Summary: Many software companies utilize some form of an agile development methodology. But, you may be wondering if it's truly possible to retain agility while outsourcing software development. Read this guide to learn how to stay flexible and agile while outsourcing.
What Is Agile Development Methodology?
Agile methodology is an increasingly common organizational, developmental, and customer service model. The method organizes around four key values. These values increase the speed and efficiency of software development and cut unnecessary waste.
The Four Values of Agile
The Agile Manifesto
lays out the four values conceived by software industry leaders. Kent Beck and 16 other authors determined these four values
1. Individuals and Interactions Over Processes and Tools
This means interactions and communication with your software development team takes precedence. An open line of communication allows for flexibility in the development process when new needs arise.
2. Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation
Non-agile development often gets bogged down with extensive documentation. This value streamlines documentation in favor of working software. Agile development does not end documentation. It simply places a higher priority on user stories to help developers build new tools.
3. Customer Collaboration Over Contract Negotiation
Traditional waterfall development has customers and developers negotiate a contract before any work. Agile development desires open collaboration. This collaboration and communication allow for flexibility during the development process. It eliminates time wasted on the project by including the customer at every step.
4. Responding to Change Over Following a Plan
The best-laid plans often go awry. Agile methodology
seeks to drop the time wasted on rigid plans. Sometimes the order of operation needs to change. Sometimes the steps of a plan need altering due to customer demands. By being fluid and accepting of change, software development can move faster.
Software Development Outsourcing
While you may keep your in-house development agile, you may notice that you have too many projects to keep up with. If this is the case, you may be considering outsourcing some development to another company to prevent your in-house development capacity from inhibiting your company growth. There are three outsourcing models
you need to know should you decide to do this. These models are offshore, onshore, and nearshore outsourcing. Offshore outsources development to a far away country, while onshore keeps the outsourced work within your home country. Nearshore outsources development to another country, but one bordering your own. Knowing the differences will help you determine the proper outsourcing method for your company.
Nearshore software development means you outsource your software development to another country bordering your own. This proximity eliminates any communication lags in your outsourced development. You can also save money on your bottom line by paying lower hourly rates to your nearshore developers. Nearshore keeps person-to-person contact achievable thanks to proximity while lowering travel costs. Essentially, it meets in the middle to give you the possible best of both other outsourcing methods.
Staff Augmentation to Maintain Agility
The best way to maintain your agility while outsourcing is a staff augmentation model
. With staff augmentation, you add talented contractors to your staff rather than outsource completely to another IT company. The main advantage of staff augmentation is it keeps all your projects in-house. Therefore, you maintain your company culture, work standards, and agile organization. Your remote consultants will engage in the same sprints, stand-ups, and retrospectives along side your permanent software development staff. Since they are contracted consultants, you can have them participate completely in the agility development culture without providing the same wages and benefits as your internal IT developers.
Outsourcing Staff Augmentation with a Nearshore Partner
Nearshore outsourcing offers the best staff augmentation model for maintaining agile development practices. If you chose to outsource your work through staff augmentation and move it to a neighboring country you can save a considerable amount of money on hourly rates. Since your nearshore consultants are so close, these contracted workers are able to participate in company culture alongside their permanent counterparts. Though they work from another country, they can run through all the sprints and stand-ups virtually. Nearshore staff augmentation also saves your company money. Due to a similar cultural style between Latin Americans and people from the states, they are much more likely to participate in discussions on what is the best tool, technology, or process during a project. This saves your organization time and money as you collaborate with your experienced IT consultants. In addition, should you need to meet person-to-person with your nearshore outsourced staff, the travel time and costs are much lower than an offshore operation. Another reason why nearshore outsourcing is the best is the larger pool of talent you can pull from. While onshore eliminates travel and/or language barriers, you may not be able to find all the talent you need to complete your projects. With nearshore staff augmentation, you open your ability to bring in many talented workers while keeping your development agile.
Outsourcing Software Development
If you use an agile development methodology, you want to make sure you keep all four values when outsourcing software development. You've built your business using them, and they work. Maintaining flexibility and customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance. Though each method has its advantages, nearshore outsourcing offers the best of both worlds. If you don't want to outsource completely, staff augmentation through nearshore may be what's best for you.
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