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Outsourcing Agile Development – Make it work!

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The web has changed over the past few years – the amount of things we can now do online, as well as the way we construct our day-to-day lives around the web and communication, has meant that different software development techniques in the digital sphere have risen to prominence in recent years.

Let’s explore a blend of two different types of development techniques – Outsourcing along with Agile Development

Where does outsourcing agile development fit in for me?

A distributed environment, one where not all work is completed in the same space, has become commonplace within today’s businesses, and for agile development as a process to work efficiently has to be able to work well in this environment.

Fortunately, with the right lines of communication in place, distributed agile development adds a huge amount of value when outsourcing work, no matter where you are. The collaboration and relationship of a distributed team adds up a great deal – and it can fit right in to your team as long as you follow some essential guidelines on how to make distributed agile development work for you.

  • Created ‘rich’ lines of communication to counteract the relatively small amount of quality face-to-face time with distributed work
  • Create frequent deliverables within a distributed agile environment
  • Get clear, well-written guidelines and objectives so everyone knows what to expect.

Faster and more flexible delivery

There are many key features of agile development that mean many major companies in the software development and IT industries are adopting this way of thinking.

The table below indicates some features and benefits of agile development – as well as some of the challenges that you may across in the process of making outsourcing work for your business.

Why agile development outsourcing is popular

Outsourcing any software development gives a business a wealth of options – it opens up the market to be able to choose from a wide range of amazing talent from all sectors of society in almost any part of the world.

Outsourcing also gives you the ability to monitor the quality of your development, plan and give certain tasks to others, and manage your costs by choosing from a wider workforce pool. With online working and the popularity of remote working, outsourcing agile development and finding creative working solutions to tasks means there is a lot more time for you and your business to concentrate on the bottom line.

Outsourcing Agile Development – Weighing up the Options

In order to be able to make the most of your outsourcing options, there will inevitably be a certain amount of advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few things you or your business may want to think about.

Your motives for outsourcing

You need to be clear at all stages of the process why you want to outsource work and what benefit is for you or your business. It may be a cost implication, it may be a time saving or it may be a specific person you’d like to work with who may be based remotely. You need to be sure agile development is for you and judge your outsourcing needs within this context.

The evaluation of your potential team

Agile Development is all about building trust, good working relationships and maintaiinng excellent communication throughout. It should be fairly evident from a relatively early stage if this relationship isn’t going to sustain, and it’s important to use thorough evaluation processes within your team when it comes to choosing the right outsourcing partner. For example, discuss delivery projections, costs, time differences, differences in working practises – the more information you can get the better.

Is this the best option for my business?

One excellent by-product of outsourcing agile development is that it gives you a fantastic amount of choice – choice in who you work with, flexibility with times and budgets and flexibility in the work that’s ultimately delivered. Bear in mind however that there is more than one way around a problem, and make sure you are ready for outsourcing before you commit. There are many other training, in-house development or self-learning options that could help your busines too.

Tips to Overcome Challenges

Agile product management company Version One has an excellent guide to making the most out of agile outsourcing, but here are some tips to point you in the right direction.

Manage proactively

It makes sense within an agile environment to keep a close eye on how your outsourcing partners are working. There are many ways of doing this – from sharing Google Spreadsheets to using pieces of task management software such as Trello or DropTask.

Keep good communication

It may be difficult, but keeping good communication really is key. Using Skype and task management software is the best way to do this, but avoid overusing and micro-managing. Keep a routine and schedule, so catch up once a week, for example.

Account for delay and time differences

We all want things to be done yesterday, but accounting for the unexpected, and the difficulties that come with time differences, is really important for a successful working relationship. Schedule proper phone conversations – as context can easily be lost through email.

Conclusion

There may be certain precautions you need to take, but despite this, if you are willing to commit to an agile process and retain excellent communication throughout you will find outsourcing as one of the best working model and reap substantial benefits out of it.

We’ve seen through the course of this post that there are a certain amount of relationship, development and communication challenges to overcome, but making sure you use trusted project managers from a respected outsourcing agile development firm is one excellent way of making sure everything runs smoothly.

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