How to Hire the Best Outsourced Development Team for a Startup

13 min read
How to Hire the Best Outsourced Development Team for a Startup

Offshore software development allows you access to a diverse pool of tech talent that can allow you to move your project quicker and in a more cost-efficient way.

That being said, choosing the wrong outsourced development team can lead to unnecessary costs, project delays, and a poor overall product, all of which we are sure you will want to avoid. And this is where we are here to help. We'll walk you through the steps necessary to hire a great outsourced development team.

How to find the best outsourced development team

Finding an outsourced development team might seem a little intimidating at first, in part down to the vast amount of choice in software outsourcing. However, the best tech talent is busy. That is why you need to be prepared for putting effort to find a dedicated team that is available at a reasonable timeframe.

Before you do anything else, it’s important to ensure that you’ve got your game plan. You should have an idea of your budget, the end goal for the project, and the timescale by which you wish to achieve it. With all this, you’ll be in a great position to find your remote development team.

Here is how you can find good development teams:

  • Recommendations (referrals) from people you know. If you know someone who has experience with software development outsourcing, they might be worth reaching out to. This is especially true if their business is in a similar area to yours.

  • Google Search. Both paid and organic results can be helpful. Try to enter a couple of terms relevant to your software development needs and check the companies that talk about it. This way you get information on software development services and if their portfolio of projects completed matches your project idea.

  • Software development outsourcing listings. There is a number of company directories that will help you find outsourced development companies. For example, 1 million users visit Clutch each month to connect with a business partner. It allows filtering results through the service types, company size, hour rates range, industry experience, and company location.

Checking the web to choose a software development partner may yield some results. But, it is also a good idea to contact companies and ask if they have expertise with your particular niche. Best software development companies will offer an information pack that includes case studies, and this could be enough to make you want to decide to take things further. Reviewing case studies will assist you in identifying the most promising software development partner.

PRO TIP: Try to go to smaller custom software development company with a good experience rather than large software outsourcing firms that have multiple layers of management. These layers can also lead to other problems in the development process such as poor communication and delays, plus inflated budgets.

What to look for outsourced development teams?

As you go through the process of making your shortlist (or perhaps finding the one), there are a number of criteria you should look out for. Let’s take a look at a few of those.

Focus on your success

Outsourcing software development is an excellent way to make up for internal resource shortages. As a matter of fact, the bare minimum you can do here is simply come up with an idea and a loose plan of what you want the overall product to look like.

This is especially important for startups building Minimal Viable Product, which is used to make sure your idea works for your end-users the way you imagined. It can also help to ensure that your project idea can be done within the budget and timeframe you are aiming at. The MVP will yield a lot of validated learning feedback that you can use to further improve the product with your outsourced team.

The outsourcing partner should be able to guide you through the whole planning experience. This includes wireframing, cost estimation, sketches of the UX and UI design, and the software development itself. If they can’t do all of this, then you can do better with your selection!

PRO TIP: Project planning, cost estimation, wireframing, UI/UX design, software development — outsourcing companies can do it all. That’s why they can put together the most optimal project plan for any project. Learn more about our software product development company services

Experienced engineering leader

Building the outsourced development team starts with a high-performing leader, who brings in technical capabilities and chooses necessary technology talent to accomplish the work.

The leader of the development team will be your main point of contact throughout the whole process. Sure, you might want to talk to individual software developers and QA engineers from time to time, too. But having one team member to talk to also means that there is a single team member who is the go-to person when you have any questions to ask or issues to raise.

When you are all in software development planning is easy to gain confidence that you are on the same page with the outsourced team. But there can be team members who are not up to scratch. Having an engineering leader discuss the plan daily with other team members is much more effective than talking to each team member individually.

At SoftKraft we have dedicated development tracks to ensure a talent pool for the Engineering Leader position. Our Engineering Leaders not only handle the technology, and team, but also work towards your long-term success on all levels. For example, they are capable of joining your design team and contributing to the product development process.

PRO TIP: Hire a Technology expert or Interim CTO with a proven track record. He will help you with project management from your end. Check out CTO as a Service - on-demand technical leadership services, which combines project manager, business analysts, and software engineers skillsets.

Software development process

Now that you know a little more about what you can expect and how the outsourced team is going to work, we can find out more about the software development process.

Having a proven software development team strucutre put in place will make the entire process seamless and efficient while being able to tackle challenges that prop up along the way. Your software development team should follow a project management methodology, like Scrum agile methodology.

Choose a software development outsourcing team that has an agile software development process, based on adaptive planning, early delivery, and project updates. This will ensure you are up to date with what's happening at any stage of project development.

PRO TIP: While custom software development often requires a lot of effort, time, and money. Before you invest in custom software, learn about common pitfalls you must avoid from our custom software development process guide.

Effective communication

Software development is a complex process and communication troubles will make it hard at every step of the way, from defining requirements to working out stakeholders and users feedback.

