Best Practices to Mix Outsourcing with Agile
Any good software consulting firm should know how to mix outsourcing with Agile practices. In order to optimize this effort you should begin by minimizing risks with a hybrid Agile approach, organize your work in specific ways, have a streamline change management process, and modify QA methods within your organization. This post will examine these and other practices you can use to mix outsourcing with Agile. When you mix outsourcing and agile you end up magnifying agile development issues. How can you avoid this? The following practices will help you to address these issues.
When you outsource your software development projects you run a risk for both you and your clients. To avoid this you need to have detailed requirements documentation to present to your outsourced workers so they can follow queues and understand your project needs. Your client may want an agreement based on time requirements for their projects and may not want an open-ended agreement where the work is not completed within a specific time frame. This is where the hybrid agile model can outline the details in the project deliverables.
Companies who outsource their software development could get burned with pure agile which is becoming too common. Outsourced development has binding obligations in a contract which need to be planned out as clear as possible to prevent legal implications later on. An internal development team may not have these obligations so this is where outsourcing pays off for you and your clients.
Customize Agile Methods
You may encounter clients that are not familiar with or happy with agile and outsourcing. Many companies are used to waterfall methods so they may not want to adopt agile. In this case you can put their worries at ease by explaining your hybrid model. In some cases you need this type of model regardless if your client is not comfortable with agile even though it may be a culture shock to them. Adjustments will need to be made along the way to ensure your software development projects take off without a hitch.
Minimize Runaway Scope Through Change Management
In a pure agile methodology, projects can be open ended if you don’t define the requirements up front as mentioned earlier. In order to minimize scope creep you can develop a change management process where each iteration is implemented at different stages or milestones of the project. Change management also ensures changes are agreed upon by all project stakeholders. In your case you may have one or many stakeholders so taking time to schedule proposed changes may be difficult but necessary depending on the proposed change.
You may want to integrate QA in your projects at specific phases or at the end of development before you hand the final product over to your client. This does not mean you have to hire dedicated QA team members but rather you can task this out to in-house engineers to give each project a final test and onceover to ensure it meets the needs of your client. QA should be involved from start to finish to ensure everything fits the scope of the project so any errors can be caught and corrected before the final phase is completed so you don’t have to rush to make changes at the end.
Agile software development is a great methodology to use when you have teams located in house. When you outsource this methodology you introduce certain location-based risks. You may run into contract issues with your clients which introduce a high risk of the project being late or not meeting the agreed upon specifications. These are risks you can avoid or minimize through some of the best practices mentioned above.