Software Development Life Cycle: Which Aspects Can You Outsource?

Software development life cycle is a process that involves a set of standard business practices aimed at building software applications of all kinds. SDLC includes a set of actions aimed at creating, maintaining, modifying, and supporting a software system. This cycle typically includes between six and eight stages: planning, analysis, design, build, documenting, testing, deployment, and maintenance.

In this post, we will look into the possibilities for outsourcing software development. Specifically, we’ll explore which stages of the software development life cycle can be successfully outsourced without causing quality issues for the project. All the while, you can still keep companies, employers, and clients satisfied.

Why Do Companies Outsource Software Development?

Outsourcing software development – or at least certain aspects of it – is becoming more and more common, especially in the current business environment. While there are definitely both advantages and disadvantages when it comes to outsourcing software development, a large number of companies feel generally positive about their outsourcing practices with other companies or individuals (78%, according to a Deloitte survey). There are a number of factors attributing to this. Thee include the development of communication technology and a variety of tools that allow for efficient outsourcing: messengers, project management kits, time tracking apps, and more.

So, what are the main reasons for companies to look beyond their own resources when it comes to software development? Some of the most frequently quoted reasons include:

  • Reducing business costs
  • Letting in-house employees focus on core business while outsourcing peripheral tasks
  • Managing capacity issues and boosting in-house productivity
  • Improving service quality with outside expertise
  • Accessing more intellectual capital (beyond the location-imposed limitations)
  • Enhancing business environment and opportunities
  • Staying competitive in the constantly changing market and more

Naturally, in addition to the advantages mentioned above, there are certain disadvantages to the process of outsourcing stages of the software development life cycle, which should be considered. Some of these are:

  • Inconsistent work quality: Finding the right people for the job may be quite a challenging undertaking, especially at the beginning. Fortunately, there are more and more online resources that can help companies find the right candidates for their projects, regardless of location.
  • Possible miscommunication: Outsourcing projects or their elements may be complicated by distance, time zones and different communication standards required. This can be amended, however, by employing the right communication tools designed for remote cooperation.
  • Unforeseen delays: Another complication that can arise when working with freelancers, especially if they are located in a different time zone, are potential delays. Additionally, tracking the progress of a team that is not working in-house can be problematic. As mentioned earlier, using the right time tracking tools can help avoid issues like this.
  • Low company morale: Outsourcing is rarely designed to replace in-house employees. In contrary, it’s often used to make the situation easier for the in-house team by lowering their workload and allowing them to focus on core projects. Even so, some staff members may start to view outsourcing as a potential threat to their employment. In this case, clear communication from management is essential in defining the role outsourced team members play in a project.

Which Aspects of Software Development Cycle Are Most Suited for Outsourcing?

As mentioned above, there are several key stages in the Software Development Cycle. While any and all of these stages can technically be outsourced, some are often easier to manage remotely than others. Below, we will go over some of the specifics that come with outsourcing each particular stage in the program development cycle.


It’s hard to arrive at a satisfying final product without a comprehensive plan. A good and carefully thought-through plan is essential for the project going smoothly and accomplishing the desired result. It is the key stage of the development process and is highly dependent on the vision, requirements, and resources that a company has. This is typically the part of the process taken over by those directly responsible for the final product. Thus, ideally, this phase of the development process is best managed in-house. This will give project managers more control of how the end product will look, allow for a clear setting of requirements, and help avoid miscommunication. Plus, it will make for a strong base for outsourcing other aspects of the process in the future.


Determining the way a project will move through its production stages and clarifying what requirements need to be fulfilled for it to progress is another key stage of the process. Quite similar to Planning, this stage of a program’s development is generally carried out in-house and external consultants may be hired occasionally to provide expertise in specific areas.


At this stage of the process, it is required to make a solid and realistic design of the software procedure. This is one of the most widely outsourced phases in program development and a large number of companies prefer to delegate this task to external experts. This is often done to both ensure a higher quality result and to save costs on having full-time software designers on the team. Finding the right freelancer for the job may be a challenging undertaking. However, with lots of online resources available, companies have more and more support when it comes to building a strong remote design team.


Once the design stage has been successfully completed, the development stage takes over. This is probably the most complex and multi-step part of the whole process. It is the one that includes lots of moving parts and requires the involvement of both in-house and outsourced experts. As this part of the software development cycle is generally the most resource-consuming, it’s also the one frequently outsourced.


Once the development stage is complete, testing begins. It is an important and unavoidable part of the process that helps examine the product for any mistakes, bugs and glitches that could lead to bigger problems if undetected. This is also the time to carefully examine the way the software works. The team will assess whether it meets all the requirements laid out during the planning, analysis, and design stages.

Testing is generally performed in-house. However, this depends on the type of software under development. In some cases, outsourcing the testing stage may prove to be both cost and quality effective, ensuring a better final product.


Once the software has been designed, developed and tested, it’s ready to be released for public use. This is where the maintenance stage comes in. The product needs to be properly maintained, adjusted, and upgraded to provide the best possible service to its users. This involves going through a mini-cycle that will basically include all the stages described above. Developers will have to analyze how the software is performing while designing upgrades and improvements. They will implement them and ensure that the product is always in line with user requirements. This stage of the software development cycle is often quite easy to outsource, which allows to significantly reduce program operation costs and improve user experience.

As we can see from above, the process of software development is a complicated one and the software development life cycle involves multiple stages. In order to make things easier and the whole process more efficient and cost-effective, companies often turn to outsourcing. As evidence shows, outsourcing certain stages of the software development life cycle like design, development and maintenance can prove to be a productive cost- and labor-saving solution. Moreover, with a generous selection of online tools and resources that help improve remote communication and cooperation, outsourcing work to freelance experts seems to be a strategy more and more companies may be willing to commit to.

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