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What is Onsite and Offshore Model? Hybrid Delivery Models in Software Development

by Irina Kravchenko

A project delivery model is a term which is widely used within the IT industry. It is defined as a way of project delivery based on the location of labor resources. The choice of a delivery model can affect the success of the entire project. Our article is all around how the software engagement models operate and how they can operate more efficiently. Let’s figure out the relationship between project success and practices and understand the pain points of project managers. We will answer the question “What is an onsite and offshore model?”, compare onsite, offshore, and hybrid cooperation with outsourcing vendors as well.  

What Is Onsite Model?

Onsite Delivery Model, often called onshore model as well, is defined as a way of software development and delivery when vendors send their qualified employees to the client’s site. The vendor team continually interacts with the customer’s team members. Together, they collect information, develop, implement, maintain and support the project. One distinctive feature of the onsite model is that the tasks assigned by a customer are completed by the outside employees. This type of engagement model is a perfect fit for short-term projects. Customers choose the onsite delivery model mainly for re-engineering projects with a repetitive scope of work. The other case is when customers have unclear requirements for the project.

The onsite model is the most effective in cases when the continuous interaction between the customer’s team and outside experts is required. Outside employees are able then to approve the client’s requirements at every single step of SDLC.

The Key Benefits of Onsite Model

Customers use the onsite model when they need to migrate to the new technology or modify their legacy systems. The popularity of this model is explained by a certain number of the following advantages:

  • On-hand information. Both, a vendor and a customer, can get the first-hand information from their employees to learn about the current work progress.
  • Face-to-face communication enables on-time detection of emerging issues and efficient problem-solving.
  • Effective communication. As there is no time and distance gap between both sites, there are almost no misunderstanding within a team.
  • Time-effectiveness. It often happens that clients offer some changes at the latest stages of the software development lifecycle. When a team uses onsite delivery model there are no chances of late changes. Everything is done on time.
  • Enhanced time to market. The product is delivered faster due to the above-mentioned advantages.onshore offshore delivery models

What Is Offshore Model?

Offshore development is a popular delivery model which is based on the vendor’s site. The offshore delivery model is also known as outsourcing. The customers order software development from the developers in a different country. The client has no face-to-face interaction with the vendor. However, a customer is able to communicate with the team members via Skype, phone, video calls, etc. This way of software development is good for well-structured and planned projects which have clear SRS documentation. The offshore development centers are quite popular nowadays.

Covered topics:

Why You Should Open Outsourcing Centers in Ukraine

Top 10 Reasons Why Outsourcing Software Development to Ukraine Is Beneficial

Are Posts Like “Why Outsourcing to India Is a Bad Idea?’’ Just Weak Arguments of Competitors

The Key Benefits of Outsourcing

Clients choose this way of cooperation with developers when their projects are expected to last long. The major advantages of outsourcing include the following pros:

  • Low costs. It’s cheaper to outsource IT projects to countries with low labor costs.
  • Perfect outcomes. The quality of the developed projects is no worse than those developed by in-house engineers.
  • No hidden prices. A client is able to get an accurate estimation according to the payment models offered by an outsourcing company.
  • Round-the-clock support. Typically, offshore developers offer 24/7 support services which mean you mustn’t be pegged to the time differences.

Whereas there are a lot of advantages of using an offshore delivery model, clients must be aware of the risks related to this type of partnerships. Make sure you know about these risks.

What Is The Difference Between Onsite and Offshore?

what is difference between onsite and onshore

What is onsite and offshore model? Hybrid model

What is an onsite and offshore model? A Hybrid Model is a mixed type of onsite and offshore cooperation. This engagement model is one of the most successful models used by lots of companies. The work is distributed between onsite and offshore teams. Typically, 20-30% of tasks are completed by the onsite employees and the rest is done by the offshore team members.

Let’s find out what assignments are done by onsite workers.

  • Initial requirements capture.
  • Project planning.
  • Executing the project.
  • Dealing with the client and managing partnerships.

Below are assignments completed by offshore employees:

  • Discussing the requirements.
  • Monitoring that the final results match to the initial requirements.
  • Continuous interaction and support.

The Key Benefits of Hybrid Model Teams

The hybrid delivery model is good for sophisticated products development, complicated and long-term IT projects. While enjoying the benefits of outsourcing, the client still gets an onsite team to address any queries or issues without the burden of managing a large-scale onsite team. Here is an example of the responsibilities distribution:

HYBRID ONSITE OFFSHORE DElivery MODEL

The hybrid delivery model is often chosen because of the cost savings of utilizing offshore resources while reducing the total infrastructure cost (for the onsite team). Among the pros of an onsite-offshore model are the following benefits:

  • Direct communication
  • High effectiveness
  • Best resources
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Best practices in resource management

The management and administration costs involved in maintaining both the onsite and offshore employees may inhibit many service providers from going for the Onsite-Offshore Model. Also, cultural differences between the onsite employees and offsite team members need to be managed effectively to get the best results.

How to Get Maximum Productivity From Offshore Team

Today, a lot of companies are offshoring their information technology to countries with low wages. Main reasons for offshoring are cost reduction, entering a large labor pool, increasing international opportunities, increasing the quality of service, and exploiting around the clock development. However, oftentimes almost all of these goals of offshoring are not or partly met. Let’s analyzes why certain offshore projects are unsuccessful and how they should be set up in order to meet the predetermined goals. How should an offshore software development project be coordinated, in order to increase the chance of success?

