
  • Revision process for deliverables, as well as the set review periods.
  • Arrangement for post-production support and testing of the product.

Summary

Proper Master Service Agreement provides guidance for the IT outsourcing company and employing organization, forms the basis of their relationship, and streamlines future agreements.

Relevant Software provides software development services exclusively under MSA. Therefore, our company is very meticulous with documentation preparation to ensure ours and our client’s mutual satisfaction.

If you found our template useful and your company is interested in IT outsourcing services, feel free to drop us a line.

Andrew
Burak

Things You Should Know About Data Process Agreement (DPA) In Software Development Outsourcing

#Dedicated teams

In spring 2018, the European Union enforced a regulation that affected virtually every business dealing with the personal data of EU citizens ‒ the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Under this legislation, every country-member of EU, as well any other country processing personal data of EU citizens must take serious measures to ensure its protection. A major component of GDPR compliance is signing a data processing agreement (DPA) between data controllers and data processors. What does it mean and how it applies in software development outsourcing? That’s what we’re going to talk about in this post. 

What is DPA? 

According to the European data protection law, personal data of EU citizens can be processed by another party outside of the European Union provided that they sign a legal agreement that regulates this processing. That’s what they call DPA ‒ Data Processing Agreement. 

A data processing agreement (DPA) is a legal document signed by the controller and the processor either in written or in electronic form, the purpose of which is to regulate the terms and conditions of EU citizens’ personal data processing. Personal data means any information, with the help of which it’s possible to identify a person, i.e. first name and last name, date of birth, place of residence. 

The aspects the DPA covers include: 

  • scope and purpose of data processing;
  • what data is processed and how it should be protected;
  • the relationship between the controller and the processor, and more. 

Who is a data controller and data processor in software development outsourcing? 

The data controller is the person or company that determines the conditions for data processing. In software development, it’s a client. A data processor is a person or company that processes data on behalf of a controller, in accordance with the controller’s instructions. In outsourcing, it’s a contractor. 

Now, let’s take a closer look at how it works in Ukraine. Although we don’t belong to the European Union, all the regulations and directives of GDPR become applicable to our companies as soon as we come in contact with EU citizens’ data. It’s super common for IT outsourcing. Here’s an example. 

Supposing, an IT outsourcing company X gets an assignment from an EU customer to develop some data management app for a healthcare facility. Clearly, they need access to patients’ personal (and sometimes sensitive) information. Even if they aren’t going to store it on any device, it still falls under the “personal data processing” category.

According to the GDPR, the organization that defines the purpose of data processing (i.e. the controller) has more legal obligations, but how the EU customer and the outsourcing company are going to protect this data becomes the responsibility of both parties ‒ the EU company that needs to get the app done and the outsourcing company that requires data to finish the project. 

What happens after you sign the DPA with your EU customer? 

It’s likely that your customer, who is also a data controller, will just tell you what to do. Also, you as a data processor would have to take all the organization’s measures and follow technical requirements spelled out in the DPA. In some cases, controllers might require a processor to pass some certification or develop corporate rules to be approved by EU regulatory agencies. However, there’s a very slim chance it’s going to happen because there is no standard GDPR-based certification yet, and all the available options are too complicated. 

Why is DPA important while outsourcing? 

If a data controller wants to outsource some data processing activities to an overseas contractor, they have to prove that their non-EU based partner is GDPR-compliant and can guarantee sufficient levels of data protection. That’s why signing a data processing agreement (DPA) is crucial, especially in software development outsourcing.

Regardless of the purpose of a software product, an outsourcing company develops code, through which they process data of their clients’ customers. Also, even if they aren’t storing any data, they have access to a database. That creates a need to agree on terms of how this data is protected, processed, stored and used. So, yeah, DPA is basically the outline of the conditions of the cooperation. 

What to watch out for when signing a DPA? 

When it comes to signing a DPA, there are a couple of things to be mindful of, such as: 

Are there enough guarantees?

