Offshore software development is a trend that is here to stay. It allows companies to outsource development talent rather than rely on in-house programmers for all development tasks. Companies can have an unlimited pool of development talent they can put to use without waiting for the right employee to apply for a position and have to go through the headaches of an in-house hiring process.
Hiring offshore developers, however, may result in workflow complications if companies do not do research ahead of time. Issues related to miscommunication and language barriers as well as time zone inconveniences may affect the workflow.
A Modular Approach to Coding
One recommendation is to allow different development teams to focus on different tasks and only those tasks until completed. One group could work on the UX or user experience while another on the actual software. Meanwhile, an offshore group could focus on QA testing, debugging and repetitive tasks such as batch processing.
Dividing work between teams and focusing on different goals during development can drive efficiency and productivity. This is because everyone is actively working on something rather than waiting for tasks to come their way.
However, it is important to have someone in a project management role that can oversee the different groups and modules of development. This individual or group can then assess the overall progress and assign tasks to different groups as they come up. Having effective communications and having metrics in place to gauge the progress of development helps.
Coordinating Different Workflows with Effective Management
The other thing worth noting about dividing the development project’s work in a modular way is the possibility to allow efficiency through specialization. You will find some teams are better at certain aspects of development over time.
Competition between teams, both remote and in-house, can be good because it fosters good productivity. However, it also can lead to development shortcircuits taking place or a communication cut-off between the teams. This is again where effective management should step in and coordinate a positive workflow despite possible language or cultural barriers.
Having scheduled meetings where progress is discussed and shared is always great when it comes to coordination between offshore and onshore teams.
Use Similar Tools Across Teams
One thing to keep in mind regarding offshore development is that teams in different regions of the world may rely on completely different tools. This may even hold true for mundane tasks like chat and syncing into online meetings.
One way to alleviate this is to make sure everyone is using the same ones right off the bat. If your in-house company relies on Google Hangouts rather than Skype or Telegram for meetings and communication, make sure all teams are onboard with Hangouts.
The same should hold true for development specializations. It is good to use a wide variety of languages for different tasks, but similar tasks should be kept with a language all the teams can understand and analyze or collaborate on later.
The gist of good offshore development and coordination with in-house teams is effective communication, management and modular form of development. A good management structure with effective communications can drive coordination. Having tools and programming languages that both teams on-site and offshore can understand can also ease the workflow when it comes to collaboration and testing.