Blog: Product Development

How to Achieve Successful Agile Offshore Software Development

December 15, 2017 - by Manan Thakkar

Agile offshore software development brings together two of the most popular trends in the software sector – offshore development and agile methodology – to enable the delivery of maximum output while investing minimum resources and cost. While offshore development is a practice of hiring a third-party organization to develop software, agile methodology ensures the software project is developed in systematic iterations, with each iteration bringing in new features and performance improvements. This eventually results in a better and user-friendlier product or software.

How to Achieve Successful Agile Offshore Software Development

Importance of Agile Offshore Development

Given a constantly evolving functional and technical landscape, agile offshore software development offers a lightweight framework for helping teams maintain focus on the rapid delivery of business value. Through a process of continuous planning and feedback, agile offshore software development ensures valueis maximized throughout the development process. Teams are able to continuously align the delivered software with desired business needs, easily adapting to changing requirements throughout the lifecycle.

Agile offshore software development helps drive customer satisfaction by rapid, continuous delivery of useful software. By facilitating daily cooperation between business people and developers, agile offshore development aids in continuous adaptation to changing circumstances. In addition, with agile offshore software development, organizations can:

  • Reduce infrastructure and maintenance costs
  • Drive innovation and quality
  • Enjoy round-the-clock development, support, and maintenance of software
  • Focus on core business strategy
  • Leverage shared responsibility
  • Auto-scale resources depending on the need

Challenges of Agile Offshore Software Development

Although agile offshore software development offers a host of benefits, the process also brings about its own set of challenges , which may result in negative and undesirable outcomes, spiraling everything out of control. Always remember that communication is key in agile offshore software development projects. As distance makes real-time communication a challenge, offshore agile teams need to embrace the right medium in order to deliver value. Making agile offshore development work is not easy, but the following tips and recommendations can help overcome challenges and achieve the desired outcomes:

Challenge 1: Time Zone Differences

No matter what time zone the offshore partner is located in, always ensure a few overlapping hours so important decisions and issues are looked into and resolved in time.

Challenge 2: The Absence of Highly Qualified and Experienced Personnel

Have teams work jointly on either side of the onsite-offshore line instead of developing code offshore, and testing it onsite to ensure issues and critical decisions are resolved in real time.

Challenge 3: Cultural Variances and Language Barriers

Differences in culture and language between onsite and offshore teams can lead to language problems, misinterpretation, conflicting work styles and contrasting professional etiquette. Always start by facilitating a cultural exchange, and enable teams to understand and appreciate cultural differences. Identify and resolve language issues early – organizations need to set up a robust workflow for document translation and code before they start developing the software.

Challenge 4: The Likelihood of Poor Visibility into Project Statuses

To avoid inaccurate insight into project progress, start every project with a preliminary stage of requirement gathering including estimates and project plan

Challenge 5: Lack of Face-to-Face Communication

Facilitate continuous communication and knowledge-sharing through phone calls, emails, chats, and video-conferencing whenever required. Make sure to keep teams stable, especially for long-running projects – motivate them, and ensure their skills are constantly updated

Challenge 6: Mismatch in Project Estimates

Onsite and offshore teams can have different expectations around costs, timelines, and resource estimates. Employ a work breakdown structure by aligning work in a standardized workflow – design, coding, testing, and kick-off.

Challenge 7: The Possibility of Onsite and Offshore Teams Working Independently

No teamwork leads to poor productivity and frequent blame-games. Always use appropriate agile tools to maximize flow of work and efficiency, facilitate achievement of milestones, and fuel real-time communication and collaboration.

Choosing an Agile Offshore Services Provider

Organizations that choose to offshore their software development need to do so with the utmost care. The process of selecting the right offshore services provider can be intimidating. However, careful planning and a thorough evaluation of prospective providers can help in bringing the agile software development project to successful completion. Three tips for choosing the best agile offshore development partner for your business are:

  • Choose a partner who can skillfully complete projects – always check previous experience, seek references, and understand their working model
  • Look for providers known for their effective working relationship – those who believe in continuous communication and constructive collaboration
  • Prior to seeking a partnership, define the goals, outline the scope, and enlist the outcomes that are expected

Achieve Desired Outcomes

By bringing two of the hottest trends in software development together, organizations are bound to experience a drastic degree of change in the way software products are developed and delivered. Agile offshore software development enables teams to immediately respond to change and continuously deliver business value. With market forces demanding lower rates for software development, agile offshore software development aids organizations in getting more for less. By offering a wide array of benefits across the software lifecycle, agile lets organizations overcome many of the communication, overhead, and language obstacles that are common to any offshore development project. They just follow some tips, choose the right service provider, and see their project achieve the desired outcomes.

Learn more about what a strategic offshore software development partner can do to benefit your business.

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