According to the GDPR, a controller may be held responsible for data breach even if it happened on the side of the processor. Therefore, it’s in the best interest of both parties to make sure that the processor has the bandwidth to provide decent protection to all the data transferred to them from the controller. The smaller the risks, the better. However, in case the breach takes place, the data processor should be able to take immediate measures to minimize its effect. 

How the processor will use the data?

The data controller has to ensure that the range of the processor’s DPA doesn’t exceed the original legal basis for data processing. In other words, the outsourcing company should only be able to use data for purposes spelled out in the agreement. It’s the controller’s responsibility to check how the processor will use the data they transfer to them. 

Is there any room for interpretation? 

… because there shouldn’t be any. The text of a DPA should be straightforward and specific. For example, if the controller is going to audit the processor, all the details of the procedure must be specified. This will help to make sure that the processor and contractor are very clear with the expectations and that there are no weak spots in the agreement. 

Relevant Software’s DPA template  

Although GDPR has been around for a while, very few software development vendors have a DPA template. Those that don’t have it are technically not GDPR compliant. Also, the lack of a DPA template significantly slows down the cooperation process because it forces the client to worry about the legal issues more than about the actual software development. 

Here at Relevant Software, we respect the time of our clients. That’s why we’ve developed a legal DPA template specifically for software development services. When starting a collaboration, a client should just fill in the details and we’re all set.

Ihor
Feoktistov

How to Retain Key Software Developers in Your Startup

#Dedicated teams

According to a DQYDJ report, there are more than 4 million software developers in the United States companies, so finding the best one for your needs is not an easy task. However, when you do find an excellent one, you’d like to keep working with him or her forever. We know this is a very competitive market and they might get offers from other companies. 

If you look at this Stack Overflow report, you’ll see that 60% of developers in the United States are open to new job offers, and your developers might currently be working on interviews with recruiters if they don’t feel comfortable with your company’s environment. So the best thing you could do is to recognize the value of software developers in today’s business dynamic and create strategies that will retain them. 

According to this Stripe and Harris report, developers are responsible for 70% of your company’s sales performance and help you differentiate your brand from others. Now, what is your game plan to retain your talents? We’ve come up with a couple of strategies that’ll help you do so.

Create a Dream Environment for a Software Developer

Just like any other employee, developers will work in a place where they feel comfortable. But every employee’s dream work environment is different, that’s why you need to become a haven for developers. 

Stack Overflow made a survey to find out the reasons why a developer chooses one job over the others, and one of them was the availability of tech tools that’ll make the job easier. This gives you an idea of how important it is for you to invest in tools for developers, which could be KeyCode Info or HTML Minifier.

On the other hand, other factors that developers consider include the ability to work remotely or the flexibility in work hours. Another reason why developers prefer to work in a certain company is that there is a healthy work environment. So maybe it’d be good to invest some time to promote initiatives that’ll help your company improve the work environment and culture.

Let Them Solve Problems with Creativity

Bill Gates once said: “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it”. And this couldn’t be more accurate. Just think about it, there’s nothing more tedious than having to solve a problem with the same techniques that might not be the more efficient ones, so it is advisable to allow developers to play around with the type of languages they use and the methods they try.

Limiting your developers to use a single language might disrupt their workflow when they can solve the same problem with a different one. In fact, some developers say it’s easier to learn a new language to solve a problem than learning a new method they’ll use with a single coding language. Besides, this will encourage them to be more engaged with the company since they know the company has a sense of trust in their work.

There’s an interesting quote from another survey that shows the importance of using new tools and techniques: “Not using the new tool, and trying to hack something together the old way is usually detrimental to the quality of what is being built. Be it in code or in wood”.

Offer Them Career Advancement 

Recognition is something that has been widely studied and almost every single research comes up with the same result: more productivity and engagement. This is not something exclusive for developers, but also a good habit you can nurture in your company. If you offer your developers career advancement, they’ll feel valued by the company and therefore they’ll feel the responsibility to commit further. 

So don’t be afraid to offer them career advancement, it might be something beneficial for your company in terms of productivity and in the long run. While a promotion could mean more responsibilities for them, your company can also ease the process by offering work-life balance benefits such as the possibility to work remotely or having some days off. 

