The Team You Should Expect from Your Software Outsourcing Partner
27 Jan 2021
Having a skilled and diverse team is essential to delivering quality software. When it comes to handling complex enterprise projects, you need a partner that can cover the gamut of your development needs instead of offering a piecemeal approach that often ends in disaster. To that end, they should be able to make your life easier by becoming your single source of accountability and provide you with a team that will cater to all your software needs.
Business and Requirements Analysis Professionals
Business Analysts (BAs) or Business Systems Analysts work with you and your stakeholders to successfully elicit project requirements and define the scope. BAs must be involved at the beginning of the project, especially if the requirements aren’t crystal clear or leave any sort of room for debate. In more cases than not, having a BA weigh in on your project may mean the difference between project success and failure, yet many companies fail to realize that until it’s too late.
Requirements and Deliverables:
- Understand the client’s domain and competitive landscape along with the problems the software is trying to solve
- Engage stakeholders to understand the client’s vision, strategy, and perspectives and define high level business requirements along with the initial project scope
- Understand the functional and non-functional requirements
- Produce a Software Requirement Specification (SRS) document
- Produce a documented vision and strategy guide
- Excellent communication and negotiation skills
- A thorough understanding of the software development lifecycle and software implementation processes
- Proactivity in gathering information from stakeholders
- Outstanding planning and organizational skills
- Analytical and problem-solving mindset
Success Tip for the Client: Different outsourcing companies specialize in different project scopes. Some take on multi-year contracts with larger enterprises, while others prefer short-term engagements with smaller companies, which means that they’re not likely to have success with more complex and long-term deliverables. When selecting an outsourcing partner, ask them not only for an estimate, but also a portfolio of their projects that are similar in scope to your own. If an outsourcing company is equipped with a seasoned BA team, it’s a clear indicator that they know how to properly scope a project and give a correct estimate.
Product Design Team
Many people still think of Product Designers as graphic artists, who spruce up their applications or software. And while making the look and feel of your solutions more enticing and appealing to the users is part of their job, it’s definitely not all of it. UI/UX designers are an integral part of the team throughout the entire development process, helping you translate your user stories and business goals into seamless and functional user experiences.
Requirements and Deliverables:
- Evaluate user requirements in collaboration with the product owner and the development team
- Conceptualize and develop a UI/UX design strategy for the client
- Produce UX design solutions through storyboarding, wireframing, prototyping, and flow diagrams
- Design UI elements such a tabs, menus, search boxes, etc.
- Develop original graphic designs, such as images, sketches, graphs, and tables
- Make adjustments based on user feedback
- Adhere to style standards in terms of the brand color palette, fonts, images and other graphic elements
- Mastery of design tools such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Figma, Zeplin, etc.
- Experience with wireframing and wireframe tools, such as Adobe XD, InVision, etc.
- Strong communication skills and ability to collaborate with different stakeholders
- Portfolio of previous design projects
- Detail-oriented and customer-centered approach
Success Tip for the Client: Design should never be an afterthought – it is the central activity that ties all others together. One of the cardinal mistakes that many inexperienced product developers make is to jump head first into coding, and think about design later. If you want your project to be successful, please remember that you should always design first and code later. This is why, if you don’t have an in-house designer, you should ideally choose an outsourcing company that has its own team of design professionals.
The development team you should expect from your outsourcing partner depends entirely on the type of your project. When talking to potential outsourcing partners, many non-techie clients expect one or two people to complete their project. However, during the requirements analysis process, they are often surprised by the fact that the company proposes a team composition that is significantly greater. The reason is that technology is evolving fast, and one person cannot be expected to cover the entirety of the project development, especially when it comes to more complex solutions. Besides experienced and qualified Back-End and Front-End Engineers you also need Software architects and Tech Team Leads that will set your project up for success.
Software Architects and Technical Team Leads
Software architects essentially determine the quality and scalability of your system and lay the foundation to your success by defining the key components of your solution and how those components fit together. It’s important that you have people on your team that will make the right fundamental structural choices in your software, because, once implemented, changing them is quite costly.
*In many companies, experienced Tech Team Leads cover the functions of software architects in the cases that the company doesn’t provide a separate resource of project architecture.
Success Tip for the Client: The greater the size and complexity of your software project, the more vigilant you need to be with regards to its architecture. A well designed and thought-out architecture provides a number of benefits, not the least of which are scalability, security, performance, and maintainability. Make sure you hire an outsourcing partner that is qualified enough to build a solid foundation for your software solutions.
