What is offshore software development? Outsourcing IT services is becoming increasingly popular, as it is a cost-efficient solution for numerous kinds of businesses. Offshore vendors usually provide lower rates which allows CEOs to significantly reduce costs. However, the productivity of IT specialists who work overseas is also important. Therefore, it is essential to choose highly efficient offshore software developers to ensure a good return on investment.
There is a great advantage of outsourcing your IT services to offshore professionals. You can establish 24-hour development due to time zone difference. Such approach will significantly reduce time to market, giving your business a great competitive advantage. Nevertheless, it might be sometimes challenging to build a smooth communication with your offshore developers, as they belong to another culture, and it is impossible to meet them in person on a daily basis.
To avoid costly mistakes of offshore software developers, certain organizations resort to documents as their primary interaction mechanism. However, formalities are often insufficient to establish genuine communication among the team members from diverse cultural backgrounds. This is where Agile offshore development method comes in handy to restore the direct contact and encourage a more vivid cooperation. Although it has a few disadvantages, it is still more dynamic than a documentation-driven approach.
Scrum Offshore Development
Scrum is an integral part of the Agile method. It is a framework for managing the productivity of software developers who usually collaborate in teams. As a rule, they consist of 3 — 9 developers who break their tasks into several cadences which can be completed within fixed duration cycles. These cycles are called “sprints” and help programmers to track their progress and re-schedule the assignments during 15-minute stand-up meetings which take place every day. Team members interact and cooperate a lot to bring workable software every single sprint.
Early proponents of Scrum were inspired by empirical inspect and adapt feedback loops to overcome risk and complexity. Scrum places emphasis on decision making based on the real-world results, not on speculation. It becomes possible due to the sprints that usually last from 1 to 2 weeks. The product is always delivered in a ready to use form. It is properly integrated and tested at the end of each cycle. Team members meet stakeholders after every sprint to examine a potentially shippable product and plan the next set of actions. This way, Scrum removes unnecessary unpredictability due to continuous discovery and fixing.
As for the roles and responsibilities, they are strictly predetermined by Scrum and never tend to change. Those are Team, Product Owner, and Scrum Master. When a few Scrum teams are working to deliver one product, they should generally refer to one Product Owner. The latter is capable of making major business decisions. A team should also resort to one Product Backlog with client-oriented requirements. Teams are supposed to compete with each other to become a feature team. The latter will have the right to build complete slice of product that may be delivered to a customer.
One of the biggest challenges Scrum’s feature teams might encounter is learning self-organization principles in order to successfully interact with other teams. This requires a higher level of responsibility, as well as good management skills. In fact, traditional co-ordination roles in Scrum, such as PMO and Project Manager, become of lower importance. The role of Architect is also eliminated — collaborative teams make technical decisions instead.
How To Manage Software Development Team
To effectively implement Scrum software development approach and manage the teams in an efficient manner, it is crucial to deal with the typical offshore challenges. We listed the most common challenges and useful tips to help business owners avoid miscommunication with their colleagues from overseas.
Tip #1. Conduct Regular Short Status Meetings
Communicating with your remote employees is very important, because it helps them to coordinate with other teams more effectively. Conduct short status meetings for the entire team on a regular basis in accordance with Agile methods. Those may be stand-up meetings in XP, Scrums in Scrum, etc.
Challenge: time zone difference.
Time differences are really a pain in the neck, when it comes to scheduling a stand-up meeting. For instance, Americans often cooperate with Indian outsourcers, but almost any time is awkward for both parties. However, Ukraine is more convenient for the U.S. employers, as there is a 6-hour difference between Kyiv and New York, while India and the USA are 9,5 hours apart. Try to hold stand-ups no less than twice a week with your offshore developers.
Tip #2. Make Use of Wiki
If your offshore software developers still get tired of conference calls, you can always resort to the wiki. Such approach will decrease the need for cross-shore stand-ups. It means conducting regular meetings with the teams, but not between different shores simultaneously.
Challenge: Too Many People Involved
In case it is essential to still hold frequent cross-shore meetings, do not involve the whole team, but select only the key figures for cross-shore collaboration.
Tip #3: Use a Conversation Starter
It is an incredible habit to start each meeting with a small chat on weather, most recent world news, and ask how the employees feel today. It is even better to show your knowledge of the local events concerning sports, politics, and other things which are important to your offshore software developers. Not only will it help to get rid of stress in the beginning of the conference call, it will also make your employees feel like an integral part of your team.
Challenge: Skipping Small Talks
You might consider conversation starters unimportant or lack some knowledge about the local events. Nevertheless, you have to spend some time on the research to keep the communication with your offshore team on a high level and avoid major misunderstanding. You definitely don’t want to schedule an important release during Diwali, do you? It is a significant Indian holiday when nobody is working, so the people can get very frustrated or even quit, if you try to make them work during that period. In the Western world, such holiday may be compared to Christmas.
Recipe for Successful Cross-Border Cooperation (the USA and Ukraine)
When Americans hire Ukrainian experts to provide quality IT services for them, they often prefer Agile approach. US teams tend to use an informal version of Scrum, while Ukrainian teams usually have various levels of exposure to it. Scrum offshore development is highly popular in these two countries, as it works best for them. Ukrainian programmers also use tools, such as Confluence and JIRA, as well as other Atlassian products, to establish a seamless working process in an Agile fashion.
It is not only Agile approach which makes American and Ukrainian developers collaborate in an efficient manner. It is also a close and compatible mindset which also contributes to creating successful teams. As a rule, team members from these countries get along very well and find a common language. It helps them to deal with numerous challenges of the IT world without starting conflicts.
Probably, the best approach to building and managing your offshore software developers is treating them as equal partners. Make the members of your offshore team feel like an integral part of your US-based development business. It is especially important for Ukrainians, who tend to reveal their creativity and provide better solutions at work. This will happen, only if they feel that their opinion is taken into consideration, and that the products they deliver are appreciated by the customer. In this case, you will receive only positive feedback from your US-based managers and tech leads who will praise the performance of the team from Ukraine.
Diceus: Ukrainian Software Development Leader
Diceus is a leading development company in Ukraine which provides quality IT services to more than 20 customers. With us, you will receive the best user-friendly, flexible, cross-browser, and responsive web solutions and get new functionalities added to your current systems. We will meet all of your unique expectations and bring to life the most complicated requirements. Diceus company can boast of a solid tech basis, delivering software solutions for ERP, CRM, EAM, and SCM. It also has over 100 professionals who have been showing excellence in IT for 6 years in a row.
Our best practices in software development include the following fields of expertise:
- HR and Benefits
- Travel and Hospitality
We are cnstantly open for areas and are ready to provide mobile development solutions, as well as HR and Benefits, enterprise software development, re-engineering, and Migration solutions for your business.
Diceus company has an extensive experience in offshore software development. We offer cost-efficient solutions which allow CEOs to reduce their expenses. At the same time, our programmers keep a high level of quality and efficiency, delivering the product on time. Therefore, you will get the best return on investment, especially given that Ukrainian IT experts charge significantly lower fees than their Western counterparts. We also implement Agile offshore development method which helps us maintain direct contact with our clients and stimulate a prolific cooperation.