How to not to screw up when managing an offshore project

You heard? Too many of the offshore projects stuck in the last few years. As per The Aberdeen Group statistics, nearly 30 percent of the projects failed in the past years, even further the failure rate increases to 50 percent when it comes to offshore developers, which is why nearly 1 in 3 projects fails. So what can be done to increase the odds to your success and how?

At the first let’s understand why I would like to offshore my projects:

Technology depth and breadth: In today’s world where technology is evolving at a break neck speed, filled with plethora of options, tools, solutions which need to be used in the right combinations, it is critical to work with a partner who has the right breadth and depth of skill sets, expertise and experience to deliver the right results within expected deadlines, simultaneously balancing the future technology obsolescence risk and technology debt to the minimum.

Contractual flexibility: Your need for skills would change as your product evolves and so would the quantity and quality of talent, based on where you are in your product development lifecycle. To get this in-house flexibility is difficult; this is where a partner can help you.  So this way you cut the cake and have it too.

Process maturity: Working with a partner, who knows how to get work done, deliver in a timely manner, and is plausible only if you have a process designed for offshoring success; which means that this process has to be designed in communication with the client and should be perfect on counts of quality, maintainability, portability, future relevance and risk mitigation.

Affordability:  Identifying talent is one major task, but to get someone who can work within the constraints of your budget is another.  Get a partner with whom you can upfront agree on the rates and freeze them for year or more for a diverse set of skills. So you do not increase your headcount unnecessarily, plus not pay in more, because you have offshore options available.

Dedicated talent: It is important to get talent which is right fit for the requirements at hand and as passionate as you in building the solution you would like built. This would mean identifying, attracting, retaining and training special dedicated expert talent who would eat, sleep, breath and most important think just your project.

Creating value by attracting pool of talented people: creating an extra value for customers through innovation, faster time to reach market with high quality and added cost benefit (that ways you can transform these product developments saving to your customers).

Now, secondly think from a perspective of a buyer and let’s dot down what one should keep in mind while off shoring project:

Understand your requirement clearly: Before outsourcing any of your projects it is always better that you do a complete search out of exactly what do you want as the outcome. Make up the graphical and analytical framework for better representation of your requirements to the vendor.

Search out the best in the market for the required domain: Jack of all trades, master of none bangs the message straight face. Getting the most aromatic blend of the core skill sets is a major concern which should be searched out for.

Check out for the stability factor of the selected vendor: The stability consists of financial, technological, infrastructural and expert resource wise as well. Find out the complete profile of the vendor to put your success rate to be higher. The world is not black and white; you need to analyze who fits the bill.

Check vendor matches the project profile or not: Often the project profile has some or rather most parts already been tried out by that vendor. This would be a plus point as the past experience will help the vendor garner what complexities might come during the project and also be well prepared for it.

Familiarity in the work culture, corporate work life: If the vendor company has previously worked with same company or some other company of the same region, then there are positive chances that they would be well versed with the deadlines, work times and response expectations. It is always good if the vendor is aware of the work culture and nature of the region of the client the seamlessness in the work is good.

Get the feedback by previous clients: It is always best to get the back stage story about the experience of a client that you know and has worked with the concerned vendor. Statistics also prove it with a rise in 29% people relying more on the opinions given by coequals in the relative similar field.

Check out if vendor provides direct interaction, know how into internal process and the kind of framework they usually follow: This helps when you require strict cutting deadlines that you got to follow and also when you need continuous updates on say daily basis about the progress in the project. Also if you are in direct touch with the base developers it would be easier to get the possible changes and results in lesser time.

People say that you need to actually screw up things to learn. But why reach a dead end when you are getting a map!

Now lastly, lets track few tips, tricks and pointers which will help you understand how to not to screw up offshore project management.

  • Be specific!!

Until and unless you do not give the crystal clear idea of actually what you expect from your vendor there is full plausibility that what you get is satisfying. Create a proper pictorial or graphical specification model to bring out the idea more crisply.

  • Get the complete knowledge of the internal process they use

Be in tune with the development strategy that you want them to follow and also suggest what you feel they should be following that would prove better for that specific work.

  • Check out the way you are going to communicate with them

Be it with voice; video or textual chat whichever way suits both the sides. If there is language barrier prefer text or rather pictorial way of conversing to get the message clear to them. Also get to know their problems and obstructions during the process if any.

  • Be easy to get to them during their work times.

It is always good if you can listen to their problems at the times they face it or rather choose the suggestions which they have induced. This will keep you in line with the daily updates and also harness their productivity to the best levels. Make hay while the sun shines!!

  • Get yourself available to daily logs and future charts and also get updates on latest impediments to get hold of the actual cause. This would help you to not pile up the errors that make it cumbersome to solve later.
Offshore Project Management Approach
Offshore Project Management Approach

Mastering the ability in all time successful offshore project management is no rocket science but we can successfully use it for the betterment of both the parties.  All I can say is that you need to take the cue that directs you to that one focused goal.