Building and maintaining a complex infrastructure requires resources. So, what’s a startup to do? Expand its services. While some startups can bring on additional employees as needed, most lack the money and time it takes to afford such a luxury. Instead, these teams should consider the benefits of outsourcing their DevOps services.
Gandalf: [pointing to a tunnel] There!
Merry: He remembered!
Gandalf: No, but the air doesn't smell so foul here. If in doubt, Meriadoc, always follow your nose.
Here are five alternatives to just "following your nose."
1. Does the provider have the necessary experience?
Let’s start with the basics. To ensure your partner can expand your Ruby on Rails offerings, it’s important to look at the “hard stuff,” or the essentials required to complete the job. What’s the longest the partner has maintained an application? Does it have a diverse portfolio? What’s its preferred framework? Depending on your environment, you may want to check that employees have certain certifications.
It’s up to you to determine whether the provider has the capabilities to enhance your current project. Ask to see examples of previous work. Because of contractual obligations, you may not be able to see the code of existing projects. However, seeing a demonstration of existing work provides you with an idea of a partner’s capabilities.
2. Does the provider have references from other companies?
Once you’ve identified a list of qualified partners, it’s important to see if these companies are as reliable as they are competent. Not properly vetting potential partners is a common—and potentially disastrous—mistake that many companies make. To ensure a DevOps team can be trusted with important product and infrastructure data, it’s essential to do your homework.
This can entail a variety of measures, but it’s recommended to at least perform a customer reference check. Regardless of a team’s portfolio, reference checks augment the selection process with real-life context into these projects. Gauging customer satisfaction levels validates a prospective vendor’s skills and competencies—all while providing crucial insight into its reliability and credibility.
3. Does the provider emphasize collaboration and communication?
Because communication is important in an outsourced environment, you must ensure that your outsourced service provider has a strong infrastructure to collaborate remotely. Workflow is an essential part of the development equation, and understanding your partner's methodologies encourages effective communication. Does it develop in Scrum? Does it divide tasks into sprints? What project management tools does it use? The more you know about a prospect’s collaboration capabilities, the better.
It’s also important to understand when and where it will be working. Is it located in a similar time zone? Does it speak your native language? Some startups outsource to remote teams to make the most of a workday. Regardless, being on the same page with outsourced providers not only provides your team with the value of automation and improved capabilities, but it provides you with a virtual extension of your operations team.
4. How much does it cost?
Outsourcing your hiring needs to a trusted expert enables teams to deploy rapidly without additional people—which saves you money in the long run. However, it’s important to consider the entire scope of your partnership. Simply going with the cheapest option is not necessarily the best approach. The old adage is often true—you get what you pay for.
Compare the information you’ve gathered with the price of the provider’s services. The best partners empower development teams of any size to focus on their application instead of their infrastructure. This makes your team more productive and provides more bang for the buck with development dollars spent.
5. Are they a jack of all trades, master of none?
In many of life’s situations, it helps to partner with an all-encompassing professional who can assist in many facets. However, with RoR vendors, it’s important that they’re actually proficient in Ruby. While it’s great for them to know Elixir, Python, C#, and PHP, it’s more important that they have the chops to take your application to the next level.
Pairing with an experienced expert who has applicable Ruby skills ensures that you are making the most of your investment. Looking to save money while increasing your DevOps services? Outsourcing to Engine Yard enables development teams to take their app to the next level. With 10 years of full stack Ruby on Rails experience, you can rest assured knowing that you are in good hands.