Build a Strong Relationship with Them 

No matter how computer-related this profession is, remember this is still a people’s business. So don’t just see your developers with a dollar-sign hanging over them. Instead, try to build a long-term relationship, make them feel that they can trust you and that you care about their emotions and interests. 

The tech world is a very competitive industry but relationships are still crucial to succeed in every area. Having good ties will also help you polish your communication skills, which will result in positive outcomes for the company. If you played your cards right, it might even be possible for your talents to refer you to other good developers.

Ihor
Feoktistov

How to Hire Android App Developer: Rates, Job Description, Interview Questions

#Dedicated teams

Similarly to hiring any other IT specialist, hiring Android developers is a long and complex process. With very few available experts on the local market, limited project budget, and the need to scale here and now, it seems like a “mission impossible” kind of endeavour. And if you’ve already started the development and need to add a person to the team in the middle of the project, things can get even more confusing. 

If you really need to hire a skilled and experienced Android developer to join your team but don’t know where to start, this small guide is for you. 

In this article, we’re going to take you all the way through the hiring process, from what qualifications you should look for to where you can find so much needed Android developers. Let’s begin!

Skills required for Android developer  

You may be looking for someone to fine-tune little things or govern the entire development process. Based on your needs, you can hire Android developers with various skill levels ‒ junior, middle, or senior. 

Junior Android developer

  • less than 3 years of experience;
  • engaged in the development of not complex apps; 
  • can work as an assistant to middle and senior developers. 

Middle Android developer

  • 3+ years of experience;
  • engaged in complex Android-based projects;
  • can work independently.

Senior Android developer

  • 5+ years of experience;
  • leads, supervises, and consults large projects;
  • occupies team leaders’ position. 

Be it an aspiring junior or seasoned senior, an Android developer needs to possess solid technical expertise, be a problem solver and a team player, and that’s a bare minimum. 

Android developer hard skills 

Let’s start with the technical side of things. 

  • Java. Since Java is the most popular programming language for Android app development, expert knowledge of Java is non-negotiable.
  • Android SDK (software development kit). It’s the set of tools used to build apps on Android. A good developer is supposed to have a clear understanding of views, layouts, user input, activities and their lifecycle and so on. They also should be able to troubleshoot bugs in the code. 
  • Working with APIs. Android developers are expected to know their way around APIs. To find out if the candidate is competent in this area, test their understanding of XML/SOAP and JSON/REST APIs.
  • Understanding of back-end. They don’t necessarily need to possess the back-end skills, but a basic understanding of that side of the development process is a must. 

Android developer soft skills

As for the interpersonal qualities, here’s what you should expect from the candidate for this job. 

  • Team player. Every development project is a team effort, so being able to work in a team environment is key for Android developer regardless of their level of skills. 
  • Good communicator. The main requirement for every successful project is effective communication. Android developer should be able to get across to both technical and non-technical people. This also presumes a high level of English. 
  • Culturally fit. Some things you simply can’t change, so it’s very important to hire those developers who share the same values as the rest of your company. A good cultural fit can make a difference between thriving collaboration and painful development. 
Android developer for hire, minimalist freelancer photo

Job description example for Android developer 

Crafting a decent job description and posting it in places where potential candidates would actually see it is the first step in hiring Android developers. Here’s a basic example of what it should look like.

Introduction

Here at [your company name], we are looking for [junior/ middle/ senior] level Android developers to make a valuable addition to our team. You will join our engineers in designing and building the top-class mobile applications and work closely with other app development and technical teams.

Who You Are:

  • You have very strong communication skills in English, both written and spoken.
  • You have [at least 2/ 3+/ 5+] years of Android development experience. 
  • You have expert knowledge of Java.
  • You have experience with [Android SDK/ remote data via REST and JSON/ third-party libraries and APIs].
  • You are [interested in/ the expert in] general mobile landscape, architectures, trends, and emerging technologies.
  • You have a good understanding of the full mobile development life cycle.
  • A great team player and problem-solver.
  • A highly motivated person with a passion for building scalable and efficient apps.

