Offshore Partnerships: Your Guide to Optimizing Any Remote Software Development Relationship
If you’ve had a hard time attracting and retaining local engineering talent, we feel you because we’ve been in that boat. So have most other companies—you’re in the overwhelming majority (99%!) of software firms who have experienced that same frustration.
Okay—you need an offshore software development firm to help you make and sell your product, that much we know. We also know that if you choose wrong, the mistake will cost you in a big way. So, which firm is right for you? Ask yourself that question first because the stakes couldn’t be higher for you or your company.
When we were in your shoes running our own SaaS-based businesses, we were always amazed at how bad an unscrupulous development partner made us feel. It was a little like we were trying to build software in a used car lot. Which is exactly why we’re here turning our lemons into your lemonade.
Spoiler alert: The below tips ain’t the whole kit and caboodle. Rather, it’s just the tip of the crochet needle (what is a caboodle, anyway?). Never fear, we’re here to help. Read on, kid.
Here are the Top Four Ways you can optimize any offshore software development partnership (plus a few other awesome tips):
- Clearly define your goals and priorities.
- Outline—in great detail—how you will collaborate. And for the love, be specific.
- Communicate, communicate, and then communicate again.
- Measure the results, both in the short term and the long term.
- The easiest way to partner? Call TurnKey.
- Some final thoughts.
1) Clearly define your goals and priorities
When you develop a software product, there are a dizzying amount of variables to consider. What tech stack should we use? What features should we build first? How should we organize our scrum cycle? How will we include customer feedback? So. Many. More. Listing them here would turn this blog post into a longer version of War & Peace. (Thanks, but no thanks.)
So before you do anything, clearly and concisely outline every one of your key needs and objectives. Once you have this down, you can start to craft—alongside your offshore software development partner—the ideal solution to meet those needs.
If they can’t help create a customized plan built entirely around your goals, it’s a bright red flag and a sign that it’s time to look elsewhere.
Free pro tip: make your development partner sign the key objectives plan so you can be sure that a.) they really understand it and b.) they are committed to delivering against it.
Another important reason to create an overall objectives plan and get your offshore software development partner onboard with expectations is that you then have the framework for accountability—you can use your objectives plan as a way to measure success (see point #4 below).
In other words, be super clear with your partner about what success looks like for you. If they don’t sign up to that plan and agree to meet (or exceed) those expectations, bounce them out of the club—and then call TurnKey.
2) Outline—in great detail—how you will collaborate. And for the love, be specific
Once you have the goals locked down, your next move is execution. A strategy or product roadmap is a great start, but unless you have the car revved and ready, you’re stuck at the starting line. You’ve got to outline and clearly define how you expect to work together in order to get your vehicle on the path to victory, baby.
This includes articulating your preferred workflow. If your offshore development partner isn’t willing to wholeheartedly adopt how your team moves and grooves—bonus points for suggesting improvements!—you’re highly unlikely to achieve a good working relationship over time.
Here’s a big one: identify early on who your internal points of contact will be, because nothing is more frustrating than an international game of telephone. If developers don’t know where to turn to for answers or direction, they’ll eventually stop asking for answers and let indecision start guiding your product to its (missed) deadline.
3) Communicate, communicate, and then communicate again
Like with most things in life (both personal and professional), communication is critical to success. In the Offshore development world, open lines of communication keep stakeholders updated on development progress, and make sure that everyone on the development team (from product managers to engineers to QA to DevOps to support) continues to be on the same page.
The sad fact though is that most offshore software development firms score super low on the communication front, either because they aren’t strong English speakers themselves, or they don’t have a responsive, client service mindset. This truth can make communication a tough box to check, and it can weigh down your product development.
Bottom line: Communication needs to be the first and last thing you—and your offshore partner—think about each day. Speak early, speak often, and speak up.
4) Measure the results, both in the short-termand the long-term
There is an old management adage that says, “You are what you measure.” And this is never more true than when it comes to software development.
Unless you create and communicate clear milestones and metrics that are easily traceable, you won’t know how successfully your project is tracking, nor will you know how to appropriately change or modify course when needed.
But these analytics aren’t just for you. It’s equally important that you hold your offshore partner accountable to these metrics too—these are the global rules to live by and the heartbeat of your collaboration.
Lastly, evaluate the relevancy of your metrics constantly. As new customer learnings unfold or the priorities of the overall business evolve, how you measure may need to change. Remember, “You are what you measure”—so make sure you’re measuring the right things.
The easiest way to partner? Call TurnKey
We rode the struggle bus every day when we had our own product companies. That’s why we started TurnKey—we know how much of a pain point optimizing offshore software development partnerships can be for other companies and we finally figured it out.
The issue when we worked with other offshore software development firms was always a heartburn-inducing combination plate of pain: inflexible models topped with abysmal customer service, served with a soggy side of weak accountability (even when we gave them clear metrics).
At TurnKey, our unique model is everything we wish we had in an offshore software development partner:
- We customize development teams completely around YOUR product.
- We offer white glove customer service and are hyper responsive to YOUR every need. (It helps that we are based in California so we’re always in a similar time zone.)
- We take true accountability for delivering against YOUR key goals and objectives.
We call this Yourshoring (rather than Offshoring), because it signifies a new and better way to develop software remotely. We have recentered the Offshoring universe and in our model, YOU are planet Earth.
This is YOUR team, customized around YOUR needs, working on YOUR timetable and under YOUR control.
Some final thoughts
Magic in a bottle, diamonds, pearls…they all take hard work and time. The four steps outlined above are key, for sure. Define what you need, ask for it, talk about it, and then make sure you’re on track.
But it really comes down to trust. You know it, and we know it (mostly because we’ve heard it from so many customers over the years). And honestly, when we hear that word, we light up like a disco ball at midnight—this is where we shine.
TurnKey didn’t become one of the leading remote software development firms because we’re good-looking (no matter how much we wish that were true). We rose to the top by always—and we mean always—putting our customer’s needs in front of our own.
You want them on your team, but you also need them on the same page. If they know your key objectives—and sign off on them—you can work together, hold them accountable, and identify gaps in productivity.
Um, 1000% yes you do. Treat them like team members. They don’t just work in a closet somewhere. They should come to meetings, have defined internal touch points, and know of any shifts in cadence or priorities so they can continue to deliver as expected.
It’s all about getting better, kid. You have to figure out where you went wrong in order to get it right. And it doesn’t even have to be wrong to improve. Maybe you were on point throughout and your Offshore development team was, too. Checking metrics and measuring success includes refining your process and workflow, too. You can always do it better next time. (Especially when you do it with TurnKey!)