Challenges in Outsourced Product Development

The initial challenges which a company looking to outsource product development for the first time faces and tries to put to rest some of the myths associated with these challenges. Longevity of the product team with the development partner Myth:It is difficult to motivate and retain crucial team members for long in the team. They tend to move out by the time they acquire enough expertise to contribute effectively. Reality: Yes, and No. No if you choose the right product development partner. Offshore companies focused on product engineering services have realized that longevity of team members in the team is a very crucial factor in making any relationship successful. In contrast to companies doing traditional outsourced software; these companies understand that the onus for a long term commitment lies with them and not the customer. They understand the fact that a team member who has spent 2 years with the product becomes nearly inseparable with it. For this reason, they have their compensation and bonus policies focused on retaining key team members for long in the same project. Moreover, with employees in different cultures being driven and motivated by different factors, it might also help to retain a project/people manager offshore so that he/she can take the right actions to motivate the team and keep it intact. Processes used for development and project management Myth: The software engineering vendor would have separate set of processes than we have, and we would have to embrace them to effectively work with the vendor. Reality: It is the software engineering vendor who aligns it with the partner's processes so that the partner does not feel any difference while working with them Outsourced Product engineering companies make it possible by create mini organizations inside called VODCs (Virtual Offshore Development Centers), one for each partner that they work with. The processes and functioning of this VODC is exactly similar as the vendor would have done onsite on its own, including processes for development, project and people management and time and expense reporting. Visibility in product roadmap Myth: Vendor teams are better managed by providing work on daily basis Reality: Providing a long term visibility in the product roadmap helps the vendor teams to focus on work effectively and utilize resources better. Moreover, this reduces the overhead of the management team member at the partner's location. Communication Myth: With the product visionary team onsite and the implementation team with the Ecommerce solutions vendor, it is difficult to communicate and share product ideas and vision. Day to Day project related communication may not be interpreted or captured correctly. Reality: Product Engineering vendors realize the challenges that exist in doing distributed product development. To ensure quick and accurate communication, they are geared up with the state of the art facilities when it comes to E-mail, IM, phone, VOIP, fax, integrated development environments and Video/Audio conferencing. Product Engineering teams are available most of the time on published hours on Email/IM and Phone. All project related unstructured discussion (on phone/IM) is always followed up with a more formal and structured manner on email, so that the teams are in sync with each other. Know more - Mobile application development

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