Successful partnering for software development can send shivers down the spines of some people. Many have learned the hard way that outsourcing isn’t for them.
If you’re considering partnering, especially for custom software development, this article will give you some useful advice and tips for finding, and working with, the best partner. Engaging and succeeding with outsourcing provides many benefits including:
When you first meet, determine early on if your potential development partner understands you and what you are trying to achieve. Does it ‘feel right’? If you work together, personalities being aligned will be as important as technical skills, working methodology, governance etc. How well did you get on in your first meeting, what was your gut feel after the initial chat?
It’s not essential to have your partner local - offshoring with a known and trusted team works well for most organisations as the time difference will mean work continues through NZ night-time. Augen has a highly experienced offshore team in Vietnam as well as an Auckland city based team – and we ensure that our clients get to meet/e-meet everyone involved to ensure the fit is right and that we understand each other and all aspects of the project.
Asking for references to confirm that you are working with a ‘known and trusted team’ will validate your decision.
When your development partner gets you and you get them, you will be aligned in as many working areas as possible and this ensures that the desired outcomes will be delivered.
It’s important to establish trust quickly between you and your development partner. Whether your assignment is for an ongoing project needing extra team members or is for a custom development, when implementing a forming, storming, norming, performing, adjourning and transforming approach special emphasis should be placed on the ‘forming, storming and performing’ elements of agile methodology to get to the ‘normal’ as fast as possible – this will build trust quickly.
Trust and understanding should be an early and essential part of your engagement – people being honest about their skills and expectations, their strengths and weaknesses, what they find hard/easy etc will help to normalise things very quickly and ensure a smooth project.
Augen recommends using an experienced engagement lead, in a PM, tech lead or business analyst role in your team. As Engagement Lead they work with both teams to ensure that:
This is a key role, don’t underestimate how important it is to your partnership and project success. You need someone with good project management, communications and people skills to keep all the key elements aligned and progressing. Choose carefully!
It’s key to work with a software development partner who aligns with your team’s specific skill sets and that you both recognise that sometimes, alternative approaches and flexibility might be needed to deliver the best outcomes. Both parties need to be aware that they might need to change the way they work or the teams they assign to get the very best out of a project. We advocate validating the skills needed and if the team isn’t the perfect fit for a project, we will ‘build’ a team for you, blending your staff and ours, so that we both achieve a direct fit whereby both companies benefit.
Agile methodology in software development project delivery will need good communications, fast feedback and comms cadences that progress projects rather than hinder them. Sprints are the best way to ensure that work is progressed in a non-wasteful way. Concise communications between teams will ensure that everyone knows what’s happening and when, what’s expected of them and how things will progress to meet objectives. Having the right cadence for a feedback cycle is also key to gaining efficiencies in project delivery. Good comms also means no surprises for anyone!
Augen helps its customers by sketching out how a model might look financially, keeping the risk chunks low for both parties. Both parties understanding the project financials will ensure smooth and consistent work delivery and no surprises.
In summary, outsourcing, when done well, is straightforward and provides huge benefits. It works really well when a few key measures and steps are taken. Following these key steps benefits both parties and ensures project success and achievement of the business outcomes.
Here’s a reminder of our key take-outs:
Contact us for more information if you need to outsource standard or custom software development. Augen – we’re here to help you.