Before proceeding to the question above we should answer one more question “What is a successful project?”

A short time ago, costs, time, and savings were the most important things determining success. A project should not cost more than it was budgeted. A project should be completed on time and the results of the work should lead to benefits that are higher than the costs of the project. These things were considered the main factors ensuring success, although recently extra elements of success were added.

So, let’s define a successful software development project as a software development project where the delivered product meets the scope, has at least the expected quality, is completed on time and does not exceed its total budgeted costs + communication.

In our company, we adhere to these principles. Accurate estimations are assured by the teamwork of business analysts, tech leads, and project managers. They select the right people and bring a team together according to a customer's project requirements.

Our senior managers and business analysts are mostly former developers with a strong background in software engineering. Thus, they follow all the steps of the software development life cycle and understand how important each of the stages is. These people select the right candidates having all the necessary skills to complete a particular project.

Before bringing a team together, every single member of the team takes a special test to define how psychologically compatible he/she with other members of the team. These tests are developed by professional recruiters and are considered to provide accurate results.

Read more about how to motivate offshore development teams.

Onsite Offshore Communication Best Practices: How to Communicate With Offshore Teams

According to the technical report “Improving offshore communication by choosing the right coordination strategy” written by Matthias Fabriek, Mischa van den Brand, Sjaak Brinkkemper, Frank Harmsen, and Remko Helms, poor quality of communication leads to less knowledge exchange. Less knowledge exchange leads to lower success. Lower perceived success influences communication negatively.

Here are some tips that help teams communicate effectively:

#1 Focus on communication and coordination.

Communication is used to overcome distances between onsite and offshore employees and a client.

#2 Coordinate and control communication.

Control is adhering to goals, policies, standards, quality levels. Coordination means all managing activities that influence the project and thus, the communication. If coordination is not sufficient, team performance and the final result will also not be sufficient. This turns out to be one of the main sources why offshore projects fail: project management is not adapting to the new offshore situation that is different from a distributed situation in the home country.

#3 Measure coordination.

The following coordination areas that need attention: organizational structure, risk management, infrastructure, process, conflict management, team structure, and team organization. They are categorized into five main categories:

  • Standards: Standards include all methodologies, rules, dictionaries, procedures, etc. They are focused on delivering the right product (scope) with the right quality.
  • Plans: This category includes all schedules, milestones and other plans. They all are focused on delivering the product on time and within the budget.
  • Formal mutual adjustment is specifically focused on coordinating formal communication. This category includes the creation of hierarchies, the planning of formal meetings, etc. Delegation is also an important aspect that affects team performance over distance: people have certain responsibilities in the project or the process.
  • Informal mutual adjustment: Some small measures can be taken to increase the chance of informal communication between people.
  • Team selection: The knowledge and experience of all team members together influence the success of the project. Team’s maturity is defined by three dimensions: team technical competency (the task that has to be done), team motivation (the individual and the team goals), and distributed teamwork skills (the ability to cooperate in a distributed environment).

The five previously mentioned categories of coordination measures meet onsite offshore model challenges and aim at improving communication and knowledge exchange.

Who Is a Project Coordinator? Onsite Offshore Coordinator Responsibilities

To provide proper coordination of projects that are developed according to the onsite offshore delivery model, companies often hire coordinators. Our project managers and coordinators are professional business analysts having excellent knowledge on how to make your startup or business grow with the proper software solution. They delve deeply into your business processes and generate the best-suited ideas for your project according to your needs and requirements.

To know what roles and responsibilities coordinators have we explored current job position on Indeed

Below is an example of the skills required to apply for the coordinator job:

Required Qualifications:

  • 4+ years of experience in full Software Development Life Cycle for managing systems scope and release objectives
  • 4+ years of experience working as a Java developer
  • 2+ years of Web Service / API development is REST and SOAP
  • 2+ years of Production Support experience
  • 2+ years of DB2/Oracle database experience
  • 2+ years of UNIX commands and scripts experience
  • 1+ years HIPAA EDI - X12 experience especially in 270, 276, 837, 278, 834, 820 transaction sets
  • 1+ years’ experience in Jenkins, XL Deploy, DevOps, J2EE Frameworks, JBoss Application Server, Agile

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Undergraduate degree or High School diploma/GED with 4+ year’s equivalent experience in the areas of IT Software Development and/or Support
  • Strong background in SOA implementation
  • WAS MQ/JMS/Rabbit MQ experience
  • IBM Websphere Transformation Extender (WTX) experience

Conclusion

To sum it up, project success depends on a great number of factors. Whatever delivery model you choose, you should consider these factors before starting a project.

Let’s sum up the advantages of the three models under this review:

Offshore Model

  • High-cost savings
  • A single point of contact
  • A minimum 4-hour overlap with the on-site team
  • Clear, responsive communications

Onsite Model

  • Face-to-face communication with team members
  • Maximum control and coordination of time and effectiveness
  • A negligible communication gap
  • Reduced recruitment costs

Hybrid Model

  • Transparent project status and clear communication at all levels
  • In-depth understanding of each other’s working styles leading to long-term benefits
  • Optimized resources, quality, project, and process management
  • Cost advantages of having offshore software developers

Besides, a client should take into consideration the five categories of coordination measures while working with offshore employees: standards, plans, teams, formal and informal mutual adjustment. Follow our blog to learn more about successful cooperation with in-house, on-site, or offshore employees. We are here to help you manage your projects effectively.

 

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