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Successfully managing software development outsourcing

A manager is responsible for directing the software development project to ensure that good structure and team dynamics exist. With good management practices, a software development project using an outsourcing partner can mirror a ship with a sure and steady course. A clear perspective and a good sense of direction help you achieve your project goals without a fault and well ahead of deadlines.

Generally, professionals believe that a rigid, top-down, one-directional progression of software design and development is inefficient. Big, one-off deployments are replaced with weekly sprints. This transition to Agile is appropriate for the IT sector, but sometimes good project management is abandoned in the process. In this article we will you show you that speed and flexibility can be combined with good process and structure in your software development outsourcing.

Advice no. 1: Realistic expectations

The grey area of expectations and assumptions is a potential pitfall in outsourcing projects. The solution is to counter unrealistic expectations between the two parties and find a palatable compromise. Especially time pressure or development cost can create a rift between you and your outsourcing provider. Make sure that your customers understand that delays in the creative process can occur and that they are prepared for possible costs that go with it.

While choosing an outsourcing partner you also have to take into account that your company culture can differ from the working habits in another company. Perhaps you were very careful in selecting a software outsourcing company with a lot of technical experience. Even though this is important for an outsourcing project, you also have to be very self-aware of the nuances of your own company. Culture, organization and business model could impact a third party’s effectiveness so make sure the pieces fit together nicely.

Advice no. 2: Focused leadership

Leaders oversee projects, manage crucial work segments, and make sure business rules are infused into program code. Ideally, all managers are willing – and able – to focus on the software development project as a top priority.

When you assign a project manager to a project you have to base your choice on more than knowledge or skill. The project leader also needs to have the time and opportunity to give undivided attention to the outsourcing project.

Distracted project managers can be detrimental to remote software development. Ensure your PMs are invested in the work progress and are keeping track of your remote team.

Advice no. 3: Transparent milestones

In these days of iterative, continuous deployment, using methodologies like Agile, milestones need to be extremely clear. With definite and clearly communicated milestones you can avoid confusion with stakeholders. For each deadline your outsourcing partner should know what has to be delivered and which features should be developed for each milestone.

Advice no. 4: Team interaction

Good communication has always been important in software development projects. Especially when working with multi-geographical teams in multiple time zones, good communication is an essential core competency of the project team. Processes and collaborative technologies must come together in elegant ways to ensure that the constant back-and-forth handoff between participants is seamless and low risk.

Software outsourcing is proven as an effective strategy, but for many companies, it introduces a new dynamic for effective collaboration. When meeting face-to-face simply is not an option, it is critical that the project leaders create clear constructs for effective communication. Regular, effective status meetings are crucial. Consider the use of tools that enhance collaboration, and allow all team members to immediately see what the progress of all work tasks are.

Advice no. 5: Strong processes

The processes and methods to be used in the project must be fully understood by the company and the outsourcing vendor. Each side must be fluent and diligent in the use of the methods over the life of the project.

Technology can be very beneficial for outsourcing, but it can never overcome bad processes in a software development project. It is essential to use technological communication tools in software development outsourcing, but they should be in support of the project processes.

Conclusion

Working with a software outsourcing partner has numerous benefits, but also adds complexity. Successfully manage your remote software development teams by following our five advices. This way you can combine both speed and flexibility with good process and structure.

Want to see how we can support you in your software development outsourcing? Contact us for an audit and we will determine what you need for your remote team.