Offshore Software Development Best Practices
The overall impression of offshore software development or outsourced software development is sometimes less than positive. The business world – in any part of the globe – is always looking for ways to reduce their operational expenses. On the other hand, skilled experts who like to do great work are always looking for new opportunities. One of the more recent, and more successful, exercises in outsourcing has been with outsourced IT. This is where companies outsource the management and maintenance of their information technology infrastructure to experts who happen to work remotely. It's important to understand that offshore software development – when implemented with well-defined best practices and accountability – can also go very well.
To ensure the success of any offshore software development project, there are best practices that can help. Some of the most useful steps are described in this article.
- Start with a smaller project first. Outsourcing all of the software development your company needs right off the bat is not the best way to develop a relationship and working terms with your offshore software development team. Sure, you can continue to think big about the members of your local and remote teams.
- Get early feedback from your employees as the first users. As the business owner, you aren't the only one involved in this relationship: your employees will likely be using the software developed by the offshore software development team too, and they'll likely have opinions about how well it works and how its use affects their work day. Gaining their input from the start is a great way to ensure that the software is usable and useful. Plus, it will give your insight into how well the software development team takes criticism and what they do with that information. If they make useful changes that improve the software – that's great! If they don't do something with the information your team is providing, you've got a problem. Of course, because you started off with a smaller project, you aren't into the effort for too much.
- Work to develop the relationship. Hey, no one likes to work for someone who doesn't care about them, and we've all been in that position. It may seem like small talk and beneath you, but it's important. So, take the time to share your business vision and ask about theirs as well. Business owners and software development managers can go a long way toward understanding each other and providing support if they have a better understanding of each other’s' intent and needs.
- Look out for warning signals and address them immediately. Results don't happen overnight, but if the delivery plan you and your offshore software development team have agreed to goes awry, address it immediately. Often, it's just a case of misinterpreted communication, but letting it fester does neither side any real good. There may be issues of misunderstood expectations, lack of understanding in the plan, even issues with resources, but you won't know until you address them. If smaller benchmarks go by without a word and there is a 'so what' kind of attitude from your software development and website development team, that's a big warning sign that their resources are not fully invested in your project. Again, and not to beat this drum too much, because you started with a smaller project, you are less invested than you might have been.