You can have a brilliant idea but no full-pack tech-savvy team to implement it. Thankfully, nowadays, it is not a problem anymore. Outsourcing software development has become so common that plenty of successful projects have been launched this way. Instead of building your product from scratch on your own by learning how to do it and diving deep into technical details, you can simply outsource a team of professionals to carry it through. This boosts the chances to have your work done faster and in a more qualified way, and you can concentrate on the not less significant stuff.
However, outsourcing the development of your product poses some difficulties. Therefore, in order to prevent offshore software development risks and let the working process run smoothly and successfully, here are some tips you surely need to follow.
Communicating your idea properly through wireframing
Communicating your idea to the third part plays a crucial role in outsourcing some work. You have to get it through the most effective way so that they understand the idea of your project and get into it. The more detailed and understandable your draft is – the higher possibility there is that you will get what you want, fewer questions you receive, and fewer costs are involved in the process.
These functions can be implemented through wireframing. Wireframing is an amazing way to put what you imagine into practice without lots of costs and time spent on it. By creating a wireframe you create a skeleton of your product with screens layout, a navigation system, and its main functions in general. A wireframe is made to describe the main purpose of your product as well as its core functionality. It does not look attractive, but it will deliver the right message to people proficient in modern technologies and able to visualize. Wireframes can be done in different ways – from pen and paper to various wireframing including desktop, web-based, and mobile applications.
The main point here is that you present your idea in such way that your counterpart understands what exactly you need and is able to start ‘put it into action’ process.
Having somebody technical on your side
Having somebody tech-savvy on your side is not just a great advantage, it is a must-be. Having hired a team of software developers doesn’t mean you can be out of all the technical aspects. Managing this team without any technical experience or knowledge is a risky business, in which the quality of your product is at a stake.
When considering the software, it is not only the end product that matters. For instance, everything can work perfectly, but the system may face some collapses when the scale increases. Moreover, the financial point of view also plays its role here as long as controlling and understanding the work process carried out by an external team of developers prevents you from exaggerated offshore software development costs.
In the end, it is not just about the possibility of doing the work not properly as long as you as a client does not understand all the nuts and bolts of this process. It is also about being clearer – having precise and technical documentation so that your outsourced team knows what your requirements are and what they have to do.
Of course, all of the above does not mean you have to leave everything and dive into coding. However, having somebody proficient enough in this area on your side and putting this person in charge of control over the way your product is built will be the right thing here.
Not being too strict on features
In spite of having that clear vision of your project and set of features your product must possess, you have to allow flexibility to a certain level and be able to compromise. History knows a lot of stories when software product was not built eventually because there were too many ‘must-be’ features put on them before and during the development process.
Your project may not be perfect, especially its first version. Accept it. And let it be designed, built, tested, and finally launched. This way, you will see what actually works and which features can be added later. Striving for perfection is a positive characteristic but sometimes it doesn’t pay off and leads to nowhere.
So, do not be too strict and adjust your expectations according to your investment in the development itself. Your product definitely has its core functionality and the problem it solves, so you should better concentrate on it, being able to compromise if there is a need for this.
Using agile practices
During some time, it was common to think that agile and outsourcing cannot be combined. But it is obvious now that this combination is actually possible, and is leading to great results. Moreover, there are a lot of arguments which prove this statement.
These days, many companies show their eagerness to combine benefits of outsourcing (access to the huge base of professionals, cost reduction, high-quality development) and flexibility offered by agile methodology. Implementing agile techniques allows making changes during software development process of your product when there is the need and getting a quick and flexible response. Having got particular timeframes for completing a particular body of work, the system becomes very adaptable to changes, and that enables improvement of the upcoming product throughout the whole development cycle.
Meanwhile, it is very important here that your partner also supports such practices. Moreover, in agile way of doing things, it is crucial to have well-tuned communication between both sides – offshore development team and the client.
Providing proper and constant communication
It is very common that projects fail because of poor communication. That is why one should not underestimate this part of the outsourcing process. Undoubtedly, there must be enough attention to quality interaction with your counterpart. Once you choose an outsourcing development company, it is important to pay attention to how quickly it responds, its communication capabilities, and which communication channels and formats it uses because it all will play a role during the working process.
Obviously, when the development team is not located in your office, some misunderstanding issues can appear. In addition, when it comes to the offshore partners, you should take into account that there may be some cultural and language differences, another time zone, etc. Thankfully, modern technologies give us many ways of not ‘face-to-face’ communication on a regular basis, and these ways are not less efficient for sure. Communication can be provided via emails, instant messengers, and phone or video calls. So it’s very important to find your way and not to lose track keeping up with it.
Communication with outsourced development team is also about having mutually understandable and clarified project documentation. In order to make it clear, the requirements must be discussed and agreed together with your team in order to avoid any possible questions and misconceptions.
Despite being hugely beneficial, outsourcing product development has its challenges. Apparently, you cannot simply delegate the development process to the third party and then come back for the result. There is a bunch of work to manage, but following the tips highlighted in this article, you have more chances to reach your goal.
Therefore, passing your idea clearly to the offshore software development team so that they understand what you mean and the vision of your project in general, having a technician from your side who will control the process, not being too strict on the set of features you came up with in the beginning, being flexible, adding agile practices, and, of course, constantly communicating with your partner should help you to pursue your aim and succeed eventually.
Author: Oleg Maykher
Co-founder and CEO at Exoft