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How to Properly Evaluate the Deliverables Provided by Your Outsourcing Partner?

November 3, 2023
Volodymyr Rudyi

The Deloitte Global Outsourcing Survey reports that cost reduction is the first key reason for businesses to opt for an outsourcing model. Meanwhile, the 2022 Computer Economics research claims that almost 50% of companies-respondents will try to outsource more, increasing their share in a relevant market. Since software development is among the top industries where outsourcing is widely used, the following question arises. How can your organization effectively evaluate software project deliverables from an outsourcing vendor?

This question is essential as each business aims to feel confident in a partner who must meet the settled standards, add value to the project, and provide the desired results. But sometimes, the deliverables’ evaluation may become tough, particularly when your project scope, timelines, budget constraints, or quality demands may change with time. So, in this blog post, we will discuss some best practices to correctly measure project deliverables in the software development realm and guarantee future success. 

What Are Project Deliverables, and Why Are They Important?

Deliverables are considered outputs within your project scope. Similarly, they are tangible products you have after the project completion. 

Project deliverables serve as measurable results your company aims to achieve during project development phases. So, end products, services, reports, or other documents generated during objective-focused work are often project deliverables. But what are the top advantages of adequately planning them for your business? Here are some of them:

  • An appropriate understanding of tasks necessary for your project to succeed
  • Clear expectations regarding what you will obtain in the long run
  • Accurate estimations, mainly in terms of costs, scope, and time
  • More independent and efficient work of your outsourcing partner
  • Staying always synchronized with your vendor

5 Critical Steps to Ensure the Expected Deliverables from Your Outsourcing Partner

Before delving into the most efficient practices and tips to evaluate the deliverables from your vendor, let’s check how to guarantee the desired results from such cooperation.

Step 1. Defining Project Deliverables

First, if your business aims to get deliverables that meet existing expectations, their clear and precise definition is crucial. The key project deliverables in software development may include software features, documentation, prototypes, or specific reports. You should also correctly describe the deliverables’ scope and quality and set the acceptance criteria. 

When defining project deliverables, you can also benefit from involving all stakeholders and asking them for feedback and further approval. That allows for eliminating confusion and potential conflicts later on while establishing a common understanding of project objectives.

Step 2. Planning Project Deliverables

The second step requires creating a well-detailed plan on producing, testing, and delivering project deliverables by your outsourcing partner. For instance, many software development companies prefer creating a work breakdown structure (WBS). This approach helps divide the deliverables into small, manageable tasks that a project manager (PM) can assign to relevant team members. Here, estimating the timelines, costs, and required resources are also critical since that allows for setting realistic project deadlines and budget. 

In addition, you must determine the quality standards and metrics to evaluate all future deliverables and understand how to track and control them during the entire project.

Step 3. Communicating Project Deliverables

The third stage is maintaining regular and transparent communication with an outsourcing vendor regarding the deliverables and their current status. To do that effectively, you can apply specific communication tools and techniques, including email, video meetings, reports, dashboards, demo versions, etc. Thus, your company can understand the project’s progress, problems, threats, or changes with the deliverables.

Moreover, your project development will benefit if you provide your outsourcing partner with clear feedback and valuable inputs, ask questions promptly, and express concerns. That will empower you to keep informed about the project, engage in relevant processes, and build trusty relationships with a vendor. 

Step 4. Reviewing Project Deliverables

Now, the time to examine your project deliverables is coming. Thus, you must verify whether they satisfy previously settled quality standards and acceptance criteria. Your company can do that by conducting quality assurance (QA) activities. The latter may often cover testing, inspections, and audits, which are vital for checking the deliverables’ usability. After all, that helps understand how functional, efficient, and reliable they are. 

Performing quality control (QC) activities are also critical for reviewing project deliverables. These can include validation, verification, and reviews from peers, which allows for ensuring the deliverables’ compliance with all requirements and specifications. You should have all the results and findings related to QA/QC tasks documented. Finally, if you find any bugs or other issues, you must communicate them to your outsourcing partner and ask for fixing.

Step 5. Accepting Project Deliverables

The last step in this process is formally accepting project deliverables and sign-off. Remember that your vendor should deliver the necessary deliverables following the agreed-upon approach and format. For instance, they can be online, offline, or even hybrid. So, you must ensure that each deliverable is complete and accurate. 

Ultimately, an outsourcing company must provide all the required documents, conduct training sessions for your staff, or support your business in another settled way. These practices will assist you in implementing or using the obtained deliverables effectively. Here, you can also ask other project stakeholders for feedback and reviews. That can be helpful in evaluating the project’s success and user satisfaction.

Best Practices for Effective Evaluation of the Deliverables

Below are the most efficient methods and tools your business can implement to properly evaluate the deliverables from your software development vendor.

Conduct an Audit

A software development project audit means systematically and independently examining each process, product, and resource on your project. Its primary purpose is to ensure that the project follows the agreed-upon requirements, specifications, industry standards, or other critical practices. Besides, audits also identify the existing or potential gaps, risks, or problems you must address. 

But who should conduct them? Here are two options: internal and external auditors. Your perfect choice will depend on the audit’s scope and goals. Usually, an auditor reviews project documents, interviews your project team, observes tasks and tests your software products.