Having a qualified and experienced PM to oversee the entire development process is essential to the project’s success, especially when it comes to large enterprise-scale solutions. To successfully meet critical project milestones, a PM must be able to drive the team and the project, communicate with stakeholders, and resolve issues and blockers.
By acting as a liaison between the client and the development team, the PM translates project requirements into development talk and vice versa. To avoid crises, a PM is responsible for setting reasonable deadlines and project milestones, defining a clear process to the both the client and development sides, and making sure that the project doesn’t run over budget.
Requirements and Deliverables:
- Conduct regular productive project meetings (daily standups, sprint planning and review meetings, retrospectives, backlog refinement, etc.)
- Manage project cost, scope, performance, schedule, and risks
- Develop and maintain project documentation
- Effectively and proactively manage the expectations for the stakeholders and the software development team members
- Report and escalate to management, when the situation calls for it
- Demonstrated expertise in Agile development methodologies
- Strong interpersonal skills needed to lead the communication with project stakeholders and the development team
- Outstanding organizational skills, to be able to successfully execute resource planning
- Ability to monitor and control the budget of the project
Success Tip for the Client: Many newbie clients opt to avoid hiring Project Managers as part of their outsourcing team in order to cut expenses. But at what cost? The risks of not having a PM far outweigh the expenses. If your project isn’t too big, you can negotiate with your outsourcing partner to hire a PM at least on a part-time basis, to handle all pending issues and communication for your own peace of mind.
Quality Assurance Engineers
In today’s extremely competitive digital market, you need a high quality app to keep up with the ever-growing customer demands. Reputable software vendors guarantee a high-quality application and bug-free code. How do they do that? The answer is testing and Quality Assurance.
You may wonder why you need a separate person to ensure quality. If the developers and good enough, shouldn’t they perform their own testing and produce error-free code? Yes and no, depending on what you need and what you prioritize.
There are development teams that perform their own automated code-based tests and do unit testing. When developer testing is managed well, and your application isn’t too complicated, there should be no issues with this approach and you won’t need a separate QA Engineer. However, this process is quite time-consuming – time that could otherwise be spent on developing new features. Also, in large enterprise projects, when developers work on a particular feature or section of the application, it can be difficult to understand how that one feature is supposed to perform within the entire application. Nowadays, QA Engineers also heavily focus on security testing, which is often beyond the scope of developer-testing. Moreover, developers often tend to estimate their code and bypass testing, which, naturally, results in a buggy delivery.
Requirements and Deliverables:
- Review software requirements and specifications to provide meaningful feedback
- Create tests to identify issues in the software
- Analyze the bugs and errors found during the testing process
- Document test results
- Recommend improvements to enhance user experience
- Work together with the development team to enhance and improve the applications
- Proven experience in software development testing
- Strong knowledge of QA tools, methodologies, and processes
- Experience in writing clear and comprehensive test plans and test cases
- Experience working in an Agile development environment
Success Tip for the Client: Quality Assurance doesn’t just save you time and money by detecting and fixing errors on time – it ensures your good standing and business reputation. There have been many cases when seemingly minor bugs and issues have caused companies significant losses and resulted in blows to their reputation. Don’t let this happen to you by underestimating the value of a QA Engineer in your project.
DevOps is an approach that bridges the gap between software development and IT operations. It essentially extends the Agile approach into the entire software development lifecycle by enabling the continuous building and deployment of an application’s new features and services.
A DevOps team is essential to enterprise applications, because it reduces time to market, speeds up innovation and application reliability, and increases efficiency in development.
Requirements and Deliverables:
- Deploy updates and fixes
- Provide technical support
- Identify production issues and implement integrations per customer needs
- Build tools that reduce errors and improve customer experience
- Perform root cause analysis for production errors
- Design procedures for systems troubleshooting and maintenance
- Experience developing large-scale applications
- Strong project development and leadership skills
- Current and thorough understanding of best practices in security measures
- Experience and understand of working with various operating systems and their implications
- Experiences working with cross-functional teams to facilitate orderly project execution
Success Tip for the Client: We live in an age where having a dedicated DevOps team for your enterprise applications is no longer a luxury. Companies that had transitioned to automated DevOps processes were able to more successfully adapt to the upheaval caused by COVID-19, whereas the ones with legacy pipelines and no DevOps processes implementation have had to face many unforeseen software issues. To ensure your survival during times of uncertainty, consider talking to your software partner about implementing DevOps processes in your own project.
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