Blog: Product Development

10 Best Practices for Successful Offshore Software Development

December 7, 2017 - by Manan Thakkar

Onsite and offshore development are two sides of the same coin; although they operate in contrasting work environments, both are out to achieve the same goals. There are many reasons to consider offshoring your software application development activities such as:

  • Offshore development teams work with high standards of expertise and reliability, and you can be sure of achieving the best possible software development quality
  • Having access to already working infrastructure enables you to cut down project start-up time, and cost
  • With software being developed around-the-clock, products can be introduced to the market faster
  • When your internal resources are not skilled or experienced enough, offshoring software development brings in the required expertise needed to develop cutting edge software
  • Since most offshore software development partners offer services which include overlapping hours, you can get immediate and quick access to resources in case an issue arises

offshore soft dev

Best Practices for Offshore Software Development

Maintaining an in-house IT team that has expertise in the latest technologies is challenging and costly. By outsourcing, you don’t have to invest in IT infrastructure or spend time recruiting, hiring, and training employees. With an offshore partner, you gain access to a massive pool of skilled talent capable of delivering the software services you need.

Here are the ten best practices for successful offshore development that can help you maintain and improve offshore software development efficiency:

1. Carefully Choose Your Partner

Choosing the right team is one of the stepping-stones to successful offshore software development. Explore all available options and evaluate the prospective providers. Choose a partner who understands your business needs, has prior experience in your industry, and employs robust project management methodologies. Always check for references, understand their communication model, and carefully study their SLAs.

2. Always Stay in the Loop

An offshore project should never be a select-and-forget solution – although it is good if your offshore software development partner can work independently, it is always a good idea to stay in the loop. A healthy dose of collaboration is essential for updates about the current progress of the project, and for understanding issues or concerns. Assign an individual or a team who works in close tandem with the provider and achieves business goals together.

3. Be Clear on Expectations

When crossing any organizational boundary, a mismatch in expectations is common. What is considered good or acceptable by you, might not hold true for your offshore software development partner – especially in aspects such as quality, security, and user experience. Document everything in detail, be clear on the expectations, and improve the speed of delivery, ownership, and subsequently quality. Share values instead of documents in order to ensure expectations are well understood.

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4. Agree on Ownership of Application Architecture

Having another team dictate application architecture can be disempowering. If your offshore team is not allowed to make important architectural decisions, their engagement and feeling of ownership is most likely to be lowered. Agree on the ownership of application architecture from the beginning, and witness a steady increase in process efficiency and software performance and quality.

5. Employ a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Model

A BOT model enables you to offshore all your development work while you concentrate on your business. By offshoring your software development, you can achieve significant cost savings during the initial development stage. And as your product reaches maturity and starts bringing in sufficient revenue, you can transfer the team to an entity of your own.

6. Account for Time Zones

While offshoring software development across several time zones, it’s possible to end up with only an hour or two of overlapping working hours each day. Make sure there definitely are overlapping working hours, and ensure decisions are taken, and issues are resolved within budget. Be aware that you will need to adapt your workflow to accommodate a small overlap in time.

7. Encourage Shared Values

When local teams have strong values and distinctly different working styles or professional etiquettes, there can be challenges in sharing those values with the offshore teams. This may lead to frustration when working with a remote team that has a dramatically different style. Make sure your offshore software development partner is culturally alike, with a similar approach to work – if not the same. Encourage teams to collaborate with one another, and work together to reach shared solutions.

8. Communicate Frequently

In order to get the most out of the partnership, it is best if the onshore team lead communicates to all offshore developers— not just the offshore team lead – around once a week. Often, such direct communication with the offshore developer helps in identifying issues earlier rather than later. Look for ways to build a relationship with the offshore team through social and collaborative activities.

9. Develop Small, But Highly-Skilled Teams

When it comes to team size, the smaller the better – a small team of very highly skilled offshore developers will be more effective than a larger team of average developers. If the offshore team starts growing in size, split it into multiple teams and identify a team lead for each of the small teams to get the required accountability, visibility, clarity, and focus on the development process.

10. Reuse Components

Reusability is an important characteristic of a high-quality software component. By building a library of frequently used components, new software can be developed quickly from existing components, enabling greater schedule and effort savings. Create a repository to store reusable components – not just code components, but also design, data, documentation, test materials, and specifications.

Maximize Engagement

The best work is always done by people who feel encouraged and motivated in their job. Maximizing the effectiveness of an offshore team involves recognizing their efforts, contributions, and successes, as well as holding them accountable for roadblocks and problems. Make the effort to foster a good relationship with the offshore team, maximize engagement, and achieve major milestones and breakthroughs in a collaborated fashion for successful offshore software development.

Learn how Synoptek can help make your offshore software development efforts seamless.

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