Despite the notion that Waterfall is a risk-free approach to software outsourcing, there is a continuous rise in adoption of Agile methodology for developing consumer-centric solutions. However, the collaboration of an 'iterative' development approach and offshore outsourcing has been a subject of debate for decades.
This segment debunks the myths arounds Agile and outsourcing collaboration for software development and discusses the key components of their successful alliance.
Adopting Agile for Software Delivery: A Change for the Better
With release of Agile manifesto in 2001, there was a paradigm shift in the software development cycle. Now, instead of following a rigid approach for development, the focus was to prioritize:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
A number of reasons contributed to acceptance of Agile as a software development methodology, which primarily included its ability to deal with the issues introduced by rapidly changing and unpredictable markets. Against the traditional project delivery practices, Agile brought the following benefits to the software development space:
- Adapting to changing requirements (technical and functional) in a product to give a competitive advantage to customers
- Deliver a functional version of the software frequently (the initial one is generally done through Minimum Viable Product (MVP))
- Making all stakeholders within a project (developers, business owners) work collaboratively throughout
- Encourage continuous testing of product to ensure quality in performance, usability, third party integrations, security etc.
- Brings improvements in software development team. To respond to the changes on regular intervals, the team tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly
The Agile and Outsourcing Alliance
IT Outsourcing, in general is one of the prominent ways to accelerate businesses processes, making them more efficient and progressive. The idea of outsourcing software development ensures that businesses or ISVs gain momentum in project delivery. Considering the benefits that both Agile and Outsourcing brings into software development cycle, it is certainly a great idea to make them collaborate for a project.
However, coordinating with an offshore team while outsourcing can be troublesome due to lack of F2F communication, cultural discrepancies, time zone difference etc. Meanwhile, if a strategic approach is adopted to combine these master strokes together for software development, they can add pace and pre-eminence to the project delivery cycle.
To overcome the challenges that collaboration between Agile and Outsourcing brings along, a mutual effort from both the parties (businesses and technology partners) is required. The later segment discusses some effective approaches that can help to have a successful Agile-Outsourcing alliance.
Agile and Outsourcing: Key Components of Collaboration
- A Reliable, Experienced Technology Partner
A technology partner is a company that understands the idea behind the software and helps in its execution. To start with, a thorough research about the company should be done, evaluating if their portfolio and past experiences can work for your project. In doing so, a list of metrics can be evaluated to weigh if the technology partner has potential to execute a project according to requirements and standards set beforehand. For your assistance, here is an eBook highlighting 12 critical metrics that you should consider while choosing a technology partner for software development.
- Identifying Channels for Communication
Communication is the best way to identify requirements, problems, and suggest solution. When working with Agile methodology, there is more focus on direct communication rather than documentation. Daily stand-ups within the team, virtual meetings with client through most prominent channels (like chat or video call), reports of progress status, are some of the ways the ideas, recommendations, issues, and solutions are conveyed at both the ends.
- Work on Different Agile Frameworks
Agile is an umbrella term and various iterative and incremental software development approaches. The variations in these approaches is called Agile frameworks. Some of the most popular Agile approaches include Scrum, Extreme Programming, Leanban, and Extreme programming. The right software development framework ensures that the engineering team adjusts itself according to the requirements. For example: If changes and challenges in the development are predicted, it is relevant for engineering team to switch from scrum to leanban model as it supports change at sustainable pace, guided by
lean practices at team-level.
- Taking Time-Zone Difference into Account
When choosing an offshore software development partner, it is important to acknowledge the time zone difference beforehand. This ascertains that communication between the counterparts does not gets hampered due to location and time differences. It is thus significant to have some time overlapping so that discussion for the project, improvements, and changes are communicated clearly, on time.
Outsourcing Agile-based Software Development
Considering the benefits that Agile based development brings in, Daffodil (as a technology partner) follows this approach for all of its projects. The same approach is applied for the range of custom software development projects for Digital Mettle, owing to which the company has scaled their technology services and grown five folds in past 4 years.