There is approximately bazillion articles describing finding, building or managing offshore development team from startup founder or CEO/CTO perspective. Although there are some sources talking about how a good offshore software company should be like, there’s not much about how it is to actually work as a developer in such team.
That, or my internet skills got rusty.
In this article, I’ll talk a bit about what can boost productivity and make such project work for both founder/product owner and us, developers and what founder-developer relations are needed.
As you could have guessed, building the right relationship between developers and product owner is one of the most important, if not the most important element. Without mutual understanding possibility of creating a successful product that will be both interesting challenge for developers and will cover the product owner’s business goals drops very low. Near zero. I know, cliche. Yet, it really works that way.
Unfortunately, there is a number of product owners that, usually basing on bad past experience (i.e. devs that have poor actual tech skills and even worse business manners) don't even try to build a good relationship. They contact a dev team, tell them what they need to do, throw some money and a deadline. You can guess how this usually ends - everyone is in a shitty mood, the product is also incomplete or poorly written. Total waste of resources.
A founder or product owner has to remember that we, as developers, also want to build the best possible product. If we estimate that we need more time to complete the product, we usually know what we say. No one likes to ship a shitty product and perfection takes time.
Having good relations on product owner-development team line can not only save both parties much needed time and money but also enhance the product itself. Above all, a good software-house offers solutions to problems. You think you need an app? Tell us what’s your business goals are, and we may find a better, more suitable solution.
When you, as a founder or project owner have to choose the right software development team, ask them with what software development methodology they work in. If they’re an agile software house, they may be your best bet.
In short, agile software development methodology has two useful elements: regular and active contact with product owner and so-called Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This means that product owner can have total insight into development progress and can make changes midway. On the other hand, MVP approach guarantees quick, meaningful results. Product in its basic, usable form can give a massive amount of customer data that can be used to make it even better while cutting the cost of entire enterprise.
Downsides of outsourcing
Everything has its downsides. For me outsourcing has two major cons:
One of the rather irritating characteristics that many outsourced project share is that we cannot talk to about them. They can be one of the best products we ever made, where we used a number of very interesting methods, original architecture or brand new technologies. However, if they’re under NDA, we cannot talk about them too much, so it’s best to not talk about them at all. A shame. Could nicely widen our portfolio.
Another problem that may arise is the sheer distance and time zones differences (for example San Francisco-Berlin relations). Some details can be talked over through internet communication, yet it is very important to have a number of meetings face-to-face. Mikita Mikado nicely underlines the importance of personal contact in his article for TechCrunch. It may be difficult, but from our experience, we know it pays off.
Even though working as a part of offshore software development team can be sometimes hard or frustrating, it is definitely an interesting and inspiring experience. By going global, you can partner with some pretty amazing people, got very demanding and challenging problems to solve, learn new things and, of course, create some innovative software.
If you think we will be an asset to your vision, feel free to contact us right away!