The ultimate goal of any successful business is to use its resources efficiently. Having full-time staff of highly experienced professionals is often unreasonably expensive, so outsourcing is the best solution for many companies. By transferring the software development service to a professional IT outsourcer, a company can reduce costs without losing quality, and sometimes even achieve better results and eliminate risks.
But, in order for such cooperation to succeed, you need to properly organize the workflow process.
How does an outsourcing development team should organize work with a customer?
Preparing documents and collecting information
In order to draw up a good development transfer plan in details, the future project manager must request a package of documents from the customer, consisting of:
- Application requirements;
- Bugfix requests;
If there is not enough information, the responsible party needs to meet with the customer’s team to get more comprehensive information about the current state of the project and plans for further development.
After all the necessary information is collected, one should proceed to the development of a plan to transfer the software to contractor. The whole project can be divided into three stages:
- The stage of knowledge transfer.
- The provision of software development services with a grace period.
- Full readiness to provide software development services.
Planning the transfer of software to outsourcing team
At this step, the project manager begins to formulate a more detailed plan for the transfer of software, draws up a schedule of meetings for the transfer of knowledge, a list of documents and a list of risks. At the same time, the customer and the contractor clarify the division of responsibilities between teams, as well as agree on SLAs and metrics for a future project. Planning for the transfer of software is one of the most important stages of the whole project, since here we build a detailed plan from which we will try not to deviate in the future.
At the same stage, the project team audits the customer’s software system. Usually it includes both remote work and travel to customer offices for face-to-face meetings.
Sometimes, there is a case when a customer refuses auditing in order to save money, but as practice has shown, it’s a vain. In the process of further work, various bugs and crutches began to emerge, which interfered with the normal operation of applications. And they had to be solved within the framework of change management (the process of change management), which cost the customer extra money.
The formation of a team of key employees
When forming the main project team, it is necessary to choose employees who:
- Participated in similar projects;
- Worked with similar systems and a technology stack that will come in handy when mastering new material.
- Will continue to develop the software, will be able to transfer knowledge and help the rest of the team in mastering new information.
We conduct the formation of a key team thoroughly and always lay down a backup of resources - several reserve specialists - in case of force majeure.
Knowledge transfer as one of the most difficult stages in a software outsourcing project
The purpose of knowledge transfer is to obtain specific knowledge, skills and relevant documentation from the customer. The transfer of knowledge is planned and carried out in several stages. The main ones are:
- Transfer of all necessary documentation about the service;
- Scheduling KT sessions (Knowledge Transfer, knowledge transfer sessions);
- Meetings and trainings together with teams of customer’s specialists on the customer’s premises;
Internal knowledge transfer to other members of the team of performers.
All the necessary information should be brought to all interested on time. It is important that people learn to trust you. To do this, your actions should be as clear and transparent as possible for them. Reports on the status of work should go regularly.
Grace period - no penalties apply
At this step, all operational tasks go to the project team, which in turn can request help or advice from the customer’s team. The most important thing at this stage is to gain practical experience in supporting the solution and to check whether enough information has been received previously.
In addition, it is very important to make sure that the customer team is available for advice and assistance
Then, the project team independently provides software development services for customer. The performance of contractual obligations in terms of service delivery levels (SLAs) is measured, but no penalties apply. The main goal of this period is to check whether SLA performance is achievable, and to plan and implement measures that will help improve and adjust the provision of services if SLA performance is not achieved. Also, during this period, you can check the real load on the team, and strengthen it with additional people, if necessary.
The final stage of the project - the customer completely transfers the software to the hands of professionals.
This means that now the project team independently supports the customer’s applications. SLAs are measured, and if the indicators are not met, the customer applies penalties.
Problems that arise during the transfer of software development service to outsourcing with solutions.
Problem: There is no description of the management process, which is why the load is inefficiently distributed between employees.
Solution: The experts of our team usually adapt the development process to the structure of the project team.
Problem: The business lacks an understanding of SLA metrics and prioritization, that’s why the fixing of high-priority bugs is delayed.
Solution: Our experts develop a prioritization process for each project individually.
Problem: There are no detailed instructions for development, just smudgy outlines. It is extremely difficult to formalize the requirements for the software.
Solution: At the stage of knowledge transfer, the specialists of our team supplement and structure the existing requirements and draw them into a single knowledge base.
Problem: During KT sessions, requirements pop up that are not included in the list of initial requirements, but affect the business logic.
Solution: This is best avoided and, at the planning stage, agree on a list of supported and acceptable software requirements.
Problem: Often companies do not have a communications (escalation) matrix, which delays the execution of high-priority bug requests.
Solution: Our team, together with the customer’s specialists, compiles a matrix for all streams with the contacts of those in charge and the deadlines for moving to the next level.
Problem: The most popular problem is outdated approaches and self-made quirks.
Solution: In this case, an audit has been laid down that will show the whole picture and the sore spots of the customer’s solution. As practice shows, without an audit, many unpleasant surprises come up.
What are the advantages if you correctly transfer the software development service to outsourcing company?
- Less time is spent on managing personnel, which makes it possible to focus on business and important strategic decisions.
- Service quality is monitored through measurable and transparent SLAs.
- Service processes are standardized using best practices and proven business approaches.
- Fast delivery processes meets the needs of the business pace.
- The quality of services is constantly improved through the definition of changes in the value of the software.
- A team of specialists is formed on the basis of the specifics of the software and the wishes of the customer.
The average transfer project takes an average of 1 to 6 months. During this time, we can create the right team, study new requirements, figure out the wilds of crutches and bugs accumulated over the years, create and structure the knowledge base from scratch and at the same time improve the quality of the final software.