Agile Offshore Software Development: How to Make it Work for Your Business?

Agile offshore development is one of the most powerful approaches for developing high-quality projects. Here are the benefits and challenges of implementing this methodology within the outsourcing team.

In the tech community, the word “Agile” has become synonymous with the concepts of innovation and efficiency. Now that the market speeds are insane, the only way for business managers to keep up with growing user needs is by constantly delivering new features and builds.

Naturally, for the companies that have in-house teams, it might be either to set up processes that go in line with Agile methodologies. But, can agile development work with offshore resources?

In this post, we will elaborate on the benefits of Agile offshore web development and describe the practices that promote flexibility and interdependence within a remote team.

Benefits of Using Agile Software Development

Choosing a team of professionals who are willing to comply with Agile principles is a way to take the control issue off the manager’s place — it promotes continuous feedback and encourages programmers to communicate with project stakeholders.

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of Agile offshore development.

Business owners are heard

One of the reasons why business owners are eager to introduce the agile methodology when working with a development team is the power of the model to keep managers in control. Teamwork is one of the chief principles of the agile development approach.

In Agile, project stakeholders and developers work together to create a project that goes beyond technical functionality, while meeting business objectives as well.

Here’s how implementing Agile improves a manager’s experience:

  • Regular code reviews help business owners keep track of changes.
  • Consistent meetings keep the team motivated increasing the odds of turning the project in on time.
  • Keeping in touch with the team on a daily basis gives business owners room for voicing concerns and making changes (even in later development stages) to get a final project that corresponds to the manager’s vision.

Development becomes transparent

When thousands of miles and hours of time zone difference separates the remote offshore department from the rest of the team, it’s no wonder business owners get concerned about workflow transparency.

At the end of the day, how can you make sure that your project is high on the vendor’s priority list? Agile practices offer business owners the tools needed to make sure an outsourcing vendor is motivated about allocating the best professionals and investing as much time as needed in developing a high-performing product.

Here’s how implementing offshore agile development help business owners achieve transparency when outsourcing:

  • Encourages developers to estimate their work effectively by measuring the workload in story points or other arbitrary units.
  • Keeping backlogs and meeting records gives business owners and project managers a broader view of the project’s progress.
  • Regular reviews keep the code clean and transparent, reducing future tech debt risks.

Products are of higher quality

When an offshore team builds a product beginning to end, without relying on intermediate benchmarks and testing, it’s easy to get sidetracked and create a different project than the one a manager envisioned.

On the other hand, an Agile offshore outsourcing team can come back to a square one to check whether the set of features and interfaces programmers are working on contributes to reaching business requirements. This is how managers can ensure the product is maintainable and scalable.

Schedule works like clockwork

Breaking large-scale goals into smaller, easy-to-accomplish tasks is one of the fundamentals of the Agile methodology. A dissection of the project provides outsourcing teams with a way to estimate the amount of time and budget needed to complete each stage of software development precisely.

Since agile development with an offshore team is collaboration-friendly, it helps ensure that all parties are involved in the planning and estimation process. If a development team plans deliveries out on its own, it’s much easier to endlessly delay the project completion. On the contrary, however, if business owners and managers are involved as well, the risk of low project precision can be greatly reduced.

Changes can be introduced on the go

When hiring an outsourcing team to build a software project, business owners could be worried that developers use outdated practices and don’t follow trends. The good news is, introducing Agile to the collaboration with a dedicated team is a powerful way to bring about change.

Agile keeps the outsourced team flexible through regular iterations, which makes it easier to discover room for improvement, and fosters constant testing.

If a set of practices developers chose for a project is inefficient, sooner or later, it will become apparent through continuous tests. By replacing outdated methods with modern development trends, the Agile team will be able to release a scalable and easy-to-use product.

Deliveries are more frequent

The focus on intermediary goals really sets Agile apart from other project management practices. Instead of building the entire project and delivering it to the client once complete, Agile outsourcing teams share updates throughout the entire development timeline.

The principle of continuous delivery is effective for several reasons:

  • Reducing a manager’s anxiety — you will have a clear idea of what the team is working on in a given period of time.
  • Promoting proactivity — it is harder for developers to procrastinate on projects once continuous delivery is introduced.
  • Building a connection between technical and business departments. Through Agile outsourcing, a manager can ensure that the application is oriented at meeting business objectives from the day one of partnership.

Challenges of Agile Offshore Development

Although Agile is one of the most goal-driven and transparent methodologies out there, business owners eventually discover that implementing its principles isn’t a straightforward task.

