Nearshore Software Development

outsourcing nearshore software developmentWhen it comes to choosing an outsourcing partner for a custom software development project, you may be faced with a critical decision in choosing between offshore and nearshore software developers. In order to operate as efficiently as possible, most companies look to find the best services at the best possible rates. Outsourcing software development has allowed companies to maximize production in a cost-effective manner to produce great end products.

Offshore outsourcing is a term often used to describe times when an organization outsources software development services to a company in a far-a-way location like India or China. When you outsource software development to a place like India or China you are significantly separated by time zones, language barriers and cultural differences.  When an organization outsources to an offshore location, it is not uncommon to face challenges with the time gap as well as communication and cultural differences. Perhaps not surprisingly, sometimes production costs are higher than expected due to this.

In comparison, nearshore outsourcing happens when an organization works with a software development company located in close proximity to the U.S.  This typically includes many locations in Latin America including Costa Rica.  Working with a nearshore software development firm often helps you avoid some of the barriers associated with outsourcing to far-away locations, including language and cultural gaps. Further, the close proximity offered by nearshore software firms allows for strong relationship-building and effective communication between onshore and offshore developers and product managers. Understandably, this may be conducive to a more efficient process, while also leading to an overall better end product.

Nearshore Technology Model

When it comes down to custom software development, nearshore outsourcing can provide you with many benefits. Follow along to learn the four basic concepts involved with the nearshore technology model:

  1. Flexibility – When outsourcing to a nearshore location, close proximity and working within the same or a similar time zone allows the project members to be adaptive, responsive and flexible throughout all stages of development. Stakeholder requests may change often during a development project. Nearshore team partners can adapt quickly to change requests during your normal business day.
  2. Communication – A development project relies heavily on communication between developers, product managers and other stakeholders involved. Language barriers can sometimes impose an impediment on product development. Nearshore developers located in places like Costa Rica are fluent in both English and Spanish. A strong communication line across all members of the team is a key part of producing a great product.
  3. Relationship building – Due to the convenient proximity of nearshore locations, relationship building between managers, developers and stakeholders can be achieved with greater ease. Onsite visits are more accessible to managers and stakeholders who want to have face to face meetings with nearshore developers. Strong relationship building encourages cohesion between team members, often increasing velocity, quality, and productivity.
  4. Skilled Technology Professionals – Nearshore software companies like number8 feature top technical talent in neighboring countries. Many Latin American countries are working to educate highly skilled software professionals. Employing the best developers in the software business may prove to give a company a competitive edge over rival offshore companies.

Outsourcing software development enables a company to employee highly skilled workers at an affordable rate in order to maximize efficiency during a software development project. A nearshore software firm may provide additional benefits to the more traditional offshore model. Find out more about nearshore software development by contacting number8 today.

 

Costa Rica Beaches and National Parks

Costa Rica Beaches and National ParksOne of great things about working with an offshore software development firm located close to the U.S. is the opportunity you have to visit your offshore software development team. You can fly directly to Costa Rica in just a couple of hours from the United States.  About two dozen airlines come in and out of Costa Rica daily, including American Airlines, Delta, Jet Blue, Spirit and many others.

While your trip to Costa Rica may be focused on business, chances are you might want to take a few days to enjoy the beauty of this special country. Whether you love gorgeous white sand beaches, learning about Latin American history, or hiking in a rainforest, you’ll have plenty of options when you travel to Costa Rica beaches and national parks.

Visiting Costa Rica Beaches and National Parks

Whether you only have a few hours or a few days, there is plenty of natural beauty to enjoy in Costa Rica. Here are some favorite beaches and national parks to visit during your trip to Costa Rica:

  1. Manuel Antonio – Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks and beaches in Costa Rica. Located just over 80 miles from San Jose, Manuel Antonio hosts more than 150,000 visitors a year. If you love surfing, swimming, kayaking, fishing, and hiking, then this is the destination for you.
  2. Tamarindo – Tamarindo is a popular tourist destination with a distinct beach covered in pebble-rocks. The long beach is perfect for visitors, with powerful waves attracting surfers, and excellent snorkeling and scuba diving. If you like fishing, this is the destination for you.  Mahi mahi, tuna and billfish are all popular catches in this area. Tamarindo beach is conveniently located near the 1,000+ acre Tamarindo National Wildlife Refuge.
  3. Uvita Beach – Known for warmer water that makes for excellent swimming, Uvita beach is about a 4 hour drive from San Jose, in the South Pacific Region of Costa Rica. Whether you go here to enjoy sea turtles or to catch sight of humpback whales, this white sand beach lined with palm trees is sure to impress.
  4. Playa Hermosa – If you like swimming, this palm-tree lined beach is a beautiful location. Playa Hermosa is about 3 miles outside of Jaco, located along the Central Pacific Coast.  This clean and attractive beach is a favorite for surfers and beach lovers.  It is also conveniently located less than a half an hour from Liberia’s Daniel Oduber International Airport.
  5. Rincon de La Vieja National Park – For those interested in checking out an active volcano, the Rincon de la Vieja National Park is an excellent choice. You’ll see the Santa Maria, the Cerro Von Seebach and the Rincon de la Vieja. The Rincon de la Vieja volcano last erupted in 1998. With more than 30 rivers and streams, this national park is home to more than 300 species of birds.

One of the many benefits of working with offshore software developers in Costa Rica is the opportunity to visit this special country. While traveling to Costa Rica to meet with your number8 software development team, you can also explore the country’s gorgeous national parks and beaches. Whether you enjoy hiking, surfing, kayaking and fishing, or you just prefer to relax at the beach, you’ll find plenty of places to relax and have fun during your visit to Costa Rica.

Offshore Software Developers

Video conferencing is part of best practices with offshore software developersWorking with Offshore Software Developers – 6 Best Practices

Offshore software development yields many benefits for companies looking to quickly increase capabilities while also maintaining a lean budget. Sometimes companies considering working with offshore software developers are hesitant due to concerns about how things will be working with an offshore IT team.

Given the close communication that agile software teams tend to have, it might seem especially difficult to include offshore software developers into the mix. While it is true that there may be challenges to working with team members that are not onsite, if you use some of the best practices for working with offshore software developers, you minimize the risks while maximizing the benefits.

6 Best Practices for Software Teams Working with Offshore Software Developers

Whether your product development team is located physically in the same location, or you have some team member that work off-site, there are certain best practices many companies use to help a team to function as effectively as possible. Based on our experience supporting companies working with offshore software developers, we have identified certain best practices to make the offshore software development process as smooth and easy as possible.

Depending on many different factors including project complexity, leadership, budget, time limitations, stakeholder engagement, and technical talent, each software project has its own unique challenges.  Adding physical distance between team members into the mix may seem like an added complexity, yet there are many ways to effectively address this and to even make it a positive benefit.

Whether you are thinking about working with offshore software developers, or you currently have an offshore team, here are some of the best practices we recommend to work effectively with offshore software developers:

  1. Leverage technology to maximize regular communication – Nowadays all you need is good internet access and you can have excellent communication with people around the world. Our offshore software developers regularly take advantage of various services including Skype and Google Hangouts for video conferencing, online chatting, texting, and phone calls. Recognizing the importance of daily communication in an agile environment for successful product development, and making this a priority for the team, is definitely important. Choosing a nearshore location that is in a similar U.S. time zone makes this type of frequent communication possible.
  2. Build the team to encourage bonding – Working shoulder to shoulder is one thing, but building a strong team bond with people working off-site is equally important. Regular communication is a key part of cultivating a strong team bond. It can also be beneficial to make time for some face-to-face interactions. It is not uncommon for the offshore software developers with number8 to visit their U.S. team members for special meetings or project kick-off sessions. Similarly, Costa Rica is a beautiful and convenient place to visit, offering U.S.-based product development teams an excellent opportunity to have a working vacation during a visit with offshore software developers in Costa Rica.
  3. Use clear and detailed project documentation – While clear and detailed documentation may be beneficial to most product development projects, it may be especially important when you are working with team members that are offshore or off-site. On an agile development team, it is important for everyone to understand what has been accomplished during iterations. Detailed documentation keeps everyone on the same page so that a project is completed more efficiently and effectively.
  4. Provide realistic time estimates – Providing realistic time estimates is an important facet to the successful management of any project, but it might be even more important if the members of a product development team is situated in multiple locations.  Providing accurate time estimates encourages team members to provide the highest quality work, staying focused and energized to respond quickly and creatively.
  5. Recognize all team members including offshore software developers – Regardless of whether a team member is at the main office or located somewhere offshore like Costa Rica, it is important to make the effort to offer people adequate recognition. Every team member enjoys being recognized for their accomplishments. Further, when projects are completed, it is also important to celebrate these significant team successes with everyone involved. Complimenting an offshore team member personally and publicly when they do great work is an excellent way to cultivate a stronger relationship while motivating people to do their best work.
  6. Cultivate long term business relationships – When it comes to offshore software development, number8 partners with clients who are looking for long term business engagements. While our software developers do a great job at project work, they are best suited for opportunities where they can become a long term part of an agile development team. After an offshore software developer has the chance to learn about your company’s products, style and work environment, they are better able to deliver exactly what you need. When it comes to offshore software development, best practices include long term partnerships with high quality software developers.

