The technology industry has witnessed a revolutionary change with the advent of disruptive outsourcing. This kind of outsourcing involves technological advancements like automation, cloud computing etc.
According to the 2018 Deloitte survey, 500 executives from leading organizations have stated that disruptive outsourcing has helped them increase their productivity and competitiveness in the market.
Emerging trends and solutions in cloud and automation have enabled various tech industries to scale faster and reach the global market. Outsourcing is a valuable strategic tool, especially for the tech industry.
For example, outsourcing an activity like software development, Software maintenance to a vendor helps to cut down operation cost and also helps to focus the resources on the business logic. Moreover, technology is rapidly changing and it is difficult for your in-house team of developers to be good at everything.
Outsourcing of services opens up the immense possibility of working with expertise that is not available to individual companies. Your workforce instead can focus on the core competencies of the company while IT services are handled offshore.
According to the surveys of Deloitte, 31% of all IT-related services were outsourced and the global outsourcing industry produced a whopping 88.9 billion U.S dollars in revenue, last year alone.
Outsourcing software development helps companies to reduce the costs that they incur and also helps them focus solely on business goals. It is not just beneficial for saving money but it is a great means of innovation.
Why Do Companies Outsource?
“As with many initiatives, organizations are finding that delivering competitive advantage through disruptive outsourcing solutions is anything but simple; effort and expertise are needed to address potential data security and cyber risks, changing regulations, organizational resistance, skill gaps, and to help flatten fragmented processes. In this new world, place your bets on the brave and the good, and against the fearful and complacent.”
Doug Plotkin, managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP
1. Time to Market
Time to market is basically the duration between the creation of a product idea to launching it in the market. If you have the development process streamlined and effectively planned out then it becomes easier to predict the time you will take for your launch. It is also extremely important to decrease this time gap.
Delaying your launch will allow your competitors to get ahead of you. The ephemeral nature of technology can also you’re your product idea redundant and useless.
Hiring an outsourcing company helps you to make your delivery to the market much quicker, thereby reducing a considerable amount of time. This improves your competitiveness in the market and also gives you a head start among your contemporaries.
2. Access to Expertise
There might arise a situation where your company might lack people who are qualified enough for a big project. However, with hiring a dedicated team, you have access to the most qualified and experienced professionals. The hired outsourcing company will be the expert in the field and hence can make your projects professional.
Outsourcing of services can enable somebody who specializes in the field to apply their specific technical expertise to make your product better.
You get access to expert specialists like business analysts, project managers, fullstack software developers etc who can guarantee you a high-end product .
3. Domain Awareness
You might have a project that involves a complex technology. For this, you might require a team that has specific and deep domain expertise for that particular activity. It is not financially practical to recruit an in-house team merely for such a skill-specific project.
This is where outsourcing helps you. For example, if you want a team of developers for custom software development you can look for vendors that are proficient in custom software development.
Offshore outsourcing reduces the overall business operating cost. It eliminates the need to hire permanent employees who have to be paid even after the completion of a project. This, in turn, reduces the cost of training and recruiting.
In most developed countries, companies have the added burden of paying the employees insurance, tax, security benefits and other collateral dues.
Outsourcing benefits in flexibility when it comes to termination of services. It eliminates the need to pay government-mandated compensation while terminating an employee.
With an independent outsourcing contract, they can simply change the service provider if not satisfied with the service.
Outsourcing software development are on a steady rise. More companies are now outsourcing both their major as well as minor projects.
Why do software outsourcings fail?
Even though the trend of outsourcing has grown, it also had high failure rates.
According to the data collected by Dun & Bradstreet’s Barometer of Global, 25% of outsourcing project fails within two years and 50 % of them fail within the first five years.
5 reasons why outsourcing relationships fail
1. Unclear Expectations and Objectives
Client companies often fail to communicate the goal they are trying to achieve and what they are expecting to get out of the outsourcing company. This will drastically affect the outsourcing company’s perspective of the work they have to do.
