Software Development

Software Development Outsourcing Challenges and Ways to Overcome

Software Development Outsourcing Challenges and Ways to Overcome

After you've decided to hire a software development partner to help you expand your software development capabilities, you'll need to figure out how to work with your new remote team. 

Adding remote workers to your existing team can be a wise move, as many companies have demonstrated over the years. However, you've probably also heard stories about times when it didn't work out so well. 

The so-called "Black Box" strategy was popular in the early days of outsourcing. An outsourced team was given a set of specifications for a single piece of software, and they were expected to develop it from beginning to end with very little communication. When the specification was inserted into the Black Box, all that could be done was hope. Local and outsourced teams were often kept separate by development houses, with neither knowing what the other was up to. This strategy, as expected, was a resounding failure. 

If the experiences of companies that have worked with remote software development partners have any commonality, what would that be? Software development services to international clients have shown that the success of a project often boils down to how well the local and remote teams collaborate.

Collaboration Through Communication

If you want local and remote team members to work together effectively, start by recognizing that they are all part of one team. It's not unusual for a company's on-shore staff to include one or more remote employees these days. There are a variety of reasons why key members of the team may not always be present in the office. Still, most businesses understand that modern technology makes remote work a reality. Adding remote members from a Software Development partner to your development team is the same thing. 

When it comes to a hybrid local-remote team's success, communication is critical. It's critical that everyone on the team understands the project's objectives, how their contributions contribute to its success and the inevitable changes that will occur during the course of the project (and how they should react to them). 

Although formal team meetings are held periodically, natural office intercommunications and "watercooler chat" usually suffice when all team members are located in close proximity to one another. In order to increase the capacity and capability of your team, you must acknowledge that your remote developers do not have access to the same informal communication channels that you have on-site. Trust and rapport-building are critical in a hybrid team. It's easy to overlook the importance of your project's success to the people working on the other side of the world. Your remote and local teams are separated by only one thing: time zone. The better it works, the more real-time communication it has. 

To counteract this, a more structured communication plan is usually needed to keep the entire team on the same page. These days, many development teams use some form of Agile methodology, most commonly SCRUM (or a variation). You can accomplish two things at once by holding daily stand-up meetings: you can stay on top of SCRUM model requirements while also keeping your entire team on the same page. Many of these dangers can be effectively mitigated by requiring that all team members, regardless of where they are located, attend these meetings. These days, it's much easier to keep up with all the great video, voice, and screen-sharing tools that are available. 

In addition, if your software development partner is located in a time zone that allows for significant overlap with your local team members, some tools can broaden your range of possibilities even more. Many businesses benefit from the ability to keep their entire team in real-time communication throughout the business day by using tools such as Zoom, Skype for Business, GoToMeeting, and other similar services. Everything that comes up in passing throughout the day can usually be discussed and resolved by the team as they arise, with no delays to the project's schedule.

Collaboration Through Process

Nothing is more infuriating than working with a team where some members adhere to a particular process or standard while others appear to be on an entirely different path. This would never be tolerated on a local team. 

When working with a partner to augment your team with remote developers, it is critical to ensure that they operate in the same manner as your local team. In an ideal situation, every team member would follow the same procedures and use the same tools. Everyone on the team will be able to see where the other team members are in their work, everyone will be working from the same priority list and timetable, and team members will be much less likely to step on each other's toes as a result. 

All team members should understand their responsibilities in relation to key stakeholders. While the members of your local team may be clear on who the Product Owner is, it is equally important that the remote members of your team are. Your Product Owner should be actively involved in regular team meetings if at all possible, so you must commit to this. Of course, this isn't always possible, and in those cases, you should prepare to have a proxy act on behalf of the Product Owner (and advise the team of this). As a result, everyone on the team has open lines of communication. The team must be kept up to date at all times if the people in these critical positions change.

