Working with an overseas software company – how to get the most out of it?

Offshore software development – how to get the most out of it?

The planning stage

Distance – it’s the enemy of each successful cooperation, regardless of circumstances. It’s even more evident in the context of complex web development projects. It’s so vital that many companies choose to avoid offshore software development due to the inconveniences of working remotely, even if the price is more favorable. However, there are ways to make this sort of cooperation just as effective as working in-house.

 

Offshore software development is a really tricky endeavor. If a company makes a decision to outsource some of its web development, it means that to some extent it lacks proper resources in-house. And yet, it takes a lot of expertise to assess the software house of choice and come up with a solid specification for the project. To make things even worse, cooperating with a software house located overseas can turn into a nightmare. Some contractors prove insufficiently responsive and unreliable and they often struggle to understand all the business circumstances of the project.

There are, however, some ways a quality software house can bridge the communication gap that offshore software development often produces. One of the essential ones is a serious and careful approach to the planning phase of the project. What does it mean for the Sensinum software house?

 

How to approach offshore software development for maximum efficiency?

Oftentimes, what we receive as the initial specification from our potential customers is… a single sheet of paper. You can’t possibly include everything that a well-specified project requires on a single sheet. Then again, one can understand why it may be difficult for a company to come up with a document that is complex enough when it comes to both technical and non-technical issues related to it. After all, they have just turned to technical experts for help.

Sensinum always dedicates 20-40 hours (depending on the complexity of a project) to each potential customer in order to understand everything there is to understand to deliver a successful project on time. It may take place at the customer’s place or via Skype. During the time the following essential documents should be produced:

  • project charter – a statement of the scope, objectives and project participants. When in doubt, the charter serves as a reference of authority in the future
  • business processes overview – it describes the business processes the software should model
  • functional requirements/product backlog – list of features and user stories that define the scope of the product
  • non-functional criteria – these include security, availability, security, usability, standards compliance etc.
  • technical recommendations – software architecture guidelines and all sorts of different technical recommendations for the project
  • product estimates – estimates regarding the development time and prices (see the fixed time vs price and material for more details on pricing methods)

The above are what you should expect to end up with after a well-conducted planning stage. Additionally, Sensinum always makes sure to agree on particular communication and project management tools. We strongly prefer JIRA – read about why Sensinum believes that Jira is a perfect tool for effective web development.

 

Maximum understanding and convenience at minimum risk

We, at Sensinum, firmly believe that a well-organized planning stage with all key project stakeholders that results in the deliverables listed above is essential for effective offshore software development. And the more complex the project at hand is, the more accurate we find the statement to be. This is why, when the complexity of a potential project calls for it, we make a decision to fly to the potential customer’s place to hold a meeting. And when the meeting doesn’t result in a contract, the customer is free to do whatever they want with all of the deliverables produced during the planning stage. This is how confident we are that it’s not going to be the case and that the meeting will indeed convince you that Sensinum is the right software house to turn your project into a magnificent product.

Regardless of whether all or most of the planning stage takes place online or in-person, the specialists assigned to it are always meant to be in line with the specific requirements and circumstances of the project. It means that if your project is highly data-driven, it should be analyzed by an experienced data engineer of ours. If it has to do with smart devices, a senior engineer with a strong IoT background will be picked to handle it.

We usually like to end the planning stage with a kickoff meeting. It’s a 2-4 hour meeting that serves as the perfect opportunity for all team members to fully understand the roles they’re assigned to. As well as meet each other. We believe it’s important to find just the right balance between the time we dedicate to work and relax. When we visit another country, we usually take some time off to go sightseeing too. You will learn more about the way we handle kickoff meetings in another article from the series.

If you are planning to outsource your web development, you should pick a software house with a serious approach to the initial work meant to establish effective communication and understand of project requirements. It is what will make or break your outsourcing endeavor. The more advanced your project is, the more it will need a well-organized planning stage.

Sensinum is a Polish software house offering top-notch offshore software development services to companies, marketing agencies and teams. Whether you need a subcontractor or want to cooperate with a software house directly, you’re in the right place. Sensinum means smooth communication and experienced developers working on advanced projects on a daily basis. If you want to know whether our offer suits you, contact us and consult your software idea for free.

Sebastian
Sebastian Data Engineer / COO