A few simple questions to better vet offshore development vendors

A friend of mine recently ran into a fairly common problem: Trouble with an offshore vendor.  Bad offshore development can be a black hole for both time and money.

He pinged me for advice on how to evaluate if they could really do the job.  Here are some questions I recommended that he pose to them:

  • Can I receive background history of the developers working on the project? Will I be able to discuss issues with them directly?
  • What bug/issue tracking system do you use? Can I get access to this?
  • What automated testing system do you use? Will I be able to see the results of each build?

And of course, ask for a list of references.  Now, if you’re like me you will probably receive this list, verify that the companies / names are real via Google, LinkedIn, etc. and leave it at that.  Don’t.  Call at least two of the references and speak with them in detail.  Ask them about the above questions.

And if you can swing it, travel out to the meet the company personally.  Turn it into a vacation.  Better a vacation than black hole purgatory.