Choosing to outsource your software development or use staff augmentation services can provide you with a fantastic opportunity to save money and get products to market faster, but only if your outsourced team is managed properly, especially if they are off-shore. Mismanage your team and you risk wasting time and money, giving yourself plenty of headaches, and leaving a bad taste in your mouth when it comes to outsourcing. Thankfully, our team of experts has compiled this simple guide on how to effectively manage an offshore software development team. Read on to learn more!
There’s no better way to ensure unexpected issues will arise during your project than not being ridiculously clear about your expectations before work starts. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you've discussed every aspect of your project exhaustively. What are the product specifications? How long will the project take to complete? After completion, how much, if any, post-launch support will you need? While this may seem like a lot to cover before even a single line of code is written, it will save you endless headaches throughout the project and guarantee that both parties are satisfied at the end.
There also may be projects where the requirements are not known 100% proactively. Those cases can be handled iteratively by deploying a different methodology, such as Agile Development.
Depending on the type and size of your project, there are software development companies that are better suited to your needs than others. If you need a large-scale, state-of-the-art application created unique to your company’s products and customers, you don’t want a team who has only worked on small-scale customization, and vice versa. When narrowing down your options, it’s important to inquire about the last projects the perspective company completed. Was the project successful? Was it completed within the original timeframe? Can you talk to the client? You can also inquire about the company’s current projects. Knowing a company’s track record will help you choose the best team for your particular project.
Being able to effectively and efficiently communicate with your outsourced software development team is of vital importance to avoid any confusion and for your project to stay on time and on budget, especially if there are differing time zones and locations. Luckily, there are several fantastic tools available to help you do that, including:
One benefit to outsourcing or using staff augmentation services is that you can draw from a pool of companies that have specific areas of expertise. And while your project may have very specific requirements, allow your outsourced team to build on skills and techniques they’ve successfully utilized in the past. After all, you’ve chosen them for their experience and expertise level. Don’t stifle them with unnecessary limits. Allowing them the freedom to execute your project in the way they believe is best will help both of you save time, resources, and money overall.
You can also hire dedicated developers who continuously work on your projects only. This would help the domain knowledge stay with a defined team and ensure you won’t need to worry about knowledge transfer.
A big hurdle that outsourcing presents is the lack of instant feedback. An in-house team provides you with dozens of opportunities every day to inquire about updates, ask questions, and test quality and functionality. Fortunately, you can still avoid potential pitfalls of separate offices by dividing your project into stages and establishing milestones in advance. There are multiple ways by which the testing methodologies can be applied and the reporting can be effective. Define criteria for quality and completeness, and schedule meetings in between milestones to discuss updates or adjustments. This will ensure that your expectations are met and that any issues are swiftly resolved before they become expensive.
A successful process and product built on trust and understanding can make for a fruitful and comfortable relationship for both parties involved long after the initial project has been completed. That’s why it’s important to strive to build a great relationship with the software development company you choose. Once that rapport is built, you’ll feel confident returning to them for future projects, and there will already be a mutual understanding of each other’s communication style, expertise, and expectations. It would also be ideal if one of your team members visits the outsourced company after a few successful deliveries. The visit enables long-term engagement and builds trust and confidence.
BeyondKey has more than a decade of experience handling outsourced and offshored projects and solutions, as well as providing staff augmentation services; and now that you know the key components to successfully managing an off-shore development team, reach out to our experienced team members to learn about how we can help your business as your go-to tech team resource. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to head over to our pages on the benefits of outsourcing and misconceptions of off-shore development.
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