Technology startups should make software development one of their core competencies. All too often when talking to entrepreneurs I ask the “how are you building it” question and they quickly say they’re outsourcing it — I cringe momentarily. Most of the time they say they really like their outsourcing firm but that things are taking longer than expected due to a number of factors. Software engineering still has a fair amount of art to go with the science.
Projects that are fairly small and extremely definable are outsourceable for startups. These projects are almost always complementary to the main product and interface via APIs or some other mechanism. Here are some example projects that are readily outsourced:
- WordPress plugins (via a WordPress expert)
- Browser plugins
- Microsoft Office/Microsoft Outlook plugins
- Simple smart phone apps (ones core to the business need to be done in-house)
Any software development can be outsourced but I recommend technology startups do their engineering in-house and only outsource related projects that plug into their core application.
What else? What are your thoughts on outsourceable software development projects for startups?