What You’ll Do:

  • Design and build applications for the Android platform.
  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams.
  • Work with outside data sources and APIs.
  • Unit-test the code and work on bug fixing and improving application performance.
  • Continuously work with new technologies to maximize development efficiency.

Interview questions to ask Android developer 

Soon enough, you’ll start receiving applications. The next step would be sorting out the most qualified candidates and taking them through a few rounds of interviews ‒ the hard skills interview to test their technical expertise and soft skills interview to find out how good they are at problem resolution, communication and other important aspects of working in a team.

Interview questions to test hard skills 

  • What are the advantages of the Android Operating System?
  • Could you please explain in brief the Android Architecture / Android Framework?
  • What are the necessary components of a New Android project?
  • Could you please explain in brief what is “Activities”/ “Services”?
  • Please explain the Activity Lifecycle.
  • What are the implicit and explicit intents?
  • Which tools are used for debugging on the Android platform?
  • How do you troubleshoot the Android application that is crashing frequently?
  • How do you find memory leaks in the mobile app on the Android platform?
  • Can you recall any mobile automation tools that are available in the market?

Interview questions to test soft skills 

  • Why are you a good fit for the position of an Android developer in our company? 
  • What are your professional strengths/ weaknesses?
  • Please describe the most interesting Android app development projects you have participated in.
  • Can you recall any Android app development project decision you made that turned out to be a mistake? What did you learn from this experience?
  • Do you like to participate in the analysis, design, and deployment or do you prefer to concentrate solely on the execution of a specific task? 

Android developers salaries in different countries 

Android developer salaries depend on the person’s individual skill level (junior, middle, or senior), their professional experience, country of residence, the company, and so on. 

To illustrate, let’s compare Android developer salaries in three different regions ‒ Ukraine, Western Europe (the Netherlands), and the United States.

Disclaimer: The numbers mentioned below are just an estimation and may vary based on the aforementioned factors.  

RegionJunior (annual  earnings)Middle (annual  earnings)Senior (annual earnings)
Ukraine$ 6 000$15 000 $ 30 000 
Europe (e.g. the Netherlands) $32 600$54 400$74 000
United States $ 73 000 $ 109 000$ 126 000

Hiring remote Android developer: Two common ways to go  

You can go about hiring remote Android developers in two ways ‒ use freelance websites or partner up with outstaffing companies. It’s possible to book an individual contractor for a few hours or outsource Android development team for the entire project. Let’s take a closer look at both.

Hiring freelancers 

Hiring freelance contractors is the way to go for many companies. Some of the most popular platforms for that are Upwork, YouTeam, Freelancer.com, Toptal. In a nutshell, they are all the same. Here’s how they work. You go to the website, set up your “client” account, create a job post, wait for the candidates to send you their job applications, and discuss with your preferred developers how you are going to work together.  

Pros of working with freelancers:

  • Lower rates;
  • Large talent pool; 
  • Previous clients’ reviews available; 
  • Very good for short-term projects or making minor changes to the existing ones.  

Cons of working with freelancers:

  • No quality guarantees;
  • Your only protection is the platform’s policy;
  • Different time zones;
  • Possible language barrier;
  • You have to manage everything yourself. 

Hiring Android developers through Ukrainian IT companies

A universally beneficial option for projects of any size and budget is hiring Android developers via Ukrainian IT companies. Outstaffing from Eastern Europe is less expensive than adding more in-house employees, but it is just as reliable.

Pros of outstaffing through IT companies

  • Cost-effectiveness; 
  • Dedicated manager for each project; 
  • Guaranteed expertise and reliability; 
  • Great team experience and quality work.

Cons of outstaffing

  • Possible language barrier; 
  • Different time zones.

You can outsource one developer or the entire team through IT companies. The key is to find a partner you can trust. Ukraine is a well-known IT hub, so you can be sure that your project is going to be in good hands. All you need is to give out as many details of your project as possible and be willing to collaborate along the process. 

Indeed, finding a reliable outsourcing company is not an easy task. Visit Clutch, it’s a platform designed to help you get to know your potential partners better and make an informed hiring decision.  

Here at Relevant, we also provide team extension services. To make sure that the collaboration goes smoothly, we’ve developed a proven team set up process. Here’s how we go about our clients’ team extension.

Step 1 ‒ we gather project requirements 

The goal of this initial stage is to get familiar with your needs. The more time we spend learning about your requirements, the more effective our further work will be. The things we want to know include project details, job descriptions, the desired size of the team, and preferred workflow. 

Step 2 ‒ we assemble the team 

Depending on the scope of your project and the availability of developers in our team, we may be able to start working immediately. In other cases, we start looking for more talents. This process usually takes around one month. However, if your project is on fire and you need more people asap, we can make it happen by accessing a talent pool of our partners. This may take us around one week. 

Step 3 ‒ we select the best candidates 

One of the benefits of working with us is that we take care of all the routine work for you. Our HR team goes through the backgrounds of many candidates to evaluate their hard and soft skills, English level, and so on to choose the best-suited candidates for a final interview with you. 

Step 4 ‒ we take care of an onboarding

Once you approve the candidates, we help them integrate into your project smoothly. The choice regarding the management approach and tools is yours. If it’s possible, we arrange an in-person meeting, and if not, we use video conferencing and other communication tools

In the end, your team benefits from having more experts who are under your complete control. It’s like having more in-house employees who are working remotely. Also, we handle all the administration and you get to spend less than you would, had you hired them on your own. 

Android developers for hire, how to hire Android developer

How we help companies to get Android developers on board 

Android is one of the most popular operating systems to date designed mostly for touch screen mobile devices. It supports a wide variety of smartphone/tablet applications, which are super comfortable for users in many ways. 

One of the biggest advantages of Android is that it’s an open-source operating system, meaning that anyone with the right skillset can use it. 

Overall, Android is made for business. You can develop world-class apps with this OS provided that you have the right talent. 

Check out some projects we provided developers to: 

  • 24OnOff ‒ a time tracking and project management app for construction companies.
  • Momice ‒ an event management company that provides software to simplify the organization of meetings, conferences, and exhibitions. 
  • Letlift ‒ a mobile app that allows drivers to offer lifts to passengers and donate their profits to charity. 

Summary 

This is how we find the best Android developers for our clients. You can use our process as a guideline to complementing your team with missing parts or you can give us a call and entrust everything to our professionals. Relevant Software helps tech companies to hire Android developers and other tech talents, contact us to see CVs.

Ihor
Feoktistov

How to Hire a Mobile App Developer: Tips, Places to Search, Rates & More

#Dedicated teams

1 of 5 users abandons mobile apps after using them only once. 3 of 10 users do so before the 11th session. Though app abandonment is on the decline, these figures are still frustrating to any app budding provider. That’s why finding a suitable software vendor with an ideal value-per-cost ratio remains a topic of broad interest. To help you hire a mobile app developer talented enough to create a viable product, we cherry-picked some tips based on our experience. 

We’ll guide you through preparations you should make before getting into the development phase, things to pay attention to when hiring a mobile app developer, places to search for suitable talent, and hourly rates across different countries.

Things to Consider Before Hiring a Mobile App Developer

According to Harvard Business School, about 95% of newly-launched products fail. One of the main reasons behind this sad statistics is skipping phases listed below and hiring a mobile app developer “empty-handed.” 

Problem/Solution fit

First up, define your target audience (TA) and find its “pains.” Only then brainstorm the solution. 

  1. Determine and explore your audience. 
    Begin with basics (age, gender, income, education, and occupation) and then proceed with details (personality, attitudes, values, lifestyle, struggles, etc.).
  2. Validate the problem.
    Based on the findings, brainstorm what problems your target audience might face in your industry. Don’t stop on mere hypotheses – interview 5-7 potential customers to learn whether these problems are really crucial. 
  3. Validate the solution. 
    Find the solution. Do a competitor audit and see how you can make your app stand out from them. After that, draft a rough prototype of your MVP to verify whether your solution meets your TA’s needs. 