Without a detailed understanding, orders might have to be changed. This can, in turn, lead to delays and cost overruns. There has to be a clear understanding of what the project entails and preferences. Clients have to be transparent about their goals and keep them realistic. Then you have to make sure that the outsourcing company is on the same page as you.
2. Lack of Clarity
Lack of overall clarity of the business can lead to poor planning. It can lead to a waste of your budget. You must succinctly pinpoint all the essential details about the project. The implications of the project must be communicated properly to the outsourcing vendor and other important stakeholders. A detailed portfolio of your expectations and goals and the entire plan and methodology of the project will help.
3. Insufficient Technical Experience
Most often, companies outsource software development to keep the cost low and also to not hire employees permanently.
The outsourcing company might not have the technical expertise or know-how, it can lead to severe problems, especially in project estimation.
The whole purpose of outsourcing services is to get the work done by somebody that is more equipped at it than your company. Therefore, if the company is not better than your own in-house team or lacks sufficient knowledge, the whole exercise becomes fruitless. You also outsource services expecting better quality than what you can achieve.
Quality that does not meet your market standards also lead to failed projects.
4. Communication Barriers
Clients sometimes do not share information thinking it is apparent.
However, if the outsourcing company is not aware of what they are expected to do, the project will not be finished as is expected.
What might seem apparent might not be apparent to the outsourcing company.
Therefore, all details have to be shared even if it might seem redundant. Ideally, there should not be a communication gap.
It is imperative to hold regular meetings and video conferences as well as exchange feedback.
28% of respondents indicated poor communication as the most important cause of outsourcing projects failure.
According to the white paper released by SourcingFocus.com
Sometimes the reluctance to share information might be due to confidential information which has the risk of being stolen.
To solve this, a confidentiality agreement or a non-disclosure agreement can be signed. This will delineate the security responsibility each party holds. Once this agreement is signed the outsourcing company will be bound not to disclose any information covered in the ambit of the contract.
5. Failure to Fine Tune Contract
Signing a contract with the outsourcing company does end the job of the clients.
The project needs to be managed and under supervision throughout the process.
The main priorities that the clients have should be set out and the project must be planned to the very details before a release date is announced. These details must also be informed to the outsourcing company.
Failure to have a consistent method and planning for the project can lead to a loss. Not every single thing can be planned but the tasks to the nearest milestone must be planned and specific.
These are some of the most common reasons why outsourcing relations and projects fail at a high rate. This can easily be avoided if the clients do their due diligence during the pre-deployment phase of a project.
Choosing the Right Development Partner
The planning that goes into the pre-deployment phase is what ensures a smooth launch post-deployment.
Choosing the right development offshore partner and building a good team can prevent your outsourced projects from failing.
Following are some of the guidelines while choosing your offshore team.
1. Team Skill Set and Expertise
It is extremely important to study and know everything about the team you intend to work with.
You have to collect information about the company, what their skill set is, the expertise of their team, how adept they are with the latest technology, exposure to the latest technology, their portfolio, how effective are they with meeting deadlines, experience in handling different kinds of projects communication etc.
You must look for an offshore outsourcing partner that can give you the appropriate person to handle your account. It is advisable to keep in touch with a developer who is working on your project.
Going for a team that works with hybrid models or agile models will be beneficial for your project. It has to be made sure that they understand what exactly it is that you want and also that they are serious about achieving your project milestones.
2. Market Reputation
Working with the best company can yield you the best results. Therefore, it is important to check up on the market reputation of your prospective partner.
This can be done by taking a look at their client base and completed project history.
You can also look for reviews and feedback from their previous clients, from their website and other social media platforms.
You have to ensure that their services are customer-centric, that is services centered around the needs of the customers. All of these have to be considered before you decide to hire a particular vendor.
3. The Trust and Security Factors
Trust is a very important factor for such a project to succeed.
During the course of the project, you might have to share a lot of information. Sensitive information stands at the risk of being misused.
One of the major security concerns is the intellectual property of the client and the sensitive data.
Before hiring an outsourcing company, you can make sure that they will respect your privacy. The vendor must be somebody who has regular security and network audits.
You have to make sure that they have sufficient infrastructure to protect your data.
