Software development outsourcing is now common practice among companies that are looking to expand their web and mobile app development capabilities. However, the idea of working with remote teams separated sometimes by time zones, cultures, and several hundreds of miles may be scary at first.
In fact, it’s much less scary and intimidating than it seems.
Having a nearshore outsourcing partner can be very positive for your project. Outsourced talent can complement your onsite team and even speed up the development process. Also, nearshore outsourcing can be the best solution if you have to solve problems within difficult projects or overcome budget issues. The secret is to decide how, when, and with whom to outsource.
A good nearshore software development outsourcing partner understands that each company and project has unique goals and needs. That means configuring different teams according to the project’s requirements.
“Development firms should focus on understanding what the company on the other side is looking for,” said Iang Yim, CTO of UruIT. “Once you have this clarity, you can produce the best team to match client needs.”
In order to build a strong, successful, and long-lasting partnership, your nearshore software development outsourcing partner should apply the following practices.
- Understand the Big Picture: It’s not only about what your nearshore outsourcing partner can offer, but about how they can integrate with your reality.
- It is key that they start by gaining a deeper understanding of your business and goals in order to create solutions that add true value to your company and industry. That means sometimes flying to each other’s location in order to spend time together and discuss needs and requirements.
- The goal is to define the action plan and the team configuration, taking into consideration your business, people, and technology.
- Put in place an Induction Process: Once the partnership starts, during the first steps the focus should be on bringing together all the parts involved.
- You and your nearshore outsourcing partner can guarantee this integration by analyzing the first interactions to decide if your way of working is aligned. This way you can set together a plan to work on the issues and risks you consider most important.
- It’s also highly recommended to host a discovery phase for new products and a set of complementary activities if the product already exists: for example, business processes walkthrough, code walkthrough, on-site workshops, etc.
- Live by the Agile culture: Using an agile process to manage software development projects is key for achieving rapid results in product development, as well as focusing on building high quality solutions that add value to your business.
- Applying agile practices allows the whole team to stay focused, stay aligned, and work smarter. Everyone has a key role that contributes to the team dynamics and the achievement of goals.
- Communicate frequently: Some characteristics of agile-based teams are transparency, openness to change, and constant communication. All of those contribute to a healthy environment of deep collaboration.
- With the right level of communication, the distributed teams will feel organized and understand everyone’s role in achieving the final result.
- Expect to rely a lot on online tools for communicating, such as Skype, Slack, and Hangouts.
- To instill a productive routine, it’s recommended to set periodic meetings with your nearshore partner. Frequest communication and the right tools to use should also be defined from the very beginning.
Start Small and the Sky’s the Limit
For the last few years, Chris Andrews, former Operations President in a U.S. real estate company, has worked with nearshore outsourcing partners in the development of different applications. During these processes, Chris has developed his own set of tips for those considering a nearshore collaboration.
- Do the homework – investigation: Choosing a development partner is the result of intensive investigation. First of all, you must be looking for a partner with excellent technology expertise, but other aspects should also be considered, such as time zones, culture and geographic proximity.
- Start small: In the beginning of the relationship between Andrews’ company and UruIT, they decided to give nearshoring a try and started out with just a small project. This was the best way for each of them to get a feel for the other’s work and offering. Andrews recalls that they knew it was a good fit after just two weeks.
- Starting small is smart because you can get a taste of the partner’s methods before making any long-term decisions. This means observing the team interaction to assess the working vibe and commitment within the group, as well as to assess how skilled the partner is.
“In my opinion, a partner should be able to hit the ground running, bring energy, handle senior-level work, exercise team communication skills, and communicate perfectly in English,” said Andrews.
- Define an effective and continuous communication and interaction: This is key to the collaboration’s success. From Developers to Account Managers, everyone engaged in the project should have regular touch points to measure their achievements and plan next steps. In addition, it’s also highly recommended to invest in trips so every once in a while everyone can meet and get even closer.
- Track frequently finances and deliverables: Day to day, the relationship will expand and the product will evolve. In the meantime, it’s also highly recommended to keep a continuous tracking system of finances and other deliverables. This demonstrates the relationship value proposition and the importance of fulfilling your team goals, creating more of a partnership than a regular vendor-client dynamic.
More tips to go
In this webinar with UruIT and Nearshore Americas, you can find more tips and information about nearshore software development outsourcing. We also discuss the benefits of outsourcing to Medellin, Colombia, a tech hub in Latin America, which has a lot to offer to U.S. companies.
To hear the full webinar and find out more, click here.