Product/Launch fit

At this stage, you should define the minimum set of features that can bring your first customers, and advertise them. 

  1. Define an MVP
    Don’t get into details right off the bat — draft your MVP and outline its most valuable features. 
  2. Build a landing page. 
    A landing page will help you gain your initial traction and get contact information to nurture your potential customers into actual clients. 
  3. Set KPIs. 
    Set metrics to measure your product launch success. These may include the number of subscribers, leads, conversions, sales, etc. 

Have clear requirements and a roadmap

The lack of a well-defined roadmap is another reason why most products fail — with 150 products under our belt, we know this from our own experience. Lay down your requirements to match your app’s purpose and its key functionality: an accurate description of your future app is key to your success. If you are worried that someone might steal your idea, ask your potential vendor to sign an NDA.

Though the discovery phase is time-consuming, it is a foundation for your success. To this end, Relevant Software offers business analysis to help you explore your audience, identify their struggles, find a viable solution, and outline a clear roadmap.

Mobile app design process

Where to Find a Mobile App Developer for Hire 

Freelancers, remote employees, or IT outsourcing companies? It depends. Below, we’ll explain in what case each type of mobile app developers for hire might work best, and will give a list of websites where to look for them. 

Freelancers 

In case you have a small project that doesn’t really need a team of developers, designers, and testers (like creating a WordPress website), finding a freelancer will be enough. 

Upwork and Freelancer are the most popular platforms for hiring mobile app developers. Both Upwork and Freelancer function as liaisons between freelancers and employers, processing all the payments and protecting both parties from possible fraud. 

Codementor is a commercial IT tutoring platform, connecting mentors and mentees. It’s a go-to website if you want to find experts in a particular field to help you acquire new skills. Codementor will also match you with independent contractors if you need to have a small project or assignment done. 

Remote employees

When it comes to medium- and long-term projects that require specific training, consider hiring a remote employee. An RE is more like an extension to your team, rather than an independent player.

Places to find remote employees

Of course, you can hire a mobile app developer on your own, using LinkedIn, for example. But you’ll have to weed out candidates who are not currently looking for a job or those who seek office-based positions. Instead, consider platforms specializing in remote mobile app developers for hire, such as Remote.com, Hired, and YouTeam. 

Remote.com is a go-to platform for finding full-time and part-time remote contractors from around the globe. On Remote, you can either search for candidates manually or rely on the AI algorithm that finds the best talent based on the project duration, skills, and the payment model.

On Hired, you can find both freelancers and full-time mobile app developers for hire. The platform is industry- and location-specific (some regions of the US, Canada, and France). With a 5% admission rate, Hired accepts only IT talents with degrees from leading universities and backgrounds in leading companies (Facebook, Apple, etc.). At Hired, you can also hire a mobile app developer from your city.

YouTeam connects individual mobile app developers for hire from agencies and clients. All agencies and their developers have to pass a thorough screening and will be banned if their skills differ from what they advertise. If you need a team of developers, YouTeam is an ideal option. The platform offers multiple teams working in the same office and used to collaboration.

Outsourcing companies and agencies 

If you have a complex project, consider an IT outsourcing company. This gives you the privilege of hiring mobile app developers with a unique experience of work on top projects. It also guarantees that the deadlines will be met, quality will shoot off the charts, and the management headache won’t be yours. 

For example, Relevant Software offers mobile app developers for hire, as well as UI/UX designers, business analysts, security specialists, project managers, and QA experts. Having provided 200+ effective solutions, we are proud to be listed as one of the top software development companies, according to Clutch and GoodFirms.

Rates of Mobile App Developers in Different Countries

The rates of mobile app developers for hire vary from country to country, ranging from $100-200 per hour in the USA and Western Europe to $8-10 per hour in India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Ukraine seems to be a golden mean charging $25-50 hourly while offering a high level of competency. 

