You’ve done your research and decided to move forward with offshore development. There are some key steps we recommend to help navigate this relationship and ensure it delivers the benefits you expect.
Have a plan to protect your assets:
Hopefully, the relationship with your offshore developer is problem free, but it is critical to have processes in place to protect your company’s proprietary information related to the design and development of your software projects. Putting a few simple processes in place on the front end can ensure your company’s assets are secure and provide you with the ability to quickly close access if necessary.
Labs8 recommends the following:
- Always use the hiring firm’s accounts and grant access to the offshore team
- Never use personal emails
- All 3rd party SaaS services should be based on the corporate email address
- Adopt Lastpass or another password management software to further manage credentials and prevent rogue access
Have Project Leads in place for both sides:
Reputable offshore developers will assign an offshore project lead to your project. It is just as important that you assign an onshore project lead dedicated to supervising the relationship. Having these two positions in place is critical to getting your projects completed the way you want them without disrupting the productivity of your internal IT team. Ideally, these individuals were involved in the selection process and are familiar with the expectations for the relationship. Both leads should possess strong project management skills and technological expertise to review architectural design and scalability. Your onshore lead will be critical to providing guidance on user experience which gets tricky as it varies greatly across cultures. If you don’t have an internal team member with the band width to add on this responsibility, hiring an external partner to fill this role on a fractional basis is a good option.
Once you have established project lead roles for both sides, get your offshore team connected with your business. Share your vision, your values and even the history of your business. Treat your offshore team the same way you would treat new members to your internal team. Taking this time on the front end not only gives them a better understanding of the value their work brings to the business but it gets them involved so they feel part of the team from the very beginning.
Start your offshore team off with a project that is self- contained. It may be a section of a website, a web app, a small internal mobile app, or an algorithm. It might be a test framework that no one outside the business sees or it could be a hardware circuit board that does a specific function. Just be sure this first project can be isolated and its success metrics defined and easily measured. During this initial stage establish clear guidelines, boundaries and expectations for the offshore team. Allow them to fail safely with both sides working together to problem solve issues and make necessary adjustments. Be sure your offshore team knows you have a plan for expanding their responsibilities once onboarding is completed and you are both more comfortable with the relationship.
A good offshore partner will want to take ownership of areas and expand their involvement from development to include design. Getting to this collaborative type of relationship is where your business will realize the most value from working with an offshore development team. But you won’t get there without taking the time necessary to work through issues that come up during the onboarding phase. The level of experience your onshore project lead has working with offshore developers is directly related to how long the onboarding phase will take. Generally, you can expect 6-8 months before you begin fully realizing the benefits of this new relationship.
- Set up boundaries early on to protect your technological assets
- Assign offshore and onshore project leads
- Treat your offshore development team like your onshore team
- Get your offshore team connected to your business
- Begin their work on a product are that is self-contained
- Establish clear guidelines, boundaries and expectations.
- Share the plan for how their work will expand after the onboarding phase
If you’d like to talk more about working with Labs8 to secure offshore development support, or have additional questions about offshore development, let us know.