Here’s the rundown of main issues managers and business owners face during Agile implementation for offshore outsourcing.

Flexibility

Connecting offshore development with agile means offering a new technology to a team who used to work differently for years. The main problem is that you will not be building your team from the ground up. Instead, you will attempt to introduce a set of new practices to a team who may have worked differently for years.

While project managers might agree to implementing Agile fairly easily, the full weight of change falls on developers’ shoulders — not all are happy to carry it. Some programmers might be against the practice of continuous delivery, show up to meetings reluctantly, and slack off on documentation.

Solution: show benefits and facilitate training. When introducing Agile to outsourcing vendors, other than discussing the process with project managers, schedule a meeting with the development team and explain the benefits of Agile to them.

A business owner should remember that Agile can’t be expected to set up quickly.

Getting used to such an impactful methodology takes some time — managers need to be ready to provide the time and resources necessary to get the development team up to speed.

No sense of connection between client and offshore team

Agile projects are built on the backbone of constant interactions and collaboration. Naturally, these practices are not easy to implement when the teams involved in the project are miles and time zones apart.

In such a predicament, both business owners and outsourcing companies eventually grow tired of meetings, start deviating from a previously discussed schedule until the implementation of Agile stalls.

Solution: regular visits to the vendor’s location help build a strong relationship between the offshore team and in-house departments. There are several ways for business owners to set this up — they can either fly back and forth personally to keep tabs on the project or appoint a partner from the local team to work directly with the outsourcing team.

There are several benefits both of these practices offer:

  • Build a strong connection between the main team and the outsourcer.
  • Provide the vendor with business context and facilitate reaching business objectives.
  • Give business owners a clear view of the development process and make crises on the vendor’s behalf easier to mitigate.
  • Encourage the outsourcing team to be proactive and prioritize the project.

Poor communication

Another reason why agile offshore software development struggles to succeed is the lack of a well-defined, efficient communication strategy. In some cases, business owners are completely cut off from software developers and only communicate with project managers.

Thus, it’s next to impossible to understand how the project is progressing and whether the team is passionate about it.

Solution: reassess communication channels. Chances are, your communication with the outsourcer stalls because of ineffective ways chosen to handle it. Here are some tips to proactively reassess the communication strategy between two teams:

  • Use one communication tool for all discussions to make sure important information isn’t dispersed between several platforms.
  • Use project management software to track the completion timeline. Asana, Trello, or Jira are a few popular tools top-notch teams use to keep tabs on their projects.

Invest in soft skills training. It’s no secret that a tech professional is rarely skilled communicators. Learning how to translate tech concepts to business language will take time and training — make sure you offer both to improve communication efficiency.

Low team productivity

When praising the productivity of offshore outsourcing, most business owners discuss short-term projects. However, when it comes to long-term offshore software development with agile, both researchers and managers agree on the fact that offshore teams tend to lose their starting efficiency and, in some cases, lag behind the in-house team.

Solution: gear the team up with the right digital resources. The plateau in your team’s productivity might have a lot to do with the fact that developers don’t understand how their work fits into the bigger picture of your company’s success. Here’s how you can keep the team motivated:

  • Use project management tools for task tracking.
  • Suggest a reward system to the project manager that would track and offer bonuses to productive employees.
  • Invest in digital resources — make sure that the team working on the project doesn’t

Agile burnout

Working in a fast-paced environment is one of Agile’s poster characteristics. While they help build projects efficiently, the practices of continuous delivery are taxing on tech talent. After months of fast-paced work, teams eventually come to experience agile burnout — a dramatic reduction in productivity and workplace motivation.

Solution: hire a scrum-master. As a business owner, you have a lot of tasks to handle and departments to manage — there’s no time to watch out for burnout red flags within the dedicated team. That’s why it’s better to onboard a professional scrum manager who will make sure that the workload and the stress levels of the tech team are manageable.

Final Thoughts

Agile is one of the most popular and efficient project management methodologies. As business owners introduce it to outsourcing, challenges might show up along the way but the fundamentals stay constant — through constant collaboration, continuous delivery, and readiness to change your vendor will be able to create top-tier products.

If you are considering hiring an Agile outsourcing team, it’s better to find vendors who have already established the Agile infrastructure. At Fayrix, we have all the needed resources and expertise to handle software development in an agile manner.

To make sure that our tech team and a client share a strong bond, we oversee communication, run regular code reviews, and regularly update stakeholders on development progress. To bring your project to life with a skilled team of Agile tech professionals, leave us a message!

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