4. Scalability and Flexibility
Scalability and flexibility are important elements that you need to consider when you choose the company for your software outsourcing project. You have to check how much scalable their services are and how much customization they can provide. This is an important factor when your business is expanding. The software has to be scalable as per the growth of the business. Your offshore business partner must be able to handle your growing needs.
5. Project Management
There has to be a clear idea as to how the project will be managed. Signing the contract and handing over the project does not end your responsibility.
There has to be constant management throughout the whole process.
All the decision making and planning must go smoothly so that the project does not have any delay. The supervisory role of your client and the management of the project must be decided along with the key terms of the work contract. There must be several channels of communication between your in-house team and the offshore team so that your team can manage and supervise the project.
6. Post Deployment Support
Technical assistance is not only needed during the project put also post-deployment.
A small bug or technical glitch can cause a huge loss to your business. You have to inquire how your offshore partner is going to handle technical issues and updates. There has to be consistent post-deployment support to maintain your product.
Team Set-Up Process and Guidelines
Software that you build or a product that you make is a long-term investment. So is the outsourcing partner you choose. It has to be an addition that will always be valuable to your business. Therefore, it is important to have a great team of developers.
Guidelines to follow while setting up a team.
1. Legal Aspects of Hiring a Dedicated Team
The legal aspects of building a team mainly include three important agreements: Non-Disclosure Agreement or NDA, statement of work or SOW and Master Services Agreement or MSA.
• Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
If your project involves sensitive information that you might have to share with your partner, then it is important to sign an NDA. The agreement must contain what the information entails, and that the information can only be disclosed for project-related purposes. This agreement will legally bind the partner from not disclosing the information. The agreement can also indicate the penalty in the event of a breach.
• Statement of Work (SOW)
The statement of work agreement includes the scope of work, the product that has to be delivered, criteria for acceptance, the time period, the standards, deadline and any other terms and conditions or special requirements.
• Master Services Agreement (MSA)
This agreement is what defines the cooperation with the offshore partner. You have to specify the payment, terms of paying, intellectual property rights, dispute resolution mechanism. The agreement must explicitly indicate that your company will own the copyright to the work that has been done by the team but they will have the rights to it.
2. Set Up Communication Channels
It is important to set effective channels of communication. Most of the communication can be done via online means like video conferencing. But a real-life communication bond has to be made so as to understand the team properly. An in-person conversation will be more effective and supportive.
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3. Establish Procedure
It is important to establish procedures for the work. You have to foresee the questions and problems that the members might have. They should be aware of the work procedure and it has to be ensured that it is followed. There has to be a strict guideline as to who is responsible for what, whom to contact in case of issues etc.
4. Provide Constant Feedback
You have to be responsible in order to manage a team successfully. All the answers and questions of your software engineers have to be answered to make sure you get what you expect. You have to be equipped with the answers. Feedback is what will guide the team as to how their product development is going. There might be a situation where your feedback would dictate the next steps of the team. Therefore, it is important to provide constant feedback.
Examples of Successful Companies that Leverage Dedicated Teams
Apiax is a fintech startup that has proved that outsourcing can be successful business cooperation with the right partner and the right team.
They outsourced their Minimum Viable Product to an efficient Portuguese agency. They provide regulation services to financial service companies. They started off in 2018. However, by the end of the year, they have some of the most sought after clients in the banking industry. Moreover, they were also awarded the Early Stage Startup of the Year at the 2019 Swiss Fintech Awards.
GitHub is another company that went on to immensely succeeds due to their great outsourcing partnership yet again. They were helped by the offshore partner Scott Chacon.
Slack the company that collaborated with MetaLab was valued at $7,1 billion but this year, Slack is getting closer to revenue of $10 billion due to their outsourcing partnership.
WhatsApp has Igor Solomennikov who started as a contractor and later joined the team in California on a full-time basis. Thus, these companies go on to prove that successful outsourcing can revolutionize business.
As an entrepreneur in the technology industry, it is always in your business’s best interest to find innovative ways to bring your product into the market. They have to be faster yet cost-effective.
