Managing Offshore Software Development


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Successfully Managing Offshore Software Development for Small & Medium Sized US Companies

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  • Good points! Thanks for sharing. All too often businesses rush into starting a project because of the excitement of something new. Most of the time, these projects are either canceled, over budget, missed their deadline, or under quality. And with outsourcing software development, whether it is onshore or offshore, creates a whole other dynamic.
    Khanh-Thy Gonzales
    Lighthouse Technologies, Inc.
    Software Testing, Vendor Quality Management, Oracle ERP (E-Business Suite)
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Managing Offshore Software Development

  1. 1. Successfully Managing Offshore Software Development for Small &Medium Sized US Companies By Jack Bicer CEO & CTO Septium Corporation Hybrid-Offshore Software Development Tel: 714-389-3360 eMail:
  2. 2. Successful Offshoring: Covered Topics • Why offshore ? • Problems with offshoring. • Elements of successful offshoring. • When do fixed priced projects increase risk ? • Picking a good offshore vendor. • Q&A
  3. 3. Background • 29 years in software development • CTO for 10+ yrs • Inventor of Uninstall & Automatic Software Updates • BS in EE, MS in Computer Science, MBA • CEO & CTO of a hybrid offshore custom software development company.
  4. 4. Why Offshore Software? • Reduce costs 30-50% compared to internal staff 50-75% compared to Outsourcing Increase quality – Offshoring will force you to • good process if you don’t already have have a one • Easy access to high caliber developers, talent you may not be able to hire or afford Expand & Shrink with your business cycle – no • politics, layoffs or morale issues • Startups may use just savings and avoid fund raising
  5. 5. Problems with Offshoring Language Barriers – not everyone speaks • English • Hard to understand accents • Cultural Barriers • Yes Men – afraid to deliver bad news or challenge bad decisions • Not listening - we are smarter than you so we’ll tell you what to do • Not understanding the simple cultural concepts that we take for granted • Poor communications • Vendor Misrepresentations & Incompetence
  6. 6. Successful Offshoring Successful offshoring requires a good software development process: 1. Solid Design 2. Realistic project plan 3. Monitored and validated implementation 4. Good testing 5. Talented people 6. Dedication to quality across all levels 7. Long term vision and commitment
  7. 7. Solid Design Strong Design Phase • Detailed Software Design & Specification • Use use cases • Include UI Cost comparison for different phases of software development: • Design: Change Cost: $1 • Implementation: Change Cost: $10 • Production: Change Cost: $100 If you need to make a change, which phase will give you the best ROI? – Design !
  8. 8. The project plan Once you know what you need to do in detail, you can create: • Realistic Development Timelines • Accurate Cost Estimates from the timelines Get buy-in from all parties • Engineering • Management • Business / Marketing
  9. 9. Monitoring and Validation • Track against the project plan • Interim milestone releases every 3-4 weeks Each release contains working modules Proof of progress & validation Resist “feature creep” • Number onereason for project overruns and failures
  10. 10. Testing Solid Testing • Should be performed by professional QA staff • Not by developers Alpha test – internal testing by company • Beta test –internal and limited external usage • • Use automated test tools and do stress testing Read my whitepaper on “10 Tips for Successful Software Development” for more information.
  11. 11. Fixed Price Can Increase Your Project Risks • If you know exactly what you want done, fixed price works (Maintenance work, infrastructure support, rewrites of old software). • If the specifications are not well defined, or you are developing a new product or a major new enhancement, fixed price is bad way to go. • With too many changes, Cost of Change may even exceed the Original Estimate by as much as 4x. Few expected surprises – Can use Fixed Price • Many unknowns – time & materials pricing serves you • better. You can control the costs better. For more information, read my whitepaper on “Fixed Priced Projects can actually increase your risk and costs”
  12. 12. Picking a Good Offshore Vendor • Don’t pick a vendor for an offshore project. Pick a partner that will support and take care of you for the long term. • Do hybrid offshoring. • Ask for an American Project Manager with significant experience. Eliminate language and cultural barriers. • A seasoned software development veteran who can help guide you to success. Resolve issues before they become bigger problems. • Combine Savings with Quality.
  13. 13. Picking a Good Offshore Vendor • Having good processes in place is a requirement. But by itself does not ensure successful delivery. • Only good processes coupled with good people deliver success. • Pick smaller, relationship oriented offshore vendors with a proven software development process. • They usually provide better service than their large competitors. Every client is very important for them.
  14. 14. Main Takeaway • Quality is paramount. • Without quality, neither price nor savings matters.
  15. 15. Questions ? Jack Bicer Septium Corporation CEO & CTO Tel: 714-389-3360 eMail: