Hiring an offshore development team

  • Posted By: Jay Tiwary
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Offshore development benefits

Although remote teams are not a new thing but COVID-19 has given proof that it works well and in fact a better solution in some cases. The pandemic has shown us a new way of living life and working cultures. People are liking the work from home culture and they find it more productive when they have been given flexibility. The IT and enabled industry with offshore and distributed team culture has been practicing for many years. In modern times, the IT infrastructure has given valuable tools to hire, manage, collaborate, and measure productivity which gives numerous benefits such as:

  • Huge cost benefits
  • A large pool of talent across the globe
  • Hiring in no time
  • Hiring without any infrastructure investment
  • Hiring as you need
  • No long term commitment

However, the question is how should I hire a team, and more importantly how can I make it work?

Finding the right fit and managing offshore is a challenge

Finding a software developer or a team is just a click away, search google you can get countless options but what makes it difficult is when you have so many options its challenging to choose the one best for you. If you do not come from a software development background or you do not understand much of the software development business this could become a nightmare. I have been talking to many of my clients and was trying to understand their problems while choosing an offshore team, some of the doubts they have in their mind were:

  • They all look the same, they all promise the same: Nobody claims to be the poor performers when it comes to selling and claims to be the best
  • The wide difference in rates: every outsourcing country has different pay rates and hence the rates vary from country to country. It even varies within the country
  • The competition of being the cheapest and the quality of deliverables: Every business is competing with others and hence they try to be the cheapest. However, the challenge is to deliver a quality service with competitive rates.
  • Shall I go with the outsourcing marketplace platforms or hire a direct approach
  • I am not a techie, how should I ensure the deliverable have met the quality standards and are maintainable solutions
  • Not just one right fit for all: If somebody has delivered to one doesn't guarantee to deliver the right set of solution to all, how do I make sure it could work for me

What is the solution?

  1. Focus on processes and architecture: Find a team that has a definite process that delivers a well-architected solution, not just code. Most of the businesses going for cheaper solutions don't pay attention to processes and the architecture of the project but the fact is that these two are vital for the success and scalability of the project. A good process-oriented team will always find a solution to a potential problem. Similarly, the technical architecture of the project sets the road map to scale or maintain the source code. If you are uncertain of these hire somebody who is competent to judge. It could hardly take a few hours or a few weeks depending on your project size but this ensures the right foundation of the project. To validate you can :
  • Talk to the team to understand the processes they follow and if possible ensure its formal
  • See some architectural documents and coding practices examples than looking at the portfolio and delivered solutions.
  1. Hire a solution team not just individuals: Find a solution team than just a developer or a tester. This doesn't necessarily be at the same place, the same agency you can make a distributed team but it should be at the right time. Imagine constructing your house without an architect or any architectural diagram, there are more chances of failing. Similarly, the solution architect or technical architects have value to add and give a solid foundation to build upon. To validate:
  • You should have a senior architect, a project manager who can give you the confidence to ensure a quality product
  • If the product needs domain specialization to ensure it is there if not engage somebody even if he is not from the same team, a part of distributed team
  1. Build MVP and scale if time and budget are constraints: If you have a budget or time constraint do not compromise on quality in order to get a full-featured product. Develop a minimum viable product and then scale it later. The key here is:
  • If you are satisfied with the first two points with the team, do not switch to a cheaper solution just because you can't afford it right now. Adjust your feature priorities
  1. Collaborate with the team: The most important thing to make it successful is your collaboration with the team. Assure your offshore team has the right set of knowledge to build upon. If you are not available, try to appoint somebody who can take the responsibility as a product manager and engage with the team.
  • Regular meeting and updates are very important
  • Ensure they understand it right
  • Participate in design validation UI & UX is very important
  • Ask for frequent releases, test the product yourself
  • Make sure it's going the right way
  • Give proper feedback on time, work along with the team

Are we talking about CMMI standards, big agencies?

Not necessarily, there is no one right fit for everybody. The business scale and the budget must be respected and the solutions should be built as per the financial viability of the business. Different business has different needs, your MVP accounting product may not be necessarily competent with SAP, People soft and if you are a startup implementing SAP to your business may not fit. But what is relevant is you need a product that works for you, maintainable and scalable at least to take to you to the planned number of users the system was built for. You find a development partner which fits your pocket size but should have the capability to deliver what is discussed above.

The key is the person (Project Manager) and the team handling your project. Give some time while shortlisting them, do not rush to hire or don't hire because somebody has given 5 start rating to or some agency has good staff strength. After a couple of calls and validations, you can make a better judgment.

You do the validation checks yourself and engage with the team to deliver a quality product. That's where you save money. There are many who prefer to work as Independent freelancer even after having so much experience. There are many who join small organizations to grow faster and get more opportunities than working in an MNC. You can find good professionals in smaller agencies or freelancers as well but you need to make sure you have ticked all the points discussed above.

Conclusion: In my opinion, hiring an offshore development team is an extremely cost-effective solution. Hiring should be focussed on process and architecture-oriented. Collaboration with the team helps to reduce the odd possible failure leading a successful product.

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