It’s no secret that many software companies outsource much of their work as it allows them to save much of the cost and time, as well as giving access to the vast scope of talent all over the world. Usually, it is believed that the Waterfall approach is the only well-suited approach to development outsourcing. But now companies realize the potential benefits of adopting the agile methodology for software development, as it combines pros of outsourcing with the flexibility of the particular method.
What is the agile methodology?
The term “Agile Methodology” is an umbrella term encompassing numerous different iterative and incremental software development methodologies. The most common and the most frequent of them include-Extreme Programming, Scrum, Crystal, Dynamic Systems Development Method, Lean Development and Feature-driven Development.
All these agile methodologies are unique in their approach. However, there is a common ground between all of them in the form of mutual vision and core values. All of them incorporate iteration and provide continuous feedback to refine and deliver a software system, successively. Every agile methodology makes use of continuous planning, testing, integration and other types of continuous evolution of the project as well as of the software. When compared to the usual waterfall processes, these are much more lightweight, and inherently adaptable as well.
Now that we have successfully established the basic what’s and how’s of agile methodology, it is time to address the potential next question in the queue: what has been stopping companies from adopting this method while outsourcing?
Well, for starters, this methodology involves a very high level of the group effort than the waterfall approach. Some other common problems that arise in offshore outsourcing of agile development include:
Unproductive collaboration: This can be caused by several circumstances like poor team coordination, cultural differences, indulging in the informal news, incapability to produce basic knowledge and a shared vision.
Issues about development: This includes poor It infrastructure, the difference in the skill level of architecture and design among the offshore developers and the core team, trouble in recognizing the code ownership.
Issues in management and customer participation: difficulty in understanding languages, long intervals in between feedbacks from the customer to the offshore team or difficulty in establishing trustworthiness with the client give rise to management related issues
Project management: The hassles of project management templates are tracking task progress, knowledge management, supervising and controlling, estimating effort et cetera.
But, despite the difficulties, projects that are outsourced can employ the agile methodology, if only the proper approaches are taken care of. The change in specific traditional processes must sometimes be done by the client, sometimes by the offshore team, and in many cases by both the parties.
How to do it right
Here are a few heads-ups that might be proven helpful to those who are seeking to make offshore outsourcing and agile methodology work together.
Choose the right agile partner: While selecting the vendor, look for a company that not only has the technical potentials but also knows the agile method and has adequate experience in the area of business related to which the product development is required. While searching for the right vendor, the things that should be kept in mind include:
The mindset of the company: It is essential to assess the company culture and see if they have a mentality that is flexible and open to continuous perfection. Whether the company puts in the effort to learn the client’s thinking and targets and whether they have been interested in the long-term success of their clients should be considered before hiring the vendor.
Reference check: It is highly recommended to talk to the company’s references and research a bit about their experience with the vendor.
Check the website: Go to the company website to look for any specific professional certification like Certified Scrum Master or Certified Scrum Professional. Look if they have secured any accolades for their technological competency.
Evaluate as a team: Agile development requires a lot more effort than finding sole programmers with outstanding developing skills. It is an affair that demands a significant level of collaborative teamwork. Therefore, the performance trace of the team of programmers is much more important than that of the individuals. Using behavioral interview techniques while recruiting the employees helps assess this factor better.
Effective Communication: Any agile development project requires very prolific and transparent communication among the offshore team and the client. The project manager on the client’s side is a major deciding factor in the success of the effort and needs to employ every communication mechanism available to communicate with every member of the developing team. Outsourced projects require minimum one team member to speak fluently in the native language of the client. This person usually stands on behalf of the client in the team that works offshore. On the other hand, the client should also employ a reliable agent who is familiar with the nooks and corners of the project as well as, can communicate with the team offshore.
Frequent team visit: Even though communication assures transparency between the two parties, nothing builds trust like face to face meetings. Incorporating the cost of recurring in-person meetings is wise. Team building activities like field trips and team dinners go a long way to build relationships.
In order make a software development deal a success, a lot of attention needs to be paid to the individual dimensions of the project. Specifically, for the agile development, synchronized teamwork is the final key to make an outsourcing project thrive.
Chirag Thumar is working as a Digital marketer at Nex which is a leading Web Development Company in India and USA. He runs his own company with main focus on Java-based web application using JQuery, Struts, JSF, node.Js, spring, Ext Js, software testing, etc. He Writes about Emergency technology, Java-based frameworks & tools, Software Testing Trends, Innovative quotes, Social Media News and online marketing. Follow him on Twitter.
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