Once you start your outsourced software project with your provider, the last thing you want is for the outsourcing partnership to deteriorate into an order-taking relationship with developers who only do what they’re told. When processes backslide, innovation is back-burnered and continuous improvement is forgotten, you’ve officially arrived at low-performance outsourcing.
High-performance outsourcing requires consistent attention, assessment and enhancement to remain optimized. Accelerance provides periodic engagement review with you and your development partner to manage expectations, ensure that milestones are achieved as scheduled and that your software is stable and scalable throughout the life of your software engagement. Potential issues are identified and addressed before they become real problems that put your software at risk.
If you’re outsourcing software development, you’ve got a “gut feel” for how your engagement is going based on the quality of the software you’re receiving, the kinds of bugs being found, and how many crises must be addressed via conference calls.
But does that mean your software outsourcing is successful? How do you really measure the success of your software outsourcing? What metrics should you use, and what should you do if your outsourced software development process doesn’t measure up? Or, do you even use metrics? Metrics may seem like overkill. If your offshore team delivers software on time at a comparatively low rate and the code contains a reasonably small number of bugs which are fixed quickly, isn’t that enough?
In software development outsourcing - if it’s worth doing it’s worth measuring. Establishing metrics is not “busy work” or relevant only for large companies. In order to manage software development with quantifiable objectives, a gut feel is not enough. You cannot afford - literally - to be casual about monitoring and measuring performance. Here’s why you need metrics:
Communication is key to the success of every software engagement - but especially critical with software outsourcing.
Open communication is extremely important from the beginning and throughout your outsourcing relationship. Both parties must be on the same page regarding the software engagement and must be specific, concise and realistic about what they need and expect from each other. Expect to use weekly conference calls, regular emails and instant messages every day. Frequent status reports and constant communication will help ensure that your engineers are working on the most important tasks.
Partner with a software development team that has, at minimum, a conversational level of English proficiency. Senior members, especially, need to be able to clearly understand the requirements of your software engagement before they’re able build your product. Don’t always expect English proficiency equivalent to that of a native speaker, but do expect language-driven misunderstandings are kept to a minimum. To aid in communication with non-native speakers, put effort into speaking calmly and clearly.
Even two English-speaking countries like the U.S. and the U.K. have different communication styles that must be considered, so it goes without saying that there will be differences in language and other communication styles between all cultures. What you might consider rude, odd, or confusing in another culture might be considered perfectly normal, and vice versa. The key to bridging the gap is mutual respect and embracing your differences.