Considering IT Outsourcing? 12 Questions To Ask Any Offshore Software Development Company

offshore software developmentYour company is growing by leaps and bounds, but you may notice that the resources available are limited. Especially when it comes to development talent. In the United States, there is a shortage of software developers. To help deal with this problem, many experts suggest companies be flexible with their hiring and look towards alternative solutions such as offshore software development.

What is Offshore Software Development?

Offshore custom software development, or offshore custom software engineering, is the process of looking overseas for talent to help with information technology, project design, engineering, coding and other areas of expertise. Offshore software development provide a cost-efficient solution for the developer shortage American companies face.

There are three basic ways to use offshore developers:

  1. “Project based” outsourcing involves hiring remote teams to complete certain modules or some part of the programming before finishing as a collaboration.
  2. Companies can also remotely hire entire teams of developers led by a project manager who checks the code as it delivered between parties. These teams can be as small or as large as the project needs.
  3. Some software companies create and implement a product then outsource the complete IT application programming and maintenance to an offshore team.

What you’re planning to use offshore developers for will determine the questions you will want to ask them. We’ve listed 12 questions below that we feel you should ask any offshore software developer regardless of your business plans.

12 Questions to Ask Any Offshore Software Development Company

  1. If you think your company can benefit from offshore development, be sure to ask the following questions when searching for a reliable company to help with talent recruitment.
  2. How do you find and hire developers?
  3. Where are developers located?
  4. How will your offshore developers help our company save time and money on software development?
  5. Can developers communicate effectively using email and online chat during a specific time window every day?
  6. Are developers fluent in English? Are they comfortable with the American dialect and its nuances?
  7. How do developers complete their software development process? How do your developers test applications and document each bug they find?
  8. Do the developers have experience completing projects similar to the one being proposed? If so, please provide examples. If not, what qualifications do these developers have that make them proper candidates or hire?
  9. Will the same developers initially assigned to the project be on the team for the duration of the development effort?
  10. Who receives the source code and related materials and eventually owns the completed project?
  11. What methods of development problem solving do your developers utilize? Are they familiar with agile development methodology?
  12. What makes your offshore software development company unique compared to others?

Use these questions to determine if the offshore software developers are going to be a good fit.

If you are wanting software developers to be client facing then they should be fluent in English. They should also be comfortable with American dialect. If you are looking for offshore software developers that use a certain coding method or are well versed in agile methodology, be sure to ask for developers with that kind of experience. By asking questions and getting as many answers prior to hiring, you will avoid issues down the road. This will lead to a healthier relationship with your offshore development team and an improved work flow in your office.

At Number8, we help companies create software products with the help of offshore development. If you questions about our consulting process and why we are the right offshore software development company for your team to work with, then give us a call at (502) 890-7665 today!

Northern California Companies Save Time & Money Augmenting Software Teams With Nearshore Tech Talent

software teamsThe outlook for the California economy going into the future is looking bright. Job growth is up and much of it has to do with the booming tech hubs in Northern California. People are branching out on their own to realize their visions and disrupt industries. To help with augmenting software teams, startups typically looked towards Asian countries like India or The Philippines to find deveopers. However, the myriad of issues with offshore talent has some business leaders looking toward another solution: nearshore development.

Nearshore development combines the cost-efficiency of outsourcing with the unique benefits of working with talent nearer to the home office. Your company ends up saving both time and money so you can get your product on the market.

Saving Time with Augmenting Software Teams

Time is money, right? So why would you waste that time working with a software development team on a completely different schedule?

The farther your developers are, the greater the differences in time zone, language, and culture. You’ll find that these differentials can severely affect your project. Nearshore outsourcing talent in areas like Latin America helps bridge this gap. They are on a similar–if not the same– schedule as the home office team. They also have more similar, new world cultures and learn American English. Because of this, cooperation between in-house workers and nearshore developers is better. Goals are better understood and communication is easier.

Saving Money on Augmenting Software Teams

It may seem counter intuitive that nearshore outsourcing your augmenting software teams will save you money. After all, if you look at offshore outsourcing, the sticker price is generally lower. However, when you invest a little more up front in skilled talent, you save more money in the long run. Much of this has to do with saving time (see above). However, you will also save money on development costs as the high tier talent found with nearshoring can produce a more comprehensive product that requires less maintenance with agile software development.

