Most software companies these days want to outsource a large part of their work while adopting the agile methodology at the same time. With agile software development, they can combine the benefits of outsourcing (i.e. access to more skilled talent, reduced costs, etc.) with the flexibility offered by the agile methodology.
Corporations can quickly adapt to the ever-changing business environment with the use of the agile methodology. The fixed duration of each sprint promotes rapid delivery, with a predictable schedule and cost. Most importantly, it's flexible in terms of changing conditions, focuses on the solid design and technical excellence, and helps to understand what should be the priority in the client’s business.
Agile software development can be successfully outsourced, but it will need a different approach from both the client and offshore teams. There are cases where one or both parties may actually be required to make specific changes to their conventional processes. Those who want to enjoy the advantages of agile methodologies and outsourcing should take note of the following:
Select a Reliable Agile Partner
Certain software development companies look at clients as if they were a set of requirement specifications. The team is expected to implement any order the client has exactly the way it was stated in the specifications. These developers fail to think out of the box–without even advising clients on possible actions that can reduce time or effort, or increase the products’ business value.
When outsourcing agile software development, you're not only thinking about the technical capabilities of the software firm. You also need one that is familiar with the agile methodology and has related experience in the industry of the product to be created.
Conduct Team Visits Frequently
One of the most effective ways to establish trust is through face-to-face meetings. Dinners, team trips, and other team building activities are essential, too, if you want to establish good working relationships with your team.
Try and set aside an amount from your budget for the frequent meetings between your in-house software team, outsourced team, and your customer. These visits can be done every one or two weeks, and different issues which may lead to lasting damage on the project can quickly be fixed by human touch during these times.
Maintain Constant Communication
Clear contact points should be defined on both sides at all times. At least one individual from the team should be fluent in the client’s native language. Most of the time, this person represents the client in the outsourced team. He or she will play the role of project lead, team lead, proxy product owner, or scrum master. Some of the qualities this individual should possess include detail-oriented, reliable, and responsible.
Clients, on the other hand, should also be able to assign their own dedicated representative. This person is responsible for being familiar with all aspects of the outsourced project. He or she must be able to communicate information clearly to the outsourced team. Additionally, the client must give the representative the authorization to make changes or approve work on behalf of them.
Start Small but Plan for the Worst
All candidates will likely tell you that they are agile–and it’s something you should expect. That’s why you need to make sure that all sprints are short and the success criteria should be based on acceptance tests, delivery timeline, and other small details that your company values.
When it comes to risk mitigation, planning ahead of time and preparing for the worst case scenario is important. Starting small before ramping up is the most ideal approach. Every time a sprint is finished, there is a need to verify if the team is performing well or not before making adjustments.
Through this, you can steer the outsourcing team in the right direction, and once a team performance analysis has been conducted, you should be able to tell if that outsourced team can help achieve your objectives or not.
Evaluate the Team Instead of Singling Members Out
It’s quite easy for most clients to outsource a software project with the help of programmers who have exceptional skills. However, agile software development is different as it requires a high level of collaboration within the team members.
It’s actually all about teamwork rather than individual excellence. All members play a crucial role in the project’s success, and each member needs to be comfortable with working alongside other people–either in their home country or at other locations. This means the programmers' track record as far as working with a team is concerned is more important than their previous individual successes.
That said, if you are planning to hire developers, use behavioral techniques when interviewing and selecting team members.
Agile software development puts emphasis on frequently providing working software, with the turnaround ranging from a few weeks to several months. For you to achieve that, automation has to be built into every stage of the development process.
With a working test automation framework, all business stakeholders will be more likely to find the tests easier to understand. The framework has to be executed at the right level, easy to maintain, and can quickly run. Additionally, the framework needs to allow executions to be scheduled regularly, and failing tests should be addressed right away.
Also, there should be a wider automated framework for acceptance in place in case of a rapid turnaround of internal releases to customers.
Finally, all team members, including your outsourced team, should be able to access the automated test suite. Everyone must be able to use it with just a click or push of a button. If someone needs to run the test ahead of time, the test suite should function properly without any fuss.
With agile software development, constant and open communication between the customers, developers, and business is required. Be sure to partner with a software vendor who is highly experienced in agile methodology, knows how to work faster, and is aware of the latest trends in the industry.
There are a lot of other aspects that are worth considering when it comes to agile software development. But the most important thing to remember is no matter how efficient your partner is, your product still needs your personal involvement during the development process.
By establishing mutual understanding, open communication, and constant collaboration, you and your software provider can have a greater chance at succeeding and forging a lasting business relationship.