Project management tools, collaboration tools and proper communication skills are key to good project coordination and great results, in all key aspects: cost, time, and quality. Make sure that the offshore software development team you choose provides a proper communication process for your software development project.

Every project manager knows that there’s nothing such as over-communication in agile software development. To set the project for a great result, we recommend setting up as many communication channels with the remote team as you can:

PRO TIP: When you implement agile outsourcing it might appear incompatible to merge agile processes and managing outsourced development teams. The agile techniques, with their emphasis on collaboration, frequently contrasts with the traditional outsourcing paradigm. See how to make outsourcing work with agile development guide.

How to evaluate an outsourced development team?

Deciding to work with an outsourced software development team will prove to be an investment, so it’s important to not be too conservative with your budget. It’s especially true if an outsourcing agency gives you a low estimate to tempt you in then either raise the bill or drop the quality later on. You need a reliable outsourcing partner with experienced engineering teams.

Check their portfolio and experience in your domain

The first and most important thing to do is check out the portfolio of the outsourcing development team and find out if it matches what you are looking for. See who the outsourced team has worked with previously and what type of project scope they have done. This serves a number of purposes.

  • Find out if they have projects completed similar to your product idea
  • Gauge the level of experience of the outsourced team members
  • Confirm maturity of project management and if they are able to handle your project scope.

This is not to say that companies with a wide range of customers and a company’s portfolio are the best for your use case. The key point is that the outsourcing partner has experience in your business processes. If the software development company claims to have experience doing something similar to what you want, but can’t share any information, then this can be a red flag.

It’s true that outsourcing companies may not always be able to share their previous projects due to non-disclosure agreements. However, they should at least be able to give you a broad outline of their previous projects, how they were developed, and how they benefit the clients.

Interview the vendor

After you’ve seen the portfolio and are keen to hear more, it’s time to have a more in-depth talk with them. There’s no harm in lining up two or three outsourcing companies to interview as you are not committing to anything at this stage.

If you’d like to find out the kinds of things you should be asking during these interviews, take a look at our 15 questions to ask software vendors. Get the vendor interview questions right and you should have all the information you need to select the best offshore software development team.

PRO TIP: The software development contract is a legally binding document that establishes the terms and conditions of the relationship between you and the offshore software development partner. Check our custom software development agreement template

Share your product vision (visually)

If you feel like you have given your vendor of choice a thorough interview and they are continuing to impress you, it’s time to talk business. Remember, communicating your product is crucial here, as the better idea the developers can get of it, the better they will be able to help and take things to the next level with innovation.

You’ll want to define your definition of success for the project. What should it be able to do and how should the people who use it feel? How much money should it make? What should it look like? If you can’t answer these questions now, make sure you can before you start sharing your product vision.

Show the vendor what the customer journey should look like, from the moment they begin to engage with the product to fulfilling their goals. The software developers will be able to make this process as enjoyable and efficient as possible which will leave your customers wanting to keep coming back for more.

Choose a company that will see you as a partner

Finally, look for a culture fit — a company that views you not just as a client, but as a partner. Startups are passion projects that require teamwork and vision, and you want a software developer that shares and understands your passion and will bring your vision to life. They are an extension of your team.

Working with a smaller company will make it more likely that they see you as a partner and create a level playing field. A culture fit in this sense will encourage teamwork and a shared vision, the benefits of which can be limitless. Consider the vendor to be part of your team and you should see that they feel the same back if they are worth their salt.

This will also allow them to better understand your business needs, provide post-dev support service, and enhancements to the product. They’ll be more accountable when things are wrapped up if you need any support later down the line.

All the way through the stages we have listed so far, you should be able to tell that your future partner is trying their best (and succeeding) to understand your needs. If they can’t, things are going to take a lot longer, become more expensive and the overall quality of the product is going to suffer.

PRO TIP: the more questions they ask, the better. Pay attention if your partner wants to make sure that they’re on the same page as you on the business requirements.

Software Development Outsourcing with SoftKraft

Need to craft an end-to-end software application with a complete cross-functional agile team? At SoftKraft we provide software product development services. We take project ownership and responsibility for decisions that were taken during the development. Success of the project is the only metric that really matters to us.

  • Engage quality tech professionals

    15+ years of experience in engineering custom software solutions for startups and SMEs.

  • Results-driven design thinking

    Design Workshops to clarify your business idea and build a much better product faster.

  • Business-minded engineering

    Work with engineers who understand the need for bottom-line results from tech initiatives.


Software development project teams vary from outsourcing company to outsourcing company. When hiring developers for a startup, it is important to go through a rigorous process to find the best outsourced development team, like the steps we have just detailed. Compare your options over and over. If it turns out that no one you initially selected is right for the task, go back to the drawing board and start again searching for outsourcing vendors.

If you’re in the process of outsourcing software development to Eastern Europe, reach out to SoftKraft to see what we can do for you. We’re happy to share our portfolio and find out whether we can get you to where you need to be on your next software development project.