The outsourcing market continues to grow at an incredible rate and more startups and companies are taking advantage of it every day, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic.
If you are considering hiring remote or offshore, here are five things we have learned from building hundreds of products with fully remote teams.
1. FOCUS ON A MINIMAL VIABLE PRODUCT IN THE BEGINNING
A big reason that so many projects fail is that they try to do too much too fast and don’t realize how complex software can get as it grows.
How many statistics have you heard, over the years, about the percentage of projects that go over budget or miss their deadlines? Building software is complex, and when your team is thousands of miles away, it gets even more so. Design your initial products and features as simple as possible, launch it, then slowly add in additional perks.
Very often, founders want to release every idea they have into the first version. However, on the App Store, over half of the 100 most successful apps (measured by gross total) update every nine days or less. Updating your app is crucial to releasing features, fixing bugs, resetting reviews, and competing effectively. It is important that you plan not only to release your app, but also to update it for the next 1-2+ years.
2. IMPORTANCE OF MANAGEMENT
Given that offshore management is harder than in person management, you have to ask yourself, “Am I good manager?” If you said yes, you are in good company. About 90% of people say they are good managers and yet more than half of projects fall apart, which suggests otherwise.
A good software manager can do things like writing and prioritizing specifications, review the code and understand what is going on to do real risk management and analysis for schedules and budgets. Can you do those things? If you aren’t so sure, you have come to the right place! You can hire a Toplev Consultant to help manage your project.
One thing you can almost never do is rely upon an offshore team to manage the project for you. This is by far the most common point of failure in outsourcing. If an offshore team promises to ‘fully manage’ your project, be skeptical.
3. BE INVOLVED
In a perfect world, we’d tell our trusty development team what we need and they’d come back in a few weeks with a perfect product for us. I’m sorry to tell you, no such world exists. No matter how good your project manager is, you need to pay attention to the details throughout the whole process.
In some scenarios, it’s best to delegate work and then trust your team to perform. In software, that doesn’t always work and in outsourcing, it rarely does. Be sure to work closely with your manager and developers, provide feedback as much as possible and don’t wait until the final weeks to test everything yourself.
Sounds time consuming? It is, and while you might save money by sending work offshore you will wind up spending more of your own time and money fixing it later. You’d be better off hiring a Toplev Consultant to ensure everything you are doing is getting done right the first time and you are spending your resources on the right priorities. This allows you to work with just our consultant team and less with the technical details and requirements.
4. INVEST TIME INTO BUILDING THE RIGHT TEAM
Offshore developers are notorious for advertising, spamming, and making everyone aware of their presence. The outsourcing world is a noisy place, and with no barrier to entry there are teams making wild claims and promises to win your business. The time you spend finding and engaging the right team is time well spent and should be part of your budget. Projects gone wrong are very expensive and you want to get it right.
Working with Toplev, you can hire trusted developers from our internal pool of resources that we have personal experience working with or you can hire our consultants to help perform technical interviews with your candidates and then manage your team. We will personally vet each candidate with our senior software engineers to make sure you are building the right team for your needs and people you can trust.
5. BUILD A CULTURE
Keeping a team motivated is never easy, especially when the team is hundreds and even thousands of miles away. When your developer’s impression of you comes through email and Slack, the human element is really reduced and it can be hard for a developer to stay motivated and emotionally connected to the project.
Toplev specializes in not only the technical side of building a great product, but also the human side. We know what makes a strong team and how to best facilitate that even at hundreds or thousands of miles away.
Sometimes it is as easy to thank your team at the end of the week, take a few minutes to chat with them about their families or personal lives, and give them praise for a job well done whenever you can.
In conclusion, outsourcing for startups is growing every day and it can be incredibly successful. The savings can be dramatic, but it only works if your startup is ready to face the additional overhead and management needs of an outsourced project. To avoid being another offshore nightmare story, hire Toplev Consulting and we will set your product up for success as we have done for many others!