In spite of the fact that offshore software development outsourcing brings you in a number of advantages, there are also inherent problems and risks associated with the same. Hiring a team of offshore developers or engage an offshore outsourcing company does not necessarily mean that you will be successful in the deal. The following key factors play very important role in making your outsourced project successful and give you back the benefits you hoped for.
Choosing the Right Software Development Outsourcing Provider
The most important key to successful software development offshore outsourcing is selecting the best outsourcing provider suitable to your software project. As with choosing anything else from a large number of available choices, choosing the right outsourcing provider could be a daunting task.
Cheaper cost of offshore development could be a factor to drive your provider selection process, but it cannot be the only factor. Every company doing a business to earn money, and that applies to the offshore outsourcing provider as well. If you squeeze the outsourcing service provider to the limits, they will find some way to compensate that, and most probably it will lead to a compromise in quality of the software. It is therefore best to be fair on the price side so that you save money by outsourcing your software project, while you let your outsourcing provider earn money – without any compromise on quality at both ends.
Expertise of the outsourcing service provider in the technology platform and/or programming language & database platform of your software project also has a very important role. In addition to assessing the provider’s capabilities in the technology suitable for your project, you must also evaluate their domain experience for your project.
While discussing software outsourcing projects with a client, we always remain very transparent, honest and ethical. We loudly say “yes” when we are sure we have it under our belts. Our clients have fair knowledge on our expenses and profits. We always try to under-promise and over-deliver, and never mind saying “no” if we have slightest doubt for being able to meet the expectations. We do not hire just any programmer who can write code, but only people who match our vision, culture & mindset and have the fire inside to work hard, learn more and deliver the best quality of software.
Communication with Offshore Development Team
Efficient and effective communication with your offshore software development team is another key factor. Outsourcing to a company that is far away from you and in a different time-zone from you is likely to create communication problems. The more efficient you are in communicating your ideas and instructions to the team, the better will be the service from your outsourcing provider. You cannot expect the developers on the other side of the world to wake up, work, eat, and sleep in your time-zone; instead you would be working while the developers are fast asleep and vice versa. You need to use the remote communication methods such as phone, chat and email in such a way that it is received effectively and efficiently. For example, if you write an email in the morning, the developer would not see it until you are preparing to sleep. At times, communication with the offshore development team could become tedious; you may soon discover you’ve rather started working in the offshore developers’ time zone!
We understand the time differences and always provide sufficient overlap with our client’s time zone for effortless communication. We do not hesitate to point out communication problems to our clients. Sometimes we even go ahead and train the client who is outsourcing for the first time. Unless it is essentially required, we don’t expect our clients to wake up early in the morning or stay up late nights to chat with the developers. We happily accept working outside normal hours as part of our job.
Coordination between In-House and Offshore Teams
If you are a software company with your own in-house team; and you augment it by hiring an offshore development team or partnering with an outsourcing provider, then maintaining a healthy coordination between the two teams will be very important to effectively utilize the offshore team. If you do not focus on efficient coordination from the beginning, you may soon discover standing in the middle of a mud fight. It is best to discuss out with the teams, set out processes and authorities to define tasks/responsibilities at the very beginning of your software project in order to ensure continuing coordination and mutual cooperation between in-house and offshore development teams.
We keep close watch on this aspect of offshore partnership. Anytime we have a feeling something is going out of course, we don’t hesitate to bring it to the attention of the client. We encourage discussions to jointly examine and find out bottlenecks in coordination, eliminate them and improve communication. We strictly obey authorities of your designated in-house developer without any concern towards the age, qualification or level of experience in comparison to our developers.
Turn-Around Time of Offshore Outsourcing Provider
A nominal increase in turn-around time is not very uncommon with offshore software development. While time zone difference is one of the major factors, communication gap can make it appreciably higher. If you task your in-house programmer a 1 hour job at 2:00pm, you’d expect it complete by 3:00pm. Whereas, if you write an email to your offshore team for the same job at 2:00pm, you can at best expect to get it ready by the next morning. For most of the web design, development and programming projects, such increase in turn-around time does not matter much; in fact you’d gradually learn to adjust with the working modalities with the offshore team. However, for anything that is of urgent nature and needs to be taken care of immediately, such delays in turn-around times can never be acceptable by you because it would otherwise put your own business and client reputation at risk. Therefore the turn-around time of your offshore programmer team in emergency situations plays a vital role for your business success.
We understand the importance of turn-around-time for your business. We prioritize our schedule keeping most important and business critical tasks at the top. We make ourselves available 24x7x365, it is just matter of a phone call. We attend to emergencies as quickly as we can, no matter whatever it entails, on an average within 15 to 30 minutes. This makes us highly dependable and our clients never believe we are geographically far away from them.
Monitoring Progress & Project Review
Since the offshore development team is not in front of your eyes, it creates an immediate problem of monitoring their work, progress of the projects and whether they are doing it exactly as you want it. In most cases, you have to experience a painful waiting period before you can review your project and give necessary directions to the developers. Usually the offshore programmers will develop the project on their local computer or a server inside their LAN, and then upload the project files to a remote server so that you can review it. You are provided with a strange looking IP based URL like http://aaa.bb.ccc.dd:yyyy/somefolder/somepage.html. You obviously forget the URL next morning and dig it out from the emails the developers sent you, probably every time you want to review. You add them to the favorites on your browser, but soon they all begin looking similar and confusing! If you are outsourcing multiple projects to offshore developers, project review and monitoring their progress could quickly become a new concern; unless the offshore team is really aware and trained about it already.
We understand the value of our clients’ time. We provide a dedicated development URL for each project we work on suitably named, not a scary looking IP address & port number type of URL. You know your project’s name, and so you remember the development URL easily. We have set up our local area network in such a way that our developers work directly on the files on the development servers – so can actually see your project’s progress almost in real-time. You have complete freedom to test the project on the development server any way you can. In addition, the development server also serves as a most recent copy of the project files – so in the event of a crash of your live production server, we can restore it within minutes.