Starting any software development project can be overwhelming, but when you’re considering offshore software development, you may feel even less prepared to get started. The good news is that you can look for an offshore development team that takes a standardized approach to development, so you can feel more confident that you know what to expect.
While not every team follows a streamlined process, a process is critical to ensuring that your software project is completed correctly and by your deadline. Especially when working across time zones and cultural barriers, a streamlined offshore development process can help to circumvent some of the common issues that may arise outsourcing.
In the following, we’ll outline what we believe are the ideal steps for approaching the offshore development process.
Interview your offshore team.
The first step in the offshore software development process is to find the right team for your project. A great way to start looking for a team that can meet your specific project needs is by reviewing the portfolios, or past work, of the team you are considering working with. Prior projects act as testaments to the quality of work and skill set your potential team can provide you with, as well as give you an idea if their style aligns with yours.
In addition to reviewing your potential team’s prior projects, you can also take a look at any testimonials or reviews they provide on their site or agency profiles. Even better, you might consider asking the team if you could speak to any of the clients they’ve worked with. This will give you insight into how the team operates (e.g. Are they good at communicating?), as well as if their clients are satisfied happy with the results they received.
Discuss the details of your project.
Once you’ve selected the team that you will be partnering with, you'll need to provide them with a more fully fleshed-out vision of your software project. During this time, your team should begin preparing a Statement of Work (SOW). Your team’s SOW should outline what they understand the details of your project to be, as well as provide a written document that demonstrates that you and your team share the same vision.
During this time, you'll also want to discuss the cost of your project and payment options. Many offshore teams offer various contract options, such as hourly contracts vs. fixed bid contracts. The contract type you choose often influences the overall cost of your project, as well as how the project is handled throughout development. As such, carefully select your contract type based on your project’s size and timeline, as well as your budget.
Approve the plan for your project.
After your team has provided you with an SOW, and you’ve provided approval, the real work for your project can begin. In most cases, the first step is to outline the architecture of your project. The architecture provides an even more detailed description of what your project entails than your SOW; rather than generalize your project, it documents every written detail of what you can expect to receive.
The architecture is critical to keeping your team organized and on the right track with your project, as it acts as the guideline for your team throughout development. To verify that the details within the architecture are correct, your team schedule a time to discuss the architecture with you. That way, they can receive your approval before getting started with development.
Enter the development process.
Once you’ve approved the architecture for your project, your team should be ready to get started with development. Depending on the specifics of how your team operates, your level of involvement at this stage will vary. For instance, an offshore team that lacks a project manager may expect you to play a management-style role during development.
Other teams may not expect you to act as a project manager; rather, they may expect that you to play a more collaborative role, particularly in terms of reviewing your project. For example, when working with an agile development team, your team will provide you with more frequent segments of your project for review, which allows you to play a stronger role in ensuring that your project aligns with your vision.
Review the project & request final changes.
As noted, the development process will vary depending on the team you are working with. For example, if you are working with a team that follows the agile approach to development, the development and review processes for your project will likely occur simultaneously. In this way, you will be reviewing bits and pieces of your software project as its being built, rather than merely the final product.
Teams that take a waterfall approach to development, on the other hand, will be more likely to ask you to review an almost complete version of your software project. Although you will be reviewing your project at a later stage of development, your team should still provide you with the opportunity to make any necessary changes (depending on your contract type) to your software project before making it live.
Launch the software project.
With your final changes complete, and your stamp of approval on your software project, it’s time for your project to go live. Depending on your software project type, the level of involvement for making your project go live will vary. For example, for a website, your team may be involved in helping you to acquire hosting. Likewise, for a mobile app, your team assist you with the app store submission and approval process.
If your project is not one that will go public, such as in-house project management software, your team should still be involved in helping you to acquire and transition to your new software. In some cases, this may include providing training for your team on how to use your new software. While your team may be abroad, this can be carried out with the help of communications software through screen sharing and video conferencing.
Acquire on-going support & maintenance.
While many may assume that development is over once a site goes live, on-going support and maintenance are crucial to ensuring that your software project continues to operate smoothly and offer the best user experience. Not every offshore team provides these services, however. That said, it’s much easier for the team who built your project to continue keeping it in check, as they created it from the ground up.
Depending on your needs, your offshore team can provide you with varying levels of on-going support. For instance, if you have a website, your offshore team can provide you with IT support. This often includes ensuring that your site remains up-to-date and clear of security vulnerabilities. Likewise, your team can run regular checks on your site to verify that all is functioning as it should, as well as implement bug fixes where necessary.
Need a Team with This Offshore Development Process?
Because not every team is the same, every offshore development process is going to look a little bit different. Ideally, however, your team will follow a majority of the aforementioned steps, so that your experience offshore software development experience is a positive one.
At ClikGlobal, we bring together onshore and offshore team members to provide clients like you with affordable yet quality software development. Providing you quality assurance is why we follow a set of proven processes. Whether you need a mobile app or complex ecommerce systems, our goal is to give the most to you.
Start the offshore development process on the right foot—contact us today.