Software Quality And Offshore Outsourcing: What You Need To Know

Posted: Aug 9 2019, 12:51am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 10 2019, 1:12am CDT, in Technology News

 

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Software Quality and Offshore Outsourcing: What You Need to Know

Whenever someone talks about offshore software outsourcing, there are two main concerns that arise: how cheap it can be and how low the development quality can get. The reason why those aspects are discussed is related to the experiences from years and years ago that solidified in the public opinion.

However, things have changed quite a bit in the last few years. Offshore development companies understood that to stay competitive in today’s world, they needed to address the quality issues that plagued them for more than a decade ago. And so they did.

But that’s not all. The offshore software development also changed a couple of aspects to mutate into a new offshore model called nearshore outsourcing. With it, companies can access some of the benefits of offshore development teams with a series of new advantages that completely redefine what you might believe about offshore development services. Let’s analyze this in more detail.

Tackling the challenges of offshore software development

Companies of all sizes typically offshore their software development for some well-known reasons. Budget constraints, lack of local talent, the need to focus on core activities, or the need to speed up a development process are usually the reasons why.

However, and in spite of those needs, many companies have found that working with offshore software development outsourcing companies can be frustrating (to the point that they don’t get what they went for in the first place). It’s common to hear stories about a lack of technical skills on the offshore team, unexpected costs, miscommunication, and total lack of control.

Though some of these stories hold some truth to them, believing that hiring an offshore software development company will end badly no matter what is plain wrong. You can certainly have a successful experience with an offshore company but you need to do your homework to make sure that happens.

There are several suggestions to tackle the challenges of offshoring, including:

  • Don’t make it all about cost savings: saving money is probably the top reason why companies resort to offshore developers but you know what they say - you get what you pay for. Instead, you should be focusing on individual skills, business processes, and the organizational system of the offshore company. Paying more for an organized offshore company with a reputation for complying with the highest standards is surely worth it.

  • Be as detailed as you possibly can: one of the biggest challenges when working with offshore development services is being thoroughly understood. It’s not just a matter of language - sometimes companies don’t explicitly ask for things because they believe they are implicitly understood. Don’t do that! The more info you provide to the offshore developers, the closer you’ll be to getting what you want. Describe the tasks the product should be able to do, make a list of functions, specify the platforms for which the software will be developed, prioritize tasks, and define the maintenance process.

  • Explain your solution: don’t just make a list of features and functions you want in the end-product. You should also make it clear for the offshore development services company what you’re after with that particular software. Think of it like this - why do you need those features and functions? What are their purpose and how do they impact the bigger picture? Helping the remote team to understand the software beyond its capabilities can make it easier for them to work on it.

  • Be sure to have several communication tools at your disposal: another reason why offshoring often fails is miscommunication or simply the lack of proper communication. Many times, companies delegate a part or the whole project to the offshore team and don’t follow up on the progress as needed. You can’t afford that luxury. Be sure to use apps and platforms such as Skype and Slack to keep track of everything that’s happening on the day-to-day routine.

  • Implement project management processes: you should also complement the communication tools with project management platforms like Trello, Basecamp, and Jira. With them, you can organize your stages and milestones to quickly check the development progress both for your in-house team and for the offshore development team. You can create a workflow that includes the tasks for project managers and team leaders along with their individual responsibilities.

  • Use Agile methodologies: Agile implies several benefits, including engagement, transparency, predictable deliveries, costs and deadlines, flexibility, and non-stop growth. Besides, Agile methodologies reduce the number of risks involved in offshoring, especially when compared with Waterfall methods. The frequent deliveries and the improvement in productivity that go along with these methodologies are great to keep the project moving with your close supervision.

Following these tips might not free you from all the issues that might come with an offshore development company but it will surely result in a higher quality of the resulting software. But if you’re not entirely sold on the idea yet, then there’s something else you might consider: nearshore development.

What’s nearshore development and how it can help

Nearshore development companies offer you the same outsourcing services of offshore development teams but, as their name implies, they are located closer to your home country. This might not seem like a big difference but it certainly is, because of the benefits this proximity brings along.

There’s the reduced difference in time zones, that makes it easier to work on similar hours with the development team. In fact, some of the countries might even share their time zones with you, which makes communication and meetings far easier to arrange.

There’s also fewer barriers when it comes to working together. Nearshore companies are more proficient in English, which makes communication more effective and less prone to misinterpretations. Also, and depending on how close to your home country they really are, the company may have some shared culture, which translates into a similar understanding of expectations and processes surrounding development.

Of course, nearshore development isn’t as cheap as offshore software development, but as we said before, it’s not all about budget. Additionally, you’ll need to follow the suggestions detailed above to ensure the quality of the final product.

Some final words

Offshore developers have come a long way since the days they only competed with their impressive low costs. The industry has understood that companies are seeking quality above everything else, so they adjusted their focus to fit that new scenario. Of course, you can still run across the company that only thinks about price, so it’s best to be careful.

All in all, you’ll have to keep the same precautions when working with any offshore software development if you don’t want the end-product to suffer. You’ll need to explain yourself in detail, document what you’re expecting from the remote team, implement communication and management tools to monitor tasks and deadlines, and use modern methodologies to speed up the whole process.

You can also resort to nearshore development companies to face less challenges, though you’ll still need to follow those suggestions if you’re to succeed working with them. After all, the software quality you’re looking for is less about how far your partner company is and more about the processes and methodologies you implement to ensure the final product is what your customers need.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Manfred "Luigi" Lugmayr () is the founding Chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 25 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets, tech and online shopping. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology news and tech and toy shopping hub.
Luigi can be contacted directly at ml[@]i4u.com.

 

 

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