by Steve Mezak.
The good news — you’ve found a software development team that you’re comfortable with and work well alongside. They fit so well into your company’s culture, you even begin to view them as you would any internal employee. While this is all well and good, it’s not to say that you won’t run into challenges along the way — from day-to-day communication gaps to even uncertainties in tracking of overall progress. Certainly no relationship is perfect, but it falls within your job description as the project manager or product owner to ensure outsourced projects stay on track and more importantly — within budget.
The following list of management tips and tricks of the trade should be put in place to help keep risks down to a minimum and your outsourced relationships performing at their best.
Outsourcing is one scenario where it’s important to always spell out exactly what you’re looking for. Never leave anything to the imagination when it comes to working alongside an outsourcing partner, or you’ll run the risk of not receiving deliverables on time or in the format you might be expecting. Instead, when in doubt — over-communicate! Share as much information about your company, goals, procedures as possible from the very onset of working with an outsourced provider.
One way to help keep your partner on the same page is to lean on collaboration tools which can oversee several key components including software development, collaboration and project scheduling. These types of tools can even take the guess work out of logging hours and can instead help flag if projects are staying within a pre-determined budget range.
Other elements that can add more confusion to an outsourced relationship are language and time barriers. To help resolve the communication barrier, supplemental diagrams or images can be helpful. Calendar invites and project management solutions, which include every person working within a specific project, can help ensure milestones are met along the way, despite teams working across different time zones.
Simply put, the more specific you are, the more likely the odds are of you receiving exactly what you’re looking for.
Remove the Word “Vendor” from Your Vocabulary
Right up there on the chain of importance also stands being able to treat your outsourced software development team as a true partner. Sure, it might be easier to view them as a vendor and delegate work while expecting to receive timely deliverables, but the more you invest in this relationship and nurture it, the more you should expect to get out of it.