UkraineUnited StatesWestern Europe
The average annual salary for a middle iOS developer, USD48 000120 00080 000
The average annual salary for a middle Android developer, USD48 000127 00055 000

10 Things to Consider to Successfully Hire a Mobile App Developer

Mobile app development is so popular that pulling a real pro (or a team of pros) from a vast pool of candidates seems next to impossible. However, if you know exactly what you need to develop and you bear these 10 tips in your mind, you’ll easily hire a mobile app developer to bring your idea to life.

  1. App type. Is your app going to be an extension to your business, or do you see it as a startup company? Is it a simple or complex app? What category does it belong to (education, lifestyle, entertainment, etc.)? Be ready to answer these questions and hire a mobile app developer accordingly. 
  2. Experience & skills. Depending on the app type, consider what tech stack to look for. Our articles on hiring an Android, iOS, and Flutter developers will make things easier. 
  3. Communication and the ability to work remotely. Communication is crucial, especially with offshore companies. Before going into details, try to contact your potential vendor via chat, email, or phone and schedule an introduction meeting.
  4. Budget. Discuss prices ahead of time. Apart from development, consider other expenses, like design, maintenance, testing, deployment, and other services. Never prioritize pricing over quality. 
  5. Timeline. Discuss the timeline in advance and see if it is reasonable.
  6. Portfolio. Look at the portfolio of a mobile app developer for hire. Download their apps (check if there might be any similar to yours), see whether they function as advertised, if there are bugs, and if they do offer value to a customer. 
  7. References. Hunt for references. Besides those listed on their website, contact their clients and consult evaluation sites, such as Clutch or GoodFirms.
  8. Look for developers that can guide you. There are always a few different ways to code one and the same app. If your mobile app developer for hire is able to suggest a better solution, take it into consideration.
  9. Look for long-term relationships. Development doesn’t stop after the release. Having processed the feedback, a vendor should fix any bugs they overlooked, add new features, and make your app easier-to-use according to the customers’ needs. Long-term relationships are a must.
  10. Compatibility. Make sure that language barriers, time zones, various communication tools, and different values aren’t obstacles to successful project completion. 
Mobile app developer for hire

iOS, Android and Hybrid mobile app developers for hire

At Relevant Software, we help companies augment their staff as well as build a mobile application from scratch. Depending on your project stage and complexity, and your existing team, our mobile app developers for hire can work as a part of your team, or solo, taking ownership of the delivery. This is how the whole process looks like: 

  1. Requirements analysis. We gather and analyze your requirements (precise description of your MVP, team size, desired workflow, etc.). Even if you are not tech-savvy, we will listen to your needs, translate them into specs for our developers, and help you set up the most efficient workflow. 
  2. Hiring. Our HR team selects developers based on their experience, expertise, level of English, and other factors to meet your requirements. If we don’t have any talents sitting on the bench, it will take about a month to do additional hires. However, in case you need to hire mobile app developers immediately, we can tap into our partners’ talent pool and find the necessary resources for you within a week. 
  3. Integration. Having completed over 150 successful projects, we can easily integrate our talents into your in-house team and set up the most efficient workflow. If necessary, you can meet our talents in person.
  4. The result. You get your very own dedicated team under your control – just as your other employees. The only difference is that we handle all the administrative tasks so nothing can distract you from your project. 

Here are some of our projects: 

  • Biderator is a platform that connects construction workers and their clients. Contractors compete for projects by submitting bids, and project owners choose suitable contractors.
  • FirstHomeCoach is an app that helps UK users buy property and navigate legal documents connected with it, such as mortgage or insurance.
  • Hyko is a mobile app for a smart lamp that teaches kids to turn off the lights. 

Summary

The process of hiring a mobile app developer shouldn’t be rushed. When hiring talent or a team, pay attention to their experience, skills, portfolio, references, and communication style. Your choice will depend on multiple factors – your app type, business requirements, budget, deadlines. Depending on your project type, you can choose between freelancers, remote employees, or outsourcing companies from around the globe. 

There are gazillions of reliable options. But why go back and forth if your dream team is a click away? Just contact us and see how we can foster your business growth.