Ensure Regular Reviews

Evaluating your software development project's progress, performance, and quality is the core of regular reviews. Their goal is to guarantee that your project team receives not only valuable feedback but also guidance and support. That helps determine if the project meets your expectations and end users' needs. 

Such reviews can be conducted by project managers, sponsors or other stakeholders, peer groups, or external consultants. The choice mainly depends on the review type and level. A typical review showcases the project's status, milestones, issues, and plans and communicates its main challenges, threats, and opportunities. 

Assess Software Quality Metrics

These quantitative measures can significantly assist in evaluating your deliverables’ quality, including software products and processes. They help monitor, control, and improve it during the entire project, providing reliable information for further decision-making and reports.

For example, the most popular software quality metrics are the following:

  • Functionality. It evaluates how well your software solution satisfies the functional requirements and offers the expected functions and features. 
  • Reliability. This one measures how consistent and accurate your software product’s performance is under abnormal and usual conditions.
  • Usability. The particular metric explores how intuitively and easily your target audience can utilize your software. 
  • Efficiency. This metric assesses how effectively your solution uses available resources and reduces relevant time and energy waste. 
  • Maintainability. It examines how modifying, updating, and fixing your software by programmers are seamless and cost-effective. 

Portability. The last metric evaluates how smooth your software is in terms of transferring and adapting it to various platforms and environments.

Assess Software Performance Metrics

Similar to software quality metrics, these are also quantitative measures used to assist in evaluating the performance of software solutions and related processes. With the ability to provide decision-makers with reliable data, they help your company measure, optimize, and improve software performance during your project’s lifecycle. The most widely used metrics in this category involve: 

  • Response time. It explores how fast your product responds to various user requests. 
  • Throughput. This metric assesses the amount of work your solution processes in a certain period of time. 
  • Availability. This one examines the frequency and duration of your software’s accessibility and operations. 
  • Stability. Lastly, this metric evaluates how robust and resilient your solution addresses errors, failures, or interruptions. 

Utilize Software Feedback Tools

Such solutions are software applications that enable collecting, managing, and analyzing feedback from your end users or clients. Thus, the right software feedback tools will help you learn more about user experience and how satisfied they are and bring crucial insights into how you can improve and innovate your product. Today, the most well-known types of these tools include the following:

  • Survey tools - to create and distribute surveys
  • Review tools - to monitor reviews and ratings
  • Analytics tools - to track the behavior of end users
  • Feedback forms - to embed feedback forms or relevant widgets

After all, all the mentioned solutions can assist you in obtaining a deeper understanding of your audience’s requirements and expectations.

Analyze Your ROI

Measuring your return on investment (ROI) is vital when evaluating project deliverables. With the data about the financial advantages and project costs, you can better determine the value provided by your outsourcing partner. When analyzing ROI, you may use the following practical tips:

  • Calculating development costs. Here, you should involve all project-related costs, including development costs, required software licenses, hardware used, ongoing maintenance, etc. They are fundamental to assessing investments you have made. 
  • Quantifying financial pros. These advantages result from your software. They often cover increased revenue, money savings, or enhanced productivity. 
  • Computing ROI. You should divide the net financial pros by your invested total costs. Thus, the calculated ROI will help your business understand the general value your product generates relative to the costs spent. 
  • Comparing ROI to benchmarks. It means assessing your ROI against specific benchmarks within your industry or similar development projects. This approach will provide your company with insights into how successful your software product is and determine if it meets expectations regarding financial performance. 
  • Constantly monitoring ROI. Your software will continue evolving and adapting to always-changing business requirements. Therefore, ongoing ROI tracking allows for examining your project’s long-term value and making data-driven decisions about subsequent investments. 

Pay Attention to Scalability

Finally, the right outsourcing vendor is the one who prioritizes the scalability and adaptability of your software. This approach is essential to guarantee that your solution will stay relevant and valuable. 

So, when evaluating your project deliverables, you should also consider the following aspects in terms of scalability:

  • Evaluating architecture flexibility - to ensure that your software architecture will support adding new features and modules without needing a lot of rework. 
  • Analyzing product performance under load - to explore its ability to deal with increased user traffic and large information modules. 
  • Assessing integration capabilities - to understand how well your software can integrate with various systems and apps, like CRM and ERP systems. 
  • Reviewing adaptability to changing requirements - to determine if you can seamlessly modify your solution to satisfy changing business needs based on new rules, market trends, or client expectations. 

Final Thoughts

Evaluating project deliverables from your outsourcing partner covers crucial actions like auditing, reviewing, and testing. That allows for adequately analyzing different factors. These often include project objectives, KPIs, adherence to settled timelines, user feedback, software quality, and the potential for scalability.  

Proper attention to the mentioned aspects will give you a complex understanding of critical project outcomes. Therefore, you can determine whether your vendor’s deliverables have achieved the desired goals. Such a holistic approach to measuring project deliverables guarantees that your software will bring lasting value and promote your business growth and success in the market. 

Are you considering cooperation with an experienced outsourcing company that consistently provides high-quality deliverables on time? Contact us immediately, and we will discuss your project in greater detail. 

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