MMA Root

Three Steps to Mitigate Risks of Offshore Development



What happens when a technical solution is too dark for employees to undertake due to lack of training, experience and time? What is the benefit when the company hires to implement the solution to introduce offshore development staff as part of the package to minimize costs?

Unless the solution is an enterprise and does not affect more than 250 users, offshore development and any delivery disadvantages may not interfere with business processes and productivity. However, enterprise solutions that may lead to a reduction in productivity, sales, service or marketing across the company and the employment of offshore teams certainly require a prevention plan. The following three steps can help prevent the latter from offshore development teams from improperly shifting business needs to correcting faulty system functionality that could cost the company more money.

1) Hire a Technical Project Manager.

An experienced technical project manager can manage the tasks of the offshore team, validate deliverables, and ensure that all technical functionality meets business requirements. It is not necessary to look for the PMP certified project manager because the focus is on technical delivery and the ability to contribute technically. This is not the person who is able to do politics, but the person who is able to manage a solution and serve as an architect when needed. This person will have weekly status meetings during the working hours of the offshore development team to ensure that their questions are answered and that they are not taking the wrong approach to solving a problem.

2) Hire independent experts for the duration of the project for checks and balances.

Hire one or two short-term independent consultants with experience in providing solutions to suit different business models. These experts can build relationships with key stakeholders and superusers to solve technical challenges and determine opportunities for business process re-engineering where business processes can be simplified. Offshore staff can complete the simple development tasks that do not reflect the basic requirements of the business. However, the independent expert should be responsible for developing complex functionality and ensuring the data integrity required to convert or exchange data from an old system to the new system. In addition, these experts will help move the “product” from offshore staff to in-house employees who will eventually have to support it after it goes live.

3) Build an on-site support team to complete development prior to production.

Train employees by paying for separate classes from the technical vendor who created the solution. If this is a custom solution in a specific programming language, make sure the staff have people who know or train them. Use the temporary independent experts to keep the staff informed for three months after the system has been produced and used by the company. The support team must also be heavily involved in understanding the business logic of the solution and should be employed to train the users on how the system can make their work day more productive.

Hiring additional resources seems to obscure the purpose of an offshore development team in saving costs. However, it is better to engage in successful methods in advance than to have a costly failure at the end that requires a full crew to return to shore to start again. Now that these three steps have been presented that guarantee the success of this model in an entrepreneurial solution, it may be overdue to consider whether offshore development is the right way to go – do the maths.

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