Fortunately, the technology has advanced so much so that the core competencies of your business can now be taken care of by experts offshore in any part of the world.
Outsourcing has proved to be the most lucrative in the software industry.
It reduced the overall business cost including, compensation, tax, wages etc.
Although there are instances where an outsourcing partnership might fail due to factors such as lack of experience, a poorly drafted contract, communication barriers, unclear objectives etc., it can improve your outcome and make business more financially sustainable for your business.
It is also very easy to mitigate these risks by following a strict guideline while choosing your offshore development partner and also while setting up a team.
With the help of the right software development partner like aTeamIndia, we ensure that your idea gets translated into a market redefining product. Talk to our expert today!
Inspiring your team, brainstorming and forming an idea is both exciting and energizing. Envisioning the ideation of forming something different that solves problems seems wonderful but if that idea is not put through its pace properly, it may face the same problem that many others face i.e. False Value.
Millions of people or companies come up with new innovations every day but not everyone succeeds. The new projects of the companies, especially startups, fail because the ideas are poorly tested which results in false value. Businesses fail to analyze certain things – if the idea is practical or feasible, what resources would be required to build it and would the users or target audience want to use it?
These are the problems which are solved by Proof of Concept (PoC) approach. With Proof of Concept, budding entrepreneurs can determine if the idea is achievable or not.
Let us understand in detail, what Proof of Concept is, why it is important and what the best way to approach it is.
What is Proof of Concept (PoC)?
Let’s start with a basic Proof of Concept Definition in terms of Software development, because it is likely to mean something else than you think.In simple terms, proof of concept is a general approach of testing the idea and determining whether it feasible, viable and can be built in the real world or not. Proof of Concept is to make sure if the idea will strike a chord in the market and win the customers or not.
Let’s say you have an idea that you think stands out and will help people in some way. PoC may not have a direct impact on the market but it will help you find out the functionalities of the idea and how it can be built at a reasonable cost, effectively, and with which technologies. It helps avoid possible technical problems and allows you to obtain feedback at the early stage of the development cycle.
Need for Proof of Concept?
Nearly everyone who comes up with an idea is convinced that it will work. But applying Proof of Concept approach will test the idea and ensure that it arrives at the best version. It will not only save you time and money but will also reduce any possible risks involved.
A proof of Concept is used in the early stage of the development cycle which validates the technical feasibility, identifies possible expectations of a platform and potential blocks. It also determines the scope and requirements of customizations in order to complete the project.
Proof of Concept also identifies performance issues while testing and validates the assumptions made in the ideation process. Along with all that, in the results, PoC also estimates the efforts.
Moreover, you need to persuade stakeholders that your idea is worth investing in. Whether it’s something from the scratch or adding some new features to the already existing software, Proof of Concept will direct you towards the right route.
Besides you, multiple other organizations are involved in creating a project that matters. The Proof of Concept helps bring them into your corner and fully convince them of the actual value and real-time effect of the idea.
When does the need for Proof of Concept arise?
- When it is necessary to check if the idea changes values
- When you have to ensure that the chose plan of workflow is right
- When the limitations for solving a specific problem has to be determined
- When you need to make sure the idea is technically possible
- When it’s necessary to check if the solution matches the expectations of the target audience
Here are some of the questions, the answers to which will help you make out a necessary criteria list, to correctly interpret the results of the finished project:
- Why are we doing this and what are we trying to achieve?
- What are the measurable success criteria?
- Is it achievable in the time frame allowed?
- Is it achievable with the resources available?
- What’s the real value we are hoping to achieve?
- How will it be implemented into the workflow?
- Is there something with which the concept can be compared?
Discovering Your Idea
Ideation is the first stage towards building something and putting it into practice. It is focused on identifying a solution which will solve a particular problem for the end-users. The idea should be something that helps the users and makes a change in the market.
To help visualize the main aspects of the idea that you are trying to develop, these are the things you need to include and define on a Canvas:
1. Problem – After doing a market research, you would gather information regarding the problems your target users face while achieving their goals. A problem statement needs to be prepared with a clear insight, target user / market, which should not include features or solution.