Collaboration Through Team Integration

Knowing that remarkable results are dependent on having a tightly integrated team working toward the same goals and adapting to the inevitable changes and issues, you're in charge of a software development team. 

Software Development Partners (SDPs) have long used team augmentation to drive success in their development programs at numerous high-profile companies around the world. 

Flexibility and cost-effectiveness in team augmentation can be realized while maintaining team integration, which is critical to the equation's outcome. Choose your integration tools carefully because they matter a lot! It's important to take your time when there are so many options for team collaboration tools available these days. 

The balanced, integrated team you require to meet your company's objectives can be achieved by thinking about and planning for effective collaborative strategies as part of your transition to a geographically distributed development team structure.

Choosing Your Development Partner

A growing number of organizations are being urged to partner with software development companies when creating software solutions for their customers (internal and external). Even though this strategy has merit, it's important to remember that not all service providers are created equal, and clients aren't always ready for the changes that come with bringing in an externally managed team. 

A number of successful long-term partnerships have been established over the last three decades, but we have also witnessed a number of relationships that have failed to live up to their potential. In this section, we'll look at some of the most common blunders that can have disastrous consequences for businesses considering this type of arrangement. 

To begin with (and this is probably the most common scenario), some of these companies employ very few (if any) developers. There is nothing complicated about the business model: you provide a remote team with the skills and experience you require. They go to their local contractor market to find and hire a team that matches those qualifications. To the contract rates the provider is paying, they add a margin, and then they resell the team to you at that price. Contractors often work as your remote team without much support, even if they have office space for this team. While developers are under contract to work with you for an agreed period of time, having them as long-term employees is not in the cards. This model will be referred to as Contract Reseller for the purposes of this discussion. 

In contrast, long-standing development firms hire full-time employees ahead of demand, giving them greater control over the recruitment, training, and development of their employees. Since they must constantly recruit, train, and retain permanent staff in the hope that they can be sold to clients, this is a riskier and more complex business model for providers to implement. It's a plus, though, because these providers are intimately familiar with their employees and ensure that all of them uphold the company's standards through training and experience. We'll refer to them as SDPs for short. 

For short-term access to one or two developers with certain skill sets, contract resellers may be a viable solution. However, contractors' nature makes it tough to create a long-term integration with your local team. In the real world, contractors are always on the lookout for their next contract, so if you decide to extend your team for another three months, the same developers may or may not be available. Contract workers are, by nature, transient. In any case, the prices may differ. Since each developer comes from a different background and Contract Resellers rarely have corporate standards in place or enforced, the standards each developer applies to his or her work are likely to differ. It's an odd choice for the model. 

There is no better choice than working with a Software Development Partner for long-term, high-trust relationships. Developers in these organizations are more likely to be on a chosen career with the provider because of the more stable workforce and staff trained and assessed against well-known corporate standards and accreditations. 

Regardless of whether you choose to develop your own custom software or modify an existing COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf) system, you must first decide who you can trust to do the job. The selection of the developer is critical.   

Does their previous work show that they've been able to deliver similar solutions to yours? Do they have the resources and expertise to deliver your product on time? What are the similarities and differences between your quality systems and theirs? How do they maintain and enhance a product after it is delivered and provide support for it? 

While good software development partners will have complete confidence in the technologies you choose to use in the development of your software, only you have a complete understanding of the nuances of your business, requirements, and client expectations. Keep this in mind when selecting software development partners! At the start of custom software development, you should expect to be heavily involved. There is evidence to suggest that ninety percent of a custom development's risk occurs during this phase when the software's exact capabilities are defined. It goes without saying that thorough user testing prior to commissioning is critical to the success of any solution.

Mitrais
Mitrais

Mitrais is a world-class software development company with offices in Indonesia and Singapore. We build teams and offer near shore, near time software development. In business since 1991 we have written software or installed systems for over 500 clients and are committed to building long-term high trust relationships.  Our proprietary competency system guarantees the quality of our staff.

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