Does Agile Offshore Development Work?
Agile development as well as agile developers are an approach to managing software development, covering several popular incremental and iterative methodologies such as Scrum, Extreme Programming, Crystal, and Dynamic Systems Development Model. As outlined in the Agile Manifesto, agile development put in high regard the practice of fundamentally incorporating iteration and continuous feedback in order to continuously improve and deliver high-quality software systems. With businesses nowadays widening their reach into the global IT market and seeing the advantages of offshore development, it does not come as a surprise that projects are also being extended towards agile offshore development.
Pros and Cons of Agile Offshore Development
Pairing the effectiveness of agile development methodologies with the efficiency of offshore development teams is a very excellent idea, however, you have to take the time to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of such an endeavor, especially if it will greatly impact your project or that of your company.
Lower Development Costs
Working with offshore developers instead of in-house teams definitely lowers your overhead costs. Without needing to set up an actual physical space, and dealing with the work and cost that it entails, is a definite advantage in working with an offshore web development company. Tools necessary to work with offshore programmers, like Skype for communication, Google Drive for cloud storage, and other online project management tools (Trello) costs a lot less than a physical business or office setup.
Uptake in Productivity and Quality
Working with offshore development teams can lead to an increase in productivity; reduced development timelines, quicker response times, and around the clock development progress. Quality output is of the highest priority for offshore web developers, ensuring regular and focused quality assurance measures are put in place.
Diverse Pool of Developers
Choosing to work with offshore web developers directly, or going through companies offering offshore web development services, guarantees that you are provided access to a diverse pool of agile developers with a wide range of skills and experience from all over the world. Aside from varied skills and experience, you also get to experience the competitiveness of the global IT market, with a wide range of offshore developer rates and accompanying skills.
Working with people from all over the world exposes you and your company to wide range cultures, some may be very different from your own. Having differing cultural beliefs and practices can impact development projects in that it can cause miscommunication and affect the working dynamics of the team. Researching beforehand, having an open mind, and the capacity to adapt to other people, in various situations, goes a long way into addressing these issues.
Varied Time Zones
Not only will you be working with different people from different cultures, you will also be facing the issue of having to work with people from different time zones. This can be a huge development headache; setting up meetings and progress catch-up can be very trying on you and your team. However, there are a number of ways to ensure that instead of becoming an obstacle, varied time zones can be a great offshore agile project management tool.
Aside from these important pros and cons, you should also take into consideration factors affecting communication; the essential tool that can make or break an agile offshore development team. Agile software development model puts communication in high regard, specifically face-to-face communication amongst the development team.
Working with people from all over the world can be a great opportunity to take part in the global IT market, however, this approach makes communication difficult and a trial at times. Aside from the usual challenges that arise from working with in-house development teams, a lot of the cons mentioned makes collaboration and coordination a challenge. Poor communication leads to ineffective teams and failed development projects, which you would never want for your project.
Ways to Improve Your Offshore Development Team Management
So how do we combat this seemingly overwhelming hurdle? Below are just some of the practical and effective ways to ensure great working dynamics within agile offshore development teams.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Never fail to communicate with each other! Before, during, even after a project is completed. This can be done through numerous ways! Regular update and status meetings, catch-up calls, and brainstorming sessions encourage teams to synchronize, and engage in discourse on the progress, best practices, challenges, and breakthroughs that come up in the project. Activities like on-site visits and team buildings promote human relationships and reinforce the understanding and culture of a team.
Be Aware of Barriers
When you decide to work with offshore development teams, do your research! Ensure that you are cognizant of the time zones, cultural differences, and language barriers that will come up. If your working with an offshore development services company, research the company, previous projects, and, if possible, interview previous clients. This will ensure that you are prepared for any future collaboration with an offshore team, and that you can make room for these possible barriers in your development plans.
Never Fail to Plan
Just like in any other development projects, sufficient attention and effort should be allocated towards planning. Plans should encompass not only the basic details of your projects – goals, objectives, scope, budget, and timelines -, but also basic information on the agile development model that you would be applying. You should also ensure that possible barriers are researched beforehand and incorporated, or at least considered, in the plans for the project.
Make Timezones Your Friend
More often than not, differing time zones become a challenge and make working with remote developers more time-consuming and inefficient. However, if differing time zones are handled well, it can impact the project in a positive way; improving development progress and increasing product quality. Planning and awareness play an important role in making time zones a productive tool, awareness of where your team members are stationed and the time zones that they are using, and utilizing these to ensure that project development phases incorporate and work around the time zones, guaranteeing that someone in the team is working on the project or assuring product quality around the clock.
There Is No “I” In Team
Not everything that sparkles is gold, similarly, not all ideas are great in execution. Using agile methodologies have, over time, been among the most sought after and effective development approach, and the benefits of engaging in offshoring development have are highly advantageous and impactful. However, as with any venture, preparation and consideration have to be applied in order to successfully reap the great benefits of combining both. You do not have to do this alone. Numerous companies offering offshore website development services are available to shoulder most of the burden for you. Mobilunity is one such company, and will collaborate with you in building the dedicated team of the best offshore developers most suitable to your project needs!