2. User Needs – From Problem Statement, you can identify what the users require and adapt accordingly.
3. Solution – Describe a solution that you want to propose to solve that problem and attend their needs.
4. Features – Based on the solution, a list of features that it offers needs to be added in a priority list. These features should be directly linked to the users’ needs.
5. Competitors – Prepare a list of your main competitors, both direct and indirect.
6. External Factors and other Operations – This includes IP (Intellectual Property), industry standards, targeted market, expected or assumed price, due date.
7. Requirement – Based on all the lists prepared above, a review of which resources would be required. This step can be fulfilled as you go along with the project.
After you have discovered the main idea of the project that you want to build, the idea needs to be analysed by someone with technical knowledge. It’s where the next step starts – Building the Idea – and the Proof of Concept has to be used.
Proof of Concept Process Flow
A Proof of Concept Process flow goes through several iterations – Design, Building and Testing the Product. Once the PoC is accurate and fully captures the functionalities that you intend to add and provides a minimum level of performance, the next step can be started i.e. Prototyping.
A Proof of Concept Process Flow follows these steps:
- Designing – You will need to make a rough sketch or drawing of the product you need to build, which will include the basic functional blocks. This will help once it’s time to create a PoC and Prototype.
- Building PoC – This phase is critical for software development. It will help you analyze the ideation sketches and help understand if they are functional in actuality or not.
- Testing Functionality – Testing phase will determine whether your PoC meets the minimum performances requirements of not, to be accepted by the board members.
- Evaluation – Once the testing is done, the results are to be evaluated to determine which functions or elements need to be redefined. When the evaluation is done, it’s time to repeat the process and test them again.
Building a POC (Proof of Concept)
While developing a Proof of Concept, a detailed study of user needs, preferences and expectations needs to be conducted. Creating Proof of Concept will help you make informed and rational decisions because it shows a clear picture of the software’s future, that you want to build.
Here’s a checklist for the Proof of Concept development:
1. Define your Target audience before writing a PoC
It is unlikely to create a solution that solves everyone’s problems. You need to take into account the needs and preferences of a specific group of users. This will define the target audience and PoC development will help you find the right customers and analyze their feedback. Other than that, conducting a competitor analysis before writing a proof of concept is important. PoC creation will make the task of determining potential customers much simpler and will clarify the relevance of your idea in accordance to the target audience. You need to pay close attention to how the competitors are performing. Analyze their ups and downs and how you can improve.
2. Pre – assessment of the selected solutions
After understanding how your product will solve the users’ problems, it’s time to consider other aspects.
To make the right choice of which platform, programming languages and tools to use for developing and testing the Proof of Concept. This stage will define the market analysis, system maintenance and other requirements.
Taking into account the available funds or investments and calculating the project’s budget.
The more complex the solution, the more it will take to develop the software. Therefore, you can either expand the building time frame or consider optimizing the product’s functionalities. In the first case, the software will be built according to your original idea but in the second case, it will reach the market faster.Track your project development tools with GitHub or Jira.
You need to keep a detailed track record of all the solutions, functions and elements to identify the glitches. With this, you can replicate the PoC at the time of full implementation of the product. Documenting everything will help evaluate the functional requirements and determine whether you are on the right track or need to make further readjustments in design.
Now that you have all the information, it’s time to use it in building the POC, which will imitate the work of user interface. The basic requirements of PoC are Simplicity, Adaptivity, Interactivity and Content. By creating a prototype of Proof of Concept, you will be able to clearly spot the defects, address the shortcomings and find a solution, and you will have the basis of your final product which can be altered as you go along the process.A wireframe is created in this development stage, which is basically a low fidelity representation of the product and shows content, structure and basic visualization of UI interaction. Wireframes are the backbone of the design. Furthermore, a mockup is built which represents the functionalities in a static way to help people review the visual side of the product. Software developers will choose the right framework i.e. front and back-end development, to provide you with the wireframe and mockup which visually represents your idea. This mockup is later used for testing.
You can test the POC on a small group of targeted users and analyze how the software can be enhanced. By this, you will have a solution for further development process. At this stage, you can easily make modifications as per the users’ feedback.
