10 tips to succeed in offshoring software development
Offshoring software development is still part of large discussions. The board of SMEs are still not convinced about the benefits it could deliver. To make the choice easier for every board member we enlisted 10 tips to succeed in offshoring software development.
1. Make offshoring a strategy
If offshoring your software development is only a matter of cost reduction: don’t do it! Make it a part of your business strategy. You need to know why you are outsourcing software development. What is your goal? Do you want to expand your team or do you want to free up your own time? Knowing your goal helps you determine what tasks to outsource, as well as the type of people you need to look for to get the job done.
2. Manage expectations and make a plan
The biggest trap in working with projects is expectations. Make sure the whole team and all involved parties are aware of the goal of the project, the expected output and the way to get there. Make a plan, a mock up, be sure the look & feel is clear, what are the quality requirements etc etc. If things are not clear, the team will improvise or a delay will occur or – in worst case scenario – the result is miles away of the intended one.
It sounds logic, but people forget it many times: make a plan. What do you expect, what is your timeline, what are your goals. So follow these three steps in the process and you will succeed:
a. Make a plan
b. Follow up!
c. Adjust if needed
3. Find the right offshoring partner
Finding the right business partner is not that easy, the same apply for finding the right offshore partner. In relationships various factors contributes to the success of the collaboration. So make sure you examine following topics to be covered and to be on the same level of understanding:
- Cultural fit
- Technical assessments – good quality
- Proven track record
4. Good communication
To state the obvious… good communication is a requirement. But how to manage good communication? One of the most handled methods in software development is scrum. This agile way of working exist of i.e. sprints and stand up meetings. This promotes communications regularly and on all levels in the team. An agile way of working combined with the use of modern techniques and technologies and daily contact contributes to a good communication and to a smooth progress of the project.
How many times does people appoint projects to a third party based on costs and idle talk, without the assurance of commitment? After a while one discovers that they didn’t met deadlines and that they delivered poor quality. Be sure your offshore partner is committed and has the capacity to fulfill the assignment.
6. Physical, infrastructure and IT Security
Security is a big issue these days when talking about software development. And not only related to security in the system itself, but also about the physical security of the software development firm and the infrastructure security. Be sure that the offshore company you will work with has a security policy about i.e. who can enter the building and the office spaces, are there any biometrical access points, is there a regular check about attendance. And how safe is the infrastructure of the company? I.e. ask if it is possible to set up your team in a dedicated room and which operating system security measures the company has taken.
There is a lot more to write about security, it is too large to describe it in just a few words. In the past we wrote an article about how we deal with security. Check this link to read all about it.
7. Use time difference as an advantage
Some people are convinced that a larger time difference is a disadvantage. But be sure it can be a profit too. By working with an offshore party in another time zone, you can extend the production process. If your offshore partner is flexible (also a very important issue), you can adjust the working hours of your remote team to your working hours if necessary.
I.e. your company development team is located at the Netherlands. Normal working hours are from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm local time. Your remote team works from the office located at the Philippines with the same normal working hours. Converting the time difference between the Philippines to the Netherlands you extinct your working day with 7 hours: 1.30 am to 5.00 pm. And when debriefing your remote team at the end of the Dutch working day, they have a list with to do’s to start with the next day. And this work will be done as soon as your working day start. Quick win in time and effort!
8. Retain control
One of the most common problems with working with third parties is stay in control of your own projects. Lot of offshore companies includes project management in their quotes, but it is not always rational to offshore this part. Specially with large and complex projects it is important to stay at the helm. Do your own project management, participate at stand up meetings and let your software development staff directly report to you.
The place you choose should match your current and future needs. So be aware of following:
- Availability of resources for the skills you need
- Price versus quality
- Ease of communication, i.e. language, cultural barriers and time-zone difference
- Political stability of the region
- Infrastructure i.e. electricity, internet, water
- Distance i.e. travel time, expenses such as a hotel/restaurant, accessibility
- Labor laws, and in general, rule of law
- Cost and regulations to set-up your own business, is a 100% ownership allowed?
10. Give it a try!
Still not sure if offshoring software development works for your company? Give it a try with one project. This could be the building of a new website, a mobile app, an adjustment of existing software of hiring a software developer by staff leasing for a few months.
11. Bonus: Be the owner of your source code
We encounter it so often, leads approach us with a request for a quote to assist them in their software development. There is only one problem, they do not have access to the source code. Even if they created it and are the owners of the copyright. The software development company they hired keep the software as their own and never give access to it. So be aware that you always take care of this.
Want to know more? Contact us