Offshoring IT resources including QA testing and custom software development may pose certain challenges, especially if some team members are resistant and skeptical. In order to help minimize concerns, engaging in best practices for working with offshore software developers is advisable. Overcoming distance between team members is not as difficult as it may seem once you have efficient processes in place to help your entire team function as effectively as possible.

 

 

Agile Software Methodology

agile software methodologyReasons for Implementing Change to an Agile Software Methodology

When it comes to implementing a strategic approach to a software development project, it’s possible for a company to be content with a methodology that produces a good product rather than a great product.  Familiarity and comfort may inhibit a company’s desire to approach a project with a different methodology.  Resistance is an inevitable element when it comes to implementing change, especially in the world of software development.  To understand some of the benefits of using an agile software methodology may ultimately help a company welcome the change needed to produce great custom software.

In traditional software development projects, the waterfall approach provides a team with a linear process where development stages are carried out sequentially until the end product is finished.  Only after one stage is complete, can the team move forward to the next. Fixing problems or glitches that are discovered during the final stage of the process can be both time consuming and difficult.  While the traditional waterfall approach may be the most familiar method for some software developers, implementing an agile software methodology may make it easier for a software development team to produce great end products.

Reasons for Encouraging Change to an Agile Software Methodology

When it comes to making a decision on whether or not to implement a new strategic approach to software development, there are many considerations involved. The agile software methodology has many unique aspects that make it worth considering. Follow along to learn how the agile approach to custom software can produce a great, rather than good, end product.

  1. Iterations – With the agile software methodology, developers work in short iterations commonly known as “sprints.” During these iterations, developers are able to test for glitches and have the capability to fix them before moving onto the next sprint. Debugging software along the way leads to a better final product with fewer problems.
  2. Collaboration – During an agile development project, there is close collaboration between team members, product managers, scrum masters and stakeholders. Collaboration ensures that all team members are on the same page during the project and allows the team to be flexible and adaptive to stakeholder requests.
  3. Communication – Daily meetings, often referred to as “scrums,” are pivotal to the agile software methodology. During daily meetings, the software development team discusses the product backlog and any impediments that may hinder production.  Communication between all members of this cross-functional team is highly encouraged. Daily meetings and regular communication throughout the project helps the team form a cohesive unit working towards a common goal.
  4. Efficiency – The flexible nature of the agile approach to software development facilitates efficiency in terms of both time and money. Debugging and testing at the end of iterations keeps the team from having to go back and fix unforeseen problems.  Getting the job done right the first time saves stakeholders from having to spend extra money making desired changes, which may also extend a project past the deadline.

Skepticism is natural when it comes to implementing change, especially when many members of a software development team feel content with the familiar methods used in the past.  It’s important to keep in mind though that facilitating change to an agile software methodology could take an end product from good to great. Understanding some of the benefits of an agile software methodology ultimately helps a company to evaluate the risks involved in making the change. Implementing a new software development methodology like agile could be the change your company needs to take a product to the next level of greatness.