15 golden rules to succeed in your offshore IT project

Updated IT News

You wish to entrust the computer development of your application to an offshore company where you want to go. The purpose of this article is to give you some ideas to get started in this multi-cultural adventure. 

These rules apply to any type of provider, whether international, large or small.

Start on a solid foundation

1. Choose the right outsourcing mode

If your project is very precise, punctual, with specifications that will not change, a fixed price service would be very suitable. This will allow you to have a strong commitment for a fixed price.

However, in the case of a project that evolves over time, a package becomes binding. Indeed any change, even minimal, obliges all parties to review deadlines and price. This administrative overhead takes a lot of time and is expensive (a fixed price project involves higher costs).

If you wish to have more agility in your project , setting up a dedicated team with a time billing  is by far the best option for getting started offshore compared to package mode. You benefit from low cost days, with all the support and technical expertise of your provider to launch and manage your project. In addition, this allows you to set up working principles with the service provider that incorporate your company’s procedures..

2. Establish the exact scope of the project

In the beginning, you must entrust your subcontractor with specifications or backlog accurate. The scope of the project must be clearly defined. If you do not have the opportunity to do so, you must be able to express your need to allow the outsourcing company to write the specifications.

3. Detail your business and your goal as much as possible

Your contact may not be as knowledgeable as you in the market or business. Take the time to train your provider to understand your issues. Set together the goals you set for yourself. Beyond the code, it is important that it understands the interest of your application to be force of proposal on the technical-functional choices.

4. Apply methods

Distance changes the way you work. Set up methods to apply to both your internal team and both offshore team , do not make a half-measure. Very good working methods can also be proposed by your provider.

5. Define the responsibilities of each actor

Detail for all project stakeholders: Who does what? Who is responsible for this part?

Scrum is an empirical method based on predictability and risk control. She defines 3 roles:

  • The Product Owner : Responsible for customer requirements, plans the content of development sprints and provides detailed specifications to the customer team.
  • The Scrum Master : Guarantor of the good achievement of the objectives, makes apply within the team the values of Scrum and facilitates inter-stakeholder collaboration.
  • The development team : Delivers the prioritized functions at each end of the development sprint.

Depending on the size of the projects, a RACI matrix can be interesting as well.

The accountability of each actor is even more essential if you decide to subcontract only part of the realization of your software. For example, you keep the central part of the developments and only sub-contract the peripheral part.

6. Visit your provider in his country

As far as possible, before starting your project, go meet your provider and your future team. Get to know , there’s nothing more effective to build mutual trust and start your relationship on solid ground.

So you can ensure the quality of the infrastructure and people of your provider.

Define project steps, tests, recipes, and more. Talk about the famous Project Plan , just as you would with your provider in France. This is an opportunity to explain in detail your project, so they understand what you expect.

7. Get 100% involved in your project

Beyond skills, you’ll have to dedicate time to your provider. The success of your computer project, outsourced or not, is clearly linked to the quality of the exchanges between all the actors, as we will see below. Take the time to integrate and follow the project at your IT partner .

Communicate! A project feeds on communication

8. Adopt a common vocabulary

Define the common vocabulary  that you will use together throughout the project: for example, what is the notion of  “finished” ? For example, for a developer, the functionality is finished when it is ready to be functionally tested. For a manager it is when the function is deployed in production. And for the manager, it’s when the service is operational with its customers.

 9. A “yes” that means “no”

An offshore developer can be afraid to say no , so he will ask new questions to better understand. Know how to detect the hidden side and answer the question in detail until you are sure that he has understood your request and that you are both on the same wavelength.

10. Speak with an English speaking team

If you work with an English speaking provider, you will practice English. The goal is to make you understand both written and spoken, you do not need more.

Au Vietnam , India, China … a basic level of English is required wherever it is still the usual language of business. Just as we have a “French” accent when we speak English, English, Indian or Vietnamese, to name a few, also have their own accent.

But the advantage is that we all practice English as second official language, which facilitates communication. 

Before each meeting, remember to send your documents in advance, they will study them before your call.

 11. Follow the development cycles well

Call your technical team offshore 15 min per day minimum, as you would talk 15 minutes to your developers in the office next door, it’s the same investment.

12. Master the time differences

With important time offsets from 5am to 6am, get organized and set up a simple routine

  • If your provider’s time zone is GMT + 5 , plan all your calls in the morning in France.
  • If your provider’s time zone is GMT – 5 , plan your calls in the afternoon.

This leaves you a time slot of 3 hours a day  to talk with your teams, which is more than enough.

13. Chase prejudices

Do not leave with prejudices of superiority (which is probably often the case in Europe), and trust the provider you have chosen.

Your subcontractor will be wary of you if you show extreme mistrust.

14. Say yes to trust and give the power

As you would when hiring a new employee, first make sure you are technical and respectful good practices related to your work habits. It is quite normal that this is not perfect at the first delivery. It is however essential that you remount the points to correct and that this is taken into account during the next deliveries. Trust will build over time and you will be able to give more responsibility to your offshore team.

15. Be open minded

Stay open minded and take into account the cultural barrier and that of language. Offshore outsourcing is a very rewarding experience. Avoid saying “This is how we do in France” but rather “What do you think of this practice?”.

Trust it, but do not forget to formalize in writing (via emails for example) what concerns a procedure, a commitment or a method of work.

Small anthology of what not to do

  • Do not pay attention to the legal framework  governing your project: do not engage with an opaque company about its services and its operation. Opt instead for a company with a head office in France.
  • Think offshore outsourcing is only for large groups and not for small and medium businesses.
  • Use offshore to overcome a lack of internal organization.

Think that the country is not up to achieving your project: some countries (India, Madagascar, Vietnam, etc) are certainly less developed than France, but they are heterogeneous and have new centers and universities.

For summary

offshore outsourcing opens everyone’s doors the possibilities, it gives you all the necessary latitude to carry out your IT projects. Competitive pricing , flexibility, time saving, or skills shortage are multiple reasons why companies are using this growing mode of production.

Outsourcing is a strategic choice because it is part of a long-term partnership approach with your service provider . 

Bocasay offers offshore outsourcing services in a French legal framework . It’s a very positive and rewarding adventure that many of our clients have benefited from, discovering their achievements. 

They realized their IT projects with us: Eurovet, My Little Paris, Autodistribution, Ecomundo, Hopital Foch, etc.

Would you like to discuss it? You have an offshore experience to share, call us or send us a message We will be happy to exchange with you.

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