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How to Overcome The Challenges Of Offshore Development?

rathodatman profile image Atman Rathod ・6 min read

For bringing the input of new developer talents companies go for offshore development. It allows companies to be benefited directly by the pull of technical talents available in many parts of the globe. Obviously, a vast majority of leading tech companies depend on offshore development model to boost their talent pool. But that doesn't prevent the small companies and startups from jumping on the bandwagon of offshore development. For all those companies looking forward to scaling up development resources and innovation to get a clear competitive lead, an offshore development model is a valid choice.

To get an offshore team onboard and make it continuously adding value to your software development process, you need to make your strategy perfect and you need to be well aware of the common challenges faced by other companies and respective remedies.

 

Understanding The Challenges For Offshore Development

There are several misconceptions about offshore development. Many companies believe that to start with offshore development one needs to invigorate the in-house development process. There are still other companies who believe you need a large development team with several project managers ready to work in collaboration with the offshore team. In reality, you only need to communicate the best development practices to your offshore team. Your offshore team should be clearly communicated about the required code quality, documentation and collaboration practices for the projects well in advance.

Here are the important tenets for your offshore development process.

  • Best development practices concerning code quality, collaboration and documentation should be laid out in advance.
  • There should dedicated project manager to look after the offshore development projects.
  • You need to decide about the communication tools for your offshore projects well in advance. If you need to use any particular communication tool or virtual office tool, you should test the tool and fix the protocols of communication to prevent disorder and chaos later.
  • To ensure higher code quality and to ensure consistent coding standard across both in-house and offshore teams it is advisable to organise joint programming sessions.
  • It is always advisable to start with a small developer team made up of extraordinary developer talents and then slowly build the team gradually around this nucleus.
  • Instead of isolating offshore team from your regular development teams, include them in the process and delegate them tasks to work in collaboration with on-site developers.
  • Finally, you need to have a long-term strategy to develop the skills of offshore and build them as the invaluable creative assets of the company.
  • Last but not the least of all considerations is how you build offshore development team. You can hire an offshore agency with a credible track record of managing offshore projects in that country of choice. You can also hire independent developers and delegate projects. Or else, you can make your own presence with an offshore development facility. While the first one is a more reliable and least expensive option, the last option is highly effective but a cost-intensive one. The middle path of working with freelance offshore developers often lacks quality assurance unless you are hiring industry-acclaimed developers.

 

Common Challenges And Remedies

When you are new to offshore development, you need to deal with several pain points, inconveniences and roadblocks in every project. But over time, you get to know the remedies of dealing with these challenges. This is why it is good to know the challenges faced by the majority of companies running several offshore projects and accordingly prepare the assets and processes to deal with them.

Here are some of the key challenges and remedies to help offshore development projects.

Different Working Hours

Developer teams located across different time zones often find it hard to collaborate and communicate at a given time. Different working hours based on the various time zones and local time of the respective countries remains a key problem for offshore projects. Often this requires the developers to work late at night or sometimes, unintended delay in support or feedback.

  • Consider the overlapping working hour well in advance for the respective offshore locations.
  • At least accommodate a couple of overlapping hours over and above the working hour to accommodate offshore communication.
  • Schedule alternate timing for project managers and developers working with the offshore development team.

Language And Cultural Differences

In development projects where continuous and steady communication is a necessity, the differences corresponding to the language and culture make a big roadblock. While quality communication barring the language and cultural differences is very important for great development output, you need to have an effective plan to achieve this. Here are some effective tips.

  • Use a common communication language and tool that the vendor and offshore developers find easy and engaging.
  • Assess the communication skill of the vendor and the offshore developers and take onboard the ones who can effectively communicate.
  • Plan social and cultural activities to allow more sharing space and bonding of individuals.
  • Try to nurture teams that have similar engineering value and philosophy.
  • Make the offshore team feel as organic part of your development process and not a secluded one.

Development Quality

Maintaining a high standard of quality for applications and software products is one of the most aching concerns for companies into offshore development. The problem can be ascribed to several contributing factors including communication gap among developers, lack of understanding, the absence of a common coding standard and non-implementation of best practices. The quality issues are also common with vendors having less-experienced and less-skilled developers. Here are a few effective tips to deal with this.

  • Only take offshore vendors having proven credentials in Agile development, Test-Driven Development and Continuous Delivery.
  • Make sure you employ the most suitable resources for evaluating the vendor and the offshore development team. In case you lack such resources, take help from an offshore hiring agency with the trusted evaluation process.
  • Make sure you have a robust and well-equipped quality assurance process in place to evaluate the output of both your offshore and on-site teams.

Meeting The Common Expectations

The gross qualitative parameters often differ as per expectations. When the vendor and the company are grounded on the common expectations, the opinions about the user interface, user experience and security becomes more consistent. When undertaking an offshore project, it is important for both the company and the vendor to share such a common ground if expectation. Here are a few useful tips to ensure this.

  • In the beginning, make sure to have detailed documentation regarding the expected output concerning each and every aspect of the software product.
  • Always insist on meeting the gross value standard and quality parameters as specified in the beginning then just focusing only on the intricate details.
  • Make sure that the developer teams work together closely with the common ground if expectations and objectives.

Conclusion

As our globe tends to bring people and professionals closer with digital communication and as the workplace is increasingly overlapping the boundaries of location, time and space, as a collaborative work with development team members spread across several locations became a reality, the dividing line between on-site and offshore development will continue to get blurred. More we get used to this new workplace, less we will feel such challenges to offshore development. tags: software development, offshore development, website development, mobile app development, challenges

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juliabekesh profile image
Julia

Thank you for sharing this interesting article. You can face a lot of challenges while working with offshore software development companies. But also you can receive a lot of benefits such as access to rare expertise, ability to scale quickly, lower operational costs and others.