Managing Challenges in Offshore Product Development

The world has matured into a global village where people from diverse backgrounds, geographies & demographics collaborate with each other to benefit from mutual expertise. This process brings professionalism to the procedures, people and products. It reduces cost, time and brings operational excellence with optimum quality. Product development is one of those streams which has largely benefited from the effects of globalization.

As businesses- big or small are scaling, they face a slew of challenges in their territory or area of business that may hinder their growth or may distract them from their core area of expertise thereby preventing them from harnessing opportunities. Therefore, most IT companies or businesses having diverse commercial interests leverage offshore product development service from their partners sitting in different time zones.

While a reliable and knowledgeable business partner can immensely benefit your software development by cutting cost, time to market, bringing latest technological know-hows and diverting your focus on core business interest, similarly an unprofessional partner can run havoc to your plans of launching a new product or service to your audience by introducing slow turn-around time, delivering buggy product, poor infrastructure and limited knowledge.

Since, the dotcom burst of 2000 and added risks surfacing from financial crunch of 2007-08, most companies are riding on offshore product development services from a reliable partner siting in less inflated markets to realize their myriad goals but the key challenge plaguing organizations- how to manage their offshore product development?

Though, offshore software development is no less than a boon for organizations having limited resources and stringent deadlines, it?s the choice of a reliable service partner that defines your actual success, following are few key traits to ensure a smooth ride:

 

Key pointers to identify an authentic partner to mitigate challenges

1.Domain Knowledge😕 Technical depth, history, adoption of latest technology along with the ability for backward integration defines domain knowledge. Usually, firms who are flexible in thinking and the ones who adopt latest technology with the blend of solid foundation are the ones who can identify bugs on time and deliver the value they promise to their clients.

2.Safeguarding Intellectual Rights: Product development is a whole time investment that entails investment of time, money and your key idea. A successful partnership secures your intellectual rights over the product and a reliable partner adheres to all copyright standards.
At some popular outsourcing locations namely India, offshore product development companies do not keep the intellectual rights of the products to them as some of them are bound by the contract to keep critical product information and rights exclusively to their clients. This binds them legally to refrain from leaking out critical information and keep the product immune from the competition.
3.Infrastructure & Experience: A successful offshore software development service provider has a pool of knowledgeable engineering team & management people who have the experience into managing projects of high scale.
It has been witnessed that normally the workforce working with a software development service partner is quite knowledgeable having diverse experience and skill-set into carrying out outsourced projects of high scale with limited resources. This provides them the expertise to understand the expectations of the client and fulfill them on time. Due to these pressures, firms usually hire best talent having superior technical skills.

workforce

4.Long term Engagement: Product development is a long time affair, contains numerous stages and phases that are required to be managed equally therefore, a partner must have a mature process and a competent management that regularly communicates progress and have sound relationship management that practices transparency.
5.Competitive Advantage: There are numerous offshore software development service providers out there in the market, sometimes it becomes highly complex to separate hay from the wheat therefore, a reliable partner would give you a certain competitive advantage that no other service provider can deliver.
6.Cultural Match: Every company is unique in its culture though products or service may look similar. When cultures have a common ground, it often leads to less confusion more collaboration and your confidence as a business in your partnership would automatically strengthen.
7.Communication Barrier: Once you have zeroed upon a reliable partner, it becomes almost a default practice to communicate frequently with the company you have hired.It has been seen from time to time, due to barriers like cultural differences, timezone gap and language roadblock; partners are almost caught in no man?s land, they have the desire to communicate, put forward their doubts and important queries but communications isn?t just possible due to above highlighted differences.
To arrest this roadblock, it is imperative to depute few managers or a small professional engineering team to your client?s location. This works as a dual remedy. It will solve the issue of language barrier, as the team would be well versed with the local language & culture of your partner and they will be able to address all the doubts head on and clear them on client?s face and you have somebody to put forward any doubt, this would increase collaboration, trust and foster understanding and mutual respect which is an integral part of any team working in diverse time-zones, under diverse languages and cultures.
8.Software Development Approach:Development approach of your partner is of utmost importance. A typical Waterfall model contains an idea followed by an analysis of the problem, design, code, test, iterate and implementation. From the onset it looks a perfect model directly exported from a book of structured thinking but it has a major flaw. The bugs are not detected initially which directly impacts delivery time, client satisfaction, security leak and overhead running costs. The recipe looks perfect for disaster. Moreover, the efforts that go into developing a product is almost wasted and in some cases the whole module code is required to be rechecked or rewritten so, it discourages a business, its objective, a vision and importantly pisses the end consumer. But, where is the answer?

The answer resides into a new age development model called Agile Software Development- Scrum, Kanban etc.

  • First thing first, Agile Methodology never treats every stage of development as a discreet process, rather, it assumes them as continuous.
  • Cash strapped organizations generally lack cost bandwidth to pay for changes that may arise during or at the end of development phase. Agile, powers these businesses by enabling them to make changes without interference of the service provider thus, the project generally doesn?t suffer from cost overheads.
  • Moreover, the risk of getting feedback quite late during the penultimate stage of the project decreases drastically.
  • Also, the quality of the product goes-up many folds due to rise in testing and iteration at every stage.

Where India stands as Offshore Software Development Partner?

  • According to the latest Nascomm report, Global sourcing market grew by 9-10% with nearly 2X rise in global IT spend.
  • India is still the world?s darling offshore destination with 55% market share.
  • India saw approximately 49% delivery centres and 45% rise in delivery centres in Tier-II cities.

Source:?http://www.nasscom.in/global-sourcing

Conclusion
Thus, offshore product development?s success lies in finding a reliable match/ partner and weighing them on knowledge, cultural fitness and prior experience of executing projects of scale. Once, you find a matching partner- managing strategic, technological and operational challenges become far easier and convenient; though its merit will be felt in long run.
We would love to know about your opinion on offshore product development. How did you manage challenges, lets discuss under comments!:)

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