At Number8, we help companies in Northern California and beyond find quality talent for augmenting software teams. Our nearshore developers understand agile software development so you can produce a better product and reach your company’s goals. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page here!

Explaining the Agile Process and the Transition to an Agile Scrum Environment

agile scrumMaking the move from waterfall to an agile scrum development environment can be a big move, but for many software teams, it’s definitely worth the transition. When you work in an environment that utilizes the scrum methodology, it’s likely this organization values open communication, collaboration and efficiency.

While we’ve already explored the basics of agile scrum in previous blog posts, we haven’t delved into the actual format of agile scrum meetings. Depending on team preferences and styles, these meetings typically take on different forms and timelines, but they all include certain characteristics of the scrum methodology.

First let’s meet the “typical” agile scrum team. These are the actual people involved and engaged throughout this process. It all begins with the “Product Owner” and his or her vision for the project. Next we have the “Scrum Development Team.” This group of cross-functional members works together in a self-organizing, collective atmosphere. The “Scrum Master” is more of the team manager, providing an important type of leadershipo inside the group. The job of the Scrum Master revolves around facilitating and resolving any issues experienced throughout the entire product development process.

The Agile Process and Different Types of Agile Scrum Meetings

Now that we’ve provided a basic understanding of the team and scrum qualities, it is time to move on to the actual agile scrum process. Agile software development is often described as an incremental development process. This process becomes more of a cycle in terms of movement. If there is an issue or a setback, the process might move backward to resolve such issues. This cyclical process allows the project to easily continue forward as well. This is where the agility of this method becomes vital. But for more of a visual, the scrum process begins with the sprint planning meeting and proceeds from there. Here is an overview of the different types of scrum meetings:

Sprint Planning Meeting:

This meeting begins with the Product Owner. This is where he or she explains her vision for the project as well as ways for the team to meet this goal. During this meeting, team members decide the amount of work they can complete in a timely manner. This is also when the team moves work from the Product Backlog to the Sprint Backlog. This step requires a lot of planning and usually this takes around 8 hours for the group to decide on a finalized 30-day Sprint.

Daily Scrum and Sprint Execution:

From the planning meeting, we move into the daily scrum meetings. Every single day for about 30 minutes, the team gathers together to report any issues or progress on their tasks. Though brief, this meeting is an essential part of the scrum process. It is designed to keep all group members on track in a cohesive manner. Normally the Product Owner is present during all daily scrum meetings to assist in any way.

Sprint Review Meeting:

This meeting is used to showcase a live demonstration of the work completed. During the sprint review meeting the Product Owner, Scrum Master and stakeholders are present. They review the product and suggest changes or improvements.

Sprint Retrospective Meeting:

This meeting is held to facilitate a team’s reflection on their progress. The team speaks openly about their organizational concerns and teamwork. During this meeting, dialogue should remain friendly, non-judgmental and impartial. This review session is a key part of team building and development and it’s also very important for future scrum projects.

Backlog Refinement Meeting:

The last type of scrum meeting reviewed in this article is the backlog refinement meeting. Team members focus on the quality and skill work involved during sprints. This meeting is necessary for the business owners to connect with the development team and is used to assess the quality and development of the final product. This meeting involves important reflection on the team backlogs. These backlogs are often written in User Story form and specify what makes the product useful to the consumer.

Scrum meetings involve so much more than the brief descriptions provided above. There are many additional pieces to the scrum process including things like burndown charts and scaling, but the point of this post is to provide an overview of different kinds of scrum meetings. Regardless of the type, all scrum meetings encourage organization, progress and resolutions. With this incremental and cyclical software development process, all members have the ability to communicate openly and honestly. With the process of scrum and the sprint timeline, projects are more efficiently completed with the help of a capable and cooperative team and Product Owner led by a skillful Scrum Master.

Whether you are already using an agile approach to software development, or are considering transitioning towards a more agile methodology, the senior level agile developers at Number8 can help you make the shift. For additional details about working with a Number8 software developer, give us a call or contact us via email.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring Offshore Software Developers

offshore software developersExpanding your dev team to include offshore software developers?

Don’t make these common mistakes.

There are so many advantages to outsourcing your software development to offshore software developers. Managers are able to find highly qualified professionals to fill in the gaps where they need while keeping development costs down. Project managers are then allowed to focus on their core competence rather than spending unnecessary time going over development details.

