Much like any other business change, onboarding a new outsourced development partner can be a daunting task. You may worry that they’ll struggle to integrate with your existing teams and processes. And, if that does happen, what will that mean for the success of your project?
To ease these worries, it’s best to plan your route ahead.
With some careful alignment, you’ll ensure your internal and external development teams are well-equipped to work well together.
But before we dive into some best practices, let’s first talk about the importance of change management.
How to handle change management
Seventy percent of change programs do not meet their expected goals, according to McKinsey. Employee resistance and lack of support are largely to blame for this.
If your product managers advocated for outsourced resources, you’re off to a good start. But if they didn’t, your integration may be all the more difficult. This is because your product managers have very little decision-making control over whether you outsource or not. Yet they still hold the brunt of responsibility for the outcomes of your software projects. This may cause some friction.
As such, we’d recommend listening to and working with your product managers during this change. Check-in regularly, gather feedback throughout the integration process, and work with them to plan the following alignment steps:
Aligning your outsourced development teams: 5 steps
1. Communicate your goals
This starts with defining your high-level business goals and the stakes that matter most to you. Are you aiming to reduce time-to-market, increase revenue, or improve product quality? Or do you have another goal in mind?
From there, extend to more granular software and project requirements. Your product managers should share details about user stories, UI/UX considerations, and acceptance criteria with your developers.
By communicating these goals, you’ll give your outsourced development team a better understanding of where you’re headed, what they’re building, and who they’re building it for.
2. Define processes, tools, and methodologies
If your project management methods work well, you won’t want to change them.
So ensure your outsourced development team is aware of the Agile practices you follow and best practices for delivering work. They should be able to adapt to these processes and may even help you improve them.
3. Set communication expectations
Determine which calls are compulsory for your outsourced development teams (and which aren’t). If you require them at every daily scrum meeting, let them know in advance.
In addition to this, share the tools you use to communicate and explain what you communicate on them. This includes your project management tools, as well as any other channels for knowledge sharing, bug reporting, or informal conversations.
Ultimately, if your outsourced development team has a question or concern, they should know how and where to reach you.
4. Agree upon the division of tasks and expertise
Naturally, you don’t want your internal and external teams to step on each other’s toes. That may cause friction and project delays.
Speak with your product managers and ask the following questions:
- What tasks should be outsourced?
- Who will assign the tasks?
- How do you plan to avoid code duplications through your CI/CD processes?
You’ll also want to agree upon the level of authority your outsourced development team will have. For instance, will you give them the power to deploy updates? Or will that power remain with your internal teams? This involves weighing up flexibility versus control. There’s no right or wrong answer here, only personal preference. Tighter control may provide better quality, whereas a more “free reign” approach may reduce time to market.
5. Understand and measure success
To make sure your internal and outsourced teams continue to work well together throughout your project, you’ll need to define how you measure success.
What metrics will you track for your internal and outsourced teams? How and when will you implement continuous improvement? And who has decision-making power in these situations? Answering these questions will ensure your outsourced team knows what you expect of them.
The other side of the coin
It’s natural to feel uncertain when integrating an outsourced team. After all, until you start working with them, it’s impossible to know whether or not they’ll gel with your teams and processes.
But, to ease your concerns, we thought we’d share our perspective.
As a seasoned software product development partner, we follow a meticulous align, integrate and manage (AIM) process with our clients. This allows us to get to know your business and product teams inside out, select the right talent for your project, and ensure our team works cohesively with yours. That way, our outsourced developers don’t feel like outsiders - they become a valued part of your team.
The most important thing to remember is our commonality. In-house and outsourced development teams all have one goal: to deliver high-quality products, efficiently. So long as you find an outsourced partner who’s committed to that, you’re already on the right track.