5. Collect market feedback
To improve or scale your product and fill a niche in the market, it is important to collect feedback. It will help you the pain points of the users and you will gain a clear understanding of how your product can solve their issues in a best way, which features are really wanted and which should be removed. For this, different polls, surveys or interviews can be conducted but it is not obligatory to interview a huge group of people, 30-60 people is enough. You can also analyze the existing clients or users (if you have any)The main goal of this stage is to know how you can tailor the product according to their needs and it can be achieved by encouraging users to participate in the survey.
Once the feedback is received and the user requirements are aligned with your solutions, the PoC is successful and the Product is ready for the next stage.
Guidelines for a successful Proof of Concept
- Identify Specific Business Cases – When you identify the technology to be used, it is advisable to have some specific business cases and have the expected outcomes to which both the IT team and end-users agree. This will assist the PoC team to focus on the elements which are important. Furthermore, it will also allow vendors to verify the product’s functionalities, which will help in configuration.
- Map Pain Points to Solutions & Get Feedback – This stage involves brainstorming sessions to solve each pain point which was identified earlier. There can be multiple solutions to each issue but you have to evaluate them and determine how each fit into the process according to your cost, competition, timeline and other technical challenges. After this, you will have a clean understanding of which solutions will be included in the final product. Once the list of main solutions is done, it can be used to get feedback from users and stakeholders. Their reactions and inputs will provide valuable insights.
- Set your Performance Goals – Once you have solved the pain points and identified key elements in regards to the cost, you will be able to set your goals i.e. Return on Investment (ROI) and Key Performance Indicator (KPI), for improvements which will lead to move revenues.
- Track your Metrics – Once the PoC is complete, the KPIs that have been achieved for the PoC, can be compared to the current KPIs that you’re getting from existing systems. Then you and your team can take charge of ROI measurement formulas and avoid any misrepresentation that might have previously been built into the ROI formula, favorable to the solution.
- Get Ready to Prototype – Build a prototype of the product which includes the UI/UX set and other features that are finalized. This prototype will be presented to the stakeholders and the users who were interviewed before to gain insights. The feedback regarding the interface and functionalities will help further improve the product working.
- Set your Investment levels – When PoC is successful and management is on board, the project is ready to implement production and determine a budget. To make sure the product is correctly built, a MVP (minimum value product) is built, which helps you discover the finest execution of PoC that can lead to a successful product.
- Create a Roadmap – Once all the information has been collected and the budget has been approved, it will be easy to create a roadmap. A roadmap is basically a blueprint which consists of all the steps for making the product. It includes an organizational chart of supervised work, list of all the stages of the work that needs to be completed and information of assigned tasks to the members.
Proof of Concept Example
Let’s take a look at these proofs of concept study cases –
1. You want to create a fully functional voice-based product i.e. a personal voice assistant, like Amazon Echo, which uses IoT (Internet of Things) and Artificial Intelligence to provide information as per users’ voice commands. The device will allow users to get news and media updates, make to-do lists, set-up meetings etc.
After the ideation is done, you need to create a concrete Proof of Concept to determine how the idea will work and be executed. The proof of Concept will include all the functionalities, elements of the device and how Natural Language Processing (NLP) will work to send commands through speech. This voice command module can either be built by your own team or enabled by a third-party service provider.
After the coding is done and tested, by capturing audio samples using the microphone of a Smartphone to generate voice segments for commands, PoC can be tested on the potential buyers or users to let them know that the idea is feasible and how the product is fully functional.
2. You want to develop an app that home delivers food to students at night. There are already many apps like this. In this case, Proof of Concept will help you improve your app and make it stand out. In this, POC focuses on determining best technologies to develop a well-optimized application. It will also help build a roadmap.
POC vs. MVP vs. Prototype: What’s the difference?
Even though Proof of Concept and Prototype are used interchangeably, both are different processes meant for different purposes. The both produce different results. Whereas, MVP comes after a successful PoC development process.
