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How to pitch Outsourced Product Development (OPD) to your team

Nisha Gopinath Menon
March 11, 2019

Outsourcing is a polarizing concept. Some stakeholders love outsourcing product development, and others hate it. Still, others have no experience with Outsourced Software Development Projects. Whether you’re a novice or a pro at outsourcing, there are several benefits you should consider when you propose outsourcing product development to your team.

9 tips to pitch an OPD project to your team

1) Shorter Time-to-market - It is crucial to innovate quickly and being first in the market is always an advantage. With a shorter time-to-market, you can respond to market demand faster. You can quickly scale a remote team to carry out the work much quicker than letting your available resources dictate the timelines. You will deliver a great product faster when you have a trained team focused solely on bringing it to market. We have a team that works with modern open source technologies every day, and since we use agile development methodologies, we don’t need to write hundreds of pages of technical specs before we get started.

2) Fresh eyes and new ideas - Your outsourced team will bring their own unique experiences to your project, and the solutions they come up with are bound to be different. An outside company will see more strengths and weaknesses in your product because the entire development team is new to your business. By engaging a partner for OPD, you will undoubtedly profit by hearing new perspectives and getting fresh ideas.

If you have an existing product you hope to enhance, our team will look at your existing product and infrastructure with a fresh set of eyes. Once our team understands the end-to-end product we can help you answer this question: “Knowing what you know now, how would you build this product from the ground up today?” It is often hard for people who have worked at a company for more than six months to answer this question without bias.

3) Avoid feature creep - Teamwork is so crucial in Agile. Agile development is a balancing act that, the product owner or the product champion, using Scrum vernacular, has to manage. In Agile you must engage with the whole team and treat each engineer as a partner. It is the first step to getting rid of feature creep. By focusing on the features that are core to delivering value to your customers, we ensure we build a stable first version product your customers love.

4) Get buy-in from your current engineering team - Some members of your existing team may be excited about open source technologies, modern product experiences, and agile development methodologies. But, it’s guaranteed that some members of your existing team will push back on the technology recommended for your new product. To get your current team “onboard” with a major technical change, you need to ensure they don’t feel threatened about their job security. Junior and senior developers alike should be included in the development process and their opinions should be heard. If they need to learn new technologies to extend and enhance the new product that’s being built, you should allow time and budget to retrain your team on the new technologies you plan to use. The deep insights and experience your team has will help ensure the new product is a success.

5) Compare the cost advantage of India - Offshore software development is the key to improving your company's technology without adding huge capital costs. Quality Indian development firms offer a better ratio of value to quality than competing firms from other value-driven outsourced software development countries like Ukraine, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic.

According to Nasscom, despite the emergence of other low-cost outsourcing spots in South East Asia, Eastern Europe, and North Africa, India remains the world’s preferred software development outsourcing destination. The country’s enormous talent pool of software developers is a significant factor, which has established India’s dominance in offshore software product development. India as an outsourcing destination offers the highest volume of employable technical talent, which is comprised of people digitally skilled in application, cloud, analytics, web and mobile development. Such diversity of talent adds more value to software development outsourcing in India.

The economies of scale is another prime driving force behind developed countries preferring Indian offshore software development companies. India has low operational and labor costs in comparison to the United States and Europe. If you plan on building your product in the US or UK, the price will be 3-5 times as much as working with our team based in India for the same level of professionalism and expertise.

6) How to mitigate risk - We recommend sending your lead architect to the outsourced development team’s office at the beginning of the engagement. By having everyone with knowledge of the product you’re trying to build in the same room, miscommunications can be minimized. Technical architecture and design-driven development sessions allow everyone to get on the same page. The goal is to ensure your outsourced development team doesn’t waste time building features you don’t need.

7) Product development and roll out and enhancements - When you have an existing business that you migrate to a new platform, you need to ensure your existing customers don’t have any issues during the migration. Considering you are a real business, signing up clients every month, you need to be careful when you migrate existing customers to a new platform.

We won’t move any of your customers to the new platform until the feature set of your new platform is on par with your existing platform. Once the new platform has been thoroughly tested, we’ll migrate one of your smaller customers to the new platform. We’ll work closely with this customer to ensure there aren’t any issues with the production application. Then, depending on how many total customers you have, we’ll either migrate your customers one-by-one or in batches until all of your customers are on the new platform.

If your sales team signs a contract that requires new features, we need to be made aware of the new features, and we need to sign-off on the timeline for delivery of the new features. As we’re moving your existing customers to the new platform, we’ll prioritize new features as required by new contracts you sign.

8) Product handover best practices - Our team will write detailed technical documentation for all the source code and restful APIs so that most questions can be answered by reading the documentation.

Upon completion of all deliverables, we recommend a 1-2 week technical deep-dive where our lead technical architect and one or two engineers meet face-to-face with members of your team. Our team members will walk through every component of the application that we built, and we’ll do several small deployments to production during the handoff process.

If members of your engineering team don’t have the required skills to take over one or more parts of the code base, we can maintain and enhance those parts of the code base until you’re able to onboard someone with the required skills.

9) Overall risks of OPD and mitigation plan - The main risk is the speed at which your team can transfer knowledge to our team and make our team domain experts in your line of business. We need your help becoming experts in your product’s feature set, so the new system we build is on par with your existing product.

We’ll mitigate this risk through an in-person discovery session at the start of this project. After the discovery session, we’ll conduct daily standup meetings at the end of each day in India to ensure that everything is on schedule.

There is also some risk when we’re migrating customers from your existing product to the new product we build. As we said before, we plan to reduce some of the risks by slowly migrating your smaller customers and then migrating your largest customers one at a time.

Most product companies hire agencies for various reasons at some point. OPD implementation success often hinges on continuous and consistent communication between decision-makers, especially managers, engineers, and business owners. With the right team, OPD can prove to be a fruitful venture.

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Nisha Gopinath Menon