When hiring offshore software developers, many companies make the same mistakes. These errors contribute to both loss of time as well as money. Figuring out these common mistakes ahead of time can help you, as a project manager, to avoid these losses and keep your work on track.

Have a Clear Project Vision

When talking with offshore software developers, you need to have your project goals lined up and thoroughly explained so the prospective hires can demonstrate their competencies when it comes to completing their tasks. Let them know–as best you are allowed– the project’s intricacies you plan on accomplishing as well as the end goal. Make sure they understand both aspects and feel comfortable asking questions up front so you can avoid any troubles.

Problems with Communication

Communication is crucial when it comes to offshore developers– many a project has fallen through because of lack of communication. Pay attention to potential developers’ respond time, communications channels, and how well they receive and execute directions. Hiring developers that are initially patchy with communication will only cause you bigger problems down the road.

Mismatched Cultures

When it comes to hiring offshore, there is always the problem of discrepancies between your culture and that of your developers’. Communication is so much much than simply knowing the same language. There are idioms, gestures, customs, and behavior norms that can get in the way. One way to help prevent this is by hiring nearshore developers. Nearshore developers are located in countries close to your own; for instance, a project manager in the United States may hire nearshore developers in San Jose, Costa Rica. The cultures share more similarities and there are fewer chances for discrepancy.

Recently, we wrote a blog that outlined the various types of outsourcing. We went into quite a bit of detail as to why we, at Number8, choose to outsource nearshore software developers instead of onshore or offshore. However, that is not the best practice for every company. For companies that do opt to hire offshore developers instead of onshore or nearshore, it should help to avoid the common mistakes outlined above.

At Number8, we help companies connect with the best offshore software developers in countries like Costa Rica and Honduras. We believe hiring nearshore developers helps prevent a lot of the common problems managers come by when building their offshore development team. f you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page here!

Why Nearshore Outsourcing Will Be The Next Hub For US Companies Software Development Services

nearshore outsourcingOutsourcing Software Development Services

In the United States, the Information Technology (IT) and Software Development sectors have been bridging the gap between company growth and lack of manpower using outsourcing. Outsourcing sends work to technology professionals who are not employed in-house by the company. However, they are capable of completing the tasks at hand and often have freelancing rates that they then charge the company whose services they completed. There are three kinds of outsourcing:

  • Onshore outsourcing – using a software development provider located in your own country. In the United States, this often works by using a firm in another state. For instance, a company located in Silicon Valley may outsource some customer service workers in Texas.
  • Nearshore outsourcing – finding a firm to fulfill IT or software development needs in another country, however one that is only a relatively short distance away so the time zones are comparable. In the United States, many companies outsource to agencies located in Central America.
  • Offshore outsourcing – using programmers and IT managed overseas in a different time zone on the other side of the world. IT work is very affordable in Asian countries such as India and China.

Nearshore outsourcing and software development combines the benefits of onshore with the cost-effectiveness of offshore. Reducing the physical distance between the teams allows for more effective communication and less of a cultural barrier. In return, there are less delays in projects and teams are able to work during the same hours, meaning less monetary loss for the company.

Nearshore Outsourcing as a Hub

A technology hub doesn’t have a neat definition, but Marketplace Tech’s Ben Johnson makes a pretty compelling argument that a hub should have four things:

  1. Government support
  2. Homegrown talent
  3. Venture Capital
  4. Culture

For comparison purposes, we are going to use San Jose, Costa Rica (where one of our nearshore offices is located). The headlines speak for themselves…

Government support? 

Mayor of San José, Costa Rica Promotes the Creation of a Hi-Tech City

Home-grown talent?  

Women’s Hackathon takes place in San José

Venture Capital?

A dozen founders and funders to watch in Central America and the Caribbean

Culture?

San Jose Pursuing Dream Of Being Friendlier, More Modern City

Costa Rica is one location that proves nearshore outsourcing is not only beneficial to tech companies in the United States. Thanks to the nearshore outsourcing opportunities that are flowing into the country, the country itself is able to grow and thrive. All-in-all nearshore outsourcing has all of the benefits of hiring in-house employees and outsourcing work to freelance workers. Plus, it helps the economies of not one, but two countries grow simultaneously.

At Number 8, we believe in the up-and-coming tech hubs that benefit from nearshore developing. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page here!