How to work with an offshore software development team?
Many companies nowadays prefer to hire an offshore software development team for their project. Essentially, the approach involves a handful of product engineers operating in a distant land and acting on your exact requirements to build a robust product. With this approach, companies benefit from a higher quality product and reduced development costs and time to market.
That said, agile frameworks are widely used for in-house development. Indeed, agile projects rely heavily on proactive collaboration between teams. And given the large amount of coordination required in every project, many companies think it wouldn’t be possible to approach an offshore development agency and build an agile team in a faraway country like Madagascar.
Fortunately, this is not the case. It may take a few tries, but with the right preparation, you can easily work with an expert agile offshore development team and develop innovative solutions. Here we will talk about how to take advantage of an agile framework while working with an offshore software development team and the many benefits of doing so.
Introduction to Agile
In a short time, agile has become synonymous with productivity and innovation. It is a project management practice that breaks large projects into smaller, more manageable parts, often called iterations. This makes it possible to assess the direction of a project throughout its life cycle and to offer optimal customer satisfaction through continuous delivery.
Then, the agile philosophy is integrated into various methodologies and frameworks. The most popular methodology is Scrum which is preferred by 84% of agile teams.
On average, the size of a Scrum team is 7 members. The team consists of a Scrum Master, a Product Owner, and developers. Because Scrum does not involve any subordinate teams or hierarchy, it is an excellent methodology for offshore development. The team can easily strategize and plan activities, providing flexibility for all parties involved.
Benefits of agile software development
Agile helps software development companies improve and streamline their development process by quickly identifying and fixing issues.
Faster time to market
Agile dramatically increases the time to market by breaking the project into smaller iterations. After each iteration, you can choose to launch your product to start building a user base or test your MVP.
The whole methodology is based on adapting to changes. It responds quickly to dynamic user needs and changing market trends. So even if there is an idea mid-project, Agile can adapt it to improve the quality and relevance of the final product.
Agile is about paying for what you need. So, suppose halfway through the development cycle, the customer realizes the features they originally requested are no longer valid. In that case, they can choose to omit them. This will allow him to launch the product sooner and pay less.
Agile, the product can be used and tested in the early stages by stakeholders and users. This helps identify potential pitfalls in the development process and take action accordingly.
The agile methodology ensures rigorous testing at every stage. This not only ensures higher product quality but also reduces the time spent on evaluating the quality of the product as a whole.
Agile Development and Offshoring – Overview
Once the idea, vision, and goal of your project have been defined, it’s time to take the next step: choosing the best software development team.
You can choose from three types of agile software development teams: onshore, offshore, and nearshore. Onshore means hiring a team that resides and operates in the same region as you. Nearshore involves hiring a team in a nearby country. And finally, offshore means hiring a software development team from a foreign location. A growing number of organizations are turning to hire an offshore software development team.
How to manage an Agile Offshore software development team?
Sometimes outsourcing agile development to geographically distributed teams creates more complexity, making it difficult for teams to communicate and collaborate. However, following the agile offshoring practices mentioned below can help streamline the process.
a) Define the scope of work
Before you start working with an offshore software development team, creating a scope of work document is important. Essentially, this document contains all the milestones for the project, a list of deliverables for each milestone, timelines, and the reporting outline.
Based on the specifications, the entire project is classified into smaller tasks called iterations that must be completed within the specified time frame. The document is a reference point for the client and the development team. It allows involved parties to easily approach the development process streamlined and even change the priority of different tasks based on user feedback and other external factors.
b) Create an easily navigable product roadmap
Once the SOW document is created, you must divide each task by specific time frames to develop a strategic product roadmap. This roadmap provides a complete view of all the requirements necessary to realize the original product idea.
The main purpose of a product roadmap is to provide a clear picture of the development process to all offshore software development team members. But it should be noted that this is a flexible document that can be modified during development based on feedback, user needs, and other external factors.
c) Ensure effective communication
As stated above, regular and effective communication is key to the success of the agile methodology. So, when working with an offshore team, you should favor regular short meetings to improve collaboration.
d) Organize regular demonstrations
This is a great practice that helps improve collaboration among team members. A demo demonstrates the intermediate result obtained at the end of each iteration. It allows the product owner to assess the project’s performance so far and provide constructive feedback on it.