A: At the end of the day, there is no way of playing it extremely safe, simply because companies in general cannot protect themselves from employees leaving. Neither can your software development partner.
But there are two things you can do to minimize the risk:
- Make sure that your partner is responsible for replacing people dropping out of your project in a timely manner and that he bears all or at least most of the associated costs.
Bringing new people on a project always means new learning curves, the magnitude of which are pretty difficult to calculate; but a pragmatic way could be to agree on a “phase-in” period for new project members within a given timeframe, free of charge for you.
- Take a look at the working climate at your partner and ask what he is doing to engage people on a long-term basis. These days, even the most established software development destinations face the same challenges of offering private health insurance, lunch vouchers, free sports activities, regular company events, ongoing trainings, participative management styles, transparent bonus systems and the like
Our own experience shows that a healthy working climate is a key factor to ensure low employee turnover. The working climate is the pivotal result of all kinds of efforts to take people seriously, value their contributions, remunerate them fairly, appreciate their creativity and motivate them in a positive way – rather than exerting negative pressure to enforce certain behaviours.
Idea: Why don’t you simply pay a visit to your potential partner? Nothing replaces a direct first-hand insight obtained on their premises.
One day of being onsite will give you a clearer picture of how things work, much clearer than anything portrayed by sales reps or glossy brochures.