Proof of Concept vs. Prototype
Proof of Concept is used to determine whether the idea can be brought to reality and be developed or not. On the other hand, a prototype is created to turn that idea into a skimmed-down version of the final product, which is later tested. A prototype does not include all the features of a market-ready product, but it shows the design, navigation, layouts etc. of the product and shows how to best develop the product.
A Proof of Concept shows that the idea is viable and functional and a Prototype is a draft of the final product, which works as a selling point.
Minimum Value Product (MVP)
Meanwhile, MVP (Minimum Value Product), comes after Proof of Concept is successful. It is the early version of what the final product might be and is more developed than a prototype. MVP is used to identify pain points, determine the functionality, test the usability and marketability of the potential users. With the use of MVP, you can allocate time and budget that can best satisfy the objectives.
Proof of Concept is the most important stage in software development and it cannot be neglected if you are developing a complex, lengthy and costly project.
Note that documentation is the key. You should document every detail and step for your proof of concept projects. This documentation will include everything i.e. installation, configuration, outputs of all the tests performed, feedbacks and final findings.
Documentation will help make all the other members clearly understand the Proof of concept steps and make it easier for the team to replicate the same project, when needed.
Regardless of the POC strategy chosen and results obtained, there will be benefits of this approach.
· It will help you get proof that your idea is worth implementing and help avoid spending a lot of money on something that is not viable.
· You get to have tangible proof to present to the stakeholders and prove that your idea is worthwhile.
Countless successful projects in POC developments are what made us, aTeamIndia, to build this guide. What we focus on is to ensure that the product, even though minimal in functionalities and features, is well designed and performs seamlessly. This POC must solve the problem that is intended to be solved with the final product.
With the help of the right software development partner like aTeamIndia, we ensure that your idea gets translated into a market redefining product. Talk to our expert today!
To know more about aTeamIndia offerings, drop a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Management and Staffing are the two common and most important operational tasks for the service providers in the IT Industry, along with productivity maintenance and performance management. However, the pandemic has turned the tables around and complicated the core of operational metrics for the IT companies all around the world. The overwhelming impact has forced people to self-isolate and work from home. And to stay sustainable in this environment, companies have had to adapt to more flexible management approaches. The trends in the industry have taken a different direction as well and to keep up with the pace, companies are now incorporating the new software development trends into their work environment.
“There’s a whole new era of change. Software Development is in the new phase and is evolving”
The lockdown and office closures have created new chaotic patterns for the operational teams and IT companies are re-evaluating their analytics, software development operations, productivity measures and budget allocations.
Let’s get a clear picture of how 2020 has changed the way IT industry works and where does software development stand –
- There is an unparalleled demand for capacity and speed.
- Remote working has provided an untapped potential for software development companies in the staffing process, as developers are expanding their ecosystems.
- New ways of communication have been enabled i.e. “touch-less” & “virtual” approaches.
- Work from home has affected productivity maintenance as some teams find collaboration or collaborative productivity hard.
Software development has been the pillar for many companies and it continues to be so in 2020 as well. The industry is full of opportunities, however, the landscape is changing. Existing technical skills and practices are being updated constantly. Which is why businesses are picking up and learning the new practices i.e. trends and evolutions in the software development space.
In this article, we will discuss how the industry is evolving and where it is headed, which will help you get insights about the software development landscape. This will help you in further improving your team of developers and keeping up with the rapidly changing industry trends. Furthermore, we will tackle the management-related challenges i.e. hiring, outsourcing and managing developers, creating a top-performing team.
- Software Development Trends 2020
Managing Software Development
Tech companies face a lot of challenges in software development. What are these challenges? Have the issues shifted over the years? Let’s have a look and analyze how they can be tackled by the managers.
According to the report by Coding Sans, Capacity is the biggest challenge, due to its limitation, while the backlog is full. The second challenge being Knowledge Sharing, which suffers when the deadline is near and the backlogs are full.
Biggest Challenges in Software Development
Capacity – This challenge is overcome by implementing agile methods to improve existing practices by training developers to use them and hiring more developers to increase the work-load. Recruiting or outsourcing to contractors, both practices work.
Sharing Knowledge – Sharing knowledge is a means to optimize work routine, mentoring juniors and setting up a system for software developers. Pair programming and code reviews are the most common ways to share knowledge.
Though the challenges differ for developers and managers due to the differences in their job roles. Let’s take a look at the chart which depicts the biggest challenges faced by Managers, over the years 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Biggest Challenges faced by Managers
It was noted that the top most challenge for managers was Capacity, followed by second hiring talent, which has not changed for the last 3 years. The lack of workforce is still an industry-wide problem faced by the managers and naturally, the developers are less worried about hiring and more concerned about knowledge sharing between the team members.
Furthermore, there can be seen a significant disparity in Time management over the years, which has declined for good. And the rest of the challenges are evening out.
Outsourcing Software Development
Dealing with Capacity is the top-most challenge faced by tech companies, along with hiring developers.
“Outsourcing software development seems to work as a quick fix for the Capacity & Hiring problem.”
According to the report, 37,38% of the companies have fully or partly outsourced software development to contractors in the last 12 months, while 62,52% haven’t fully grasped the idea.
The percentage further divides into three categories – Software Development Companies, Freelancers and Both. 56% of the work was outsourced to the software development companies, 25% to the freelancers and rest 19% was mixed of both.
Out of the companies who opted for outsourcing, only 17.17% were dissatisfied with their outsourced work.
These numbers clearly show that the demand for software development companies i.e. agencies or contractors has surged up. Companies facing staffing challenges are now more inclined towards outsourcing the work, and here is why –
Around 83% of the developers are either not actively looking for a job or interested in new job opportunities. This may be because they are highly satisfied with their current job, which leaves less managers with the low bandwidth of talent available in the market.
Only 17.3% of developers are actively looking for a job, while 25.1% are not interested in new opportunities.
Considering the employment status of the developers, 70.99% of professional developers are already employed as a full-timer. Looking at the data, a total of 92% of the professional developers are employed at-least as a part-timer. 12% of all the hired software developers are students and 8.9% freelancers or contractors.
Though the data was recorded during the pre-pandemic period and since the dynamics have now changed, there has certainly been a rise in outsourcing of software development. Even the companies which were not open to it before are now making a gradual shift towards the new ‘redefined’ scenario.
Remote work is how companies are sustaining in 2020. It’s not the ‘future’ anymore, it’s the current scenario.
There has been a dramatic acceleration in Digital Transformation and the way of working has completely changed.
“Remote working is the present”
76.54% of the companies allowed remote work in the past year and more companies are planning on implementing it.
At the rate at which things have changed or are changing and companies are adapting to the new working practices, the trends show that there will be further rise in remote work culture.
Tools and Tech
In this section, we’ll glance over the most popular programming languages and tools used for testing, project management, version control and communication. With time, new technologies are gradually pacing up and gaining momentum.
Programming Languages Trends –
Going further down the list, TypeScript (26.32%) has edged out Python and C in terms of popularity. Additionally, Ruby and Swift lost ground over the years.
Development Tools Trends –
A wide variety of tools are used by the developer teams for testing, project management and communicating while working on a project. There are a plethora of tools all of which can not be listed on charts but here are the most popular software development tools in 2020. The following charts, in no particular order, are from the Stack Overflow and Coding Sans reports of Software Developing Trends 2020.
GitHub (82%) is the most commonly used Collaborative Tool by professional developers. Slack is the second favourite of 53%.
For Testing – 75.25% of the companies use tools for software testing. Out of which, Jest (34.22%) is the most used testing tool, followed by Selenium (29.66%).
24.75% of the companies do not use any software testing tools and when asked about the limitations of using software testing tools, these were the factors that were mentioned.
According to the survey, the chart below shows the most popular Project Management, Communication and SCM (Source Control Client) Tools of 2020.
Slack remains the most popular tool used by developer teams.
Earlier, most of the software development companies used to communicate face-to-face, the project deadlines, milestones or releases were mostly done in-person. Around 60% of the tasks were communicated via in-person meetings, followed by 46% which relied on tracking tools.
Though considering other factors, there has been a massive trend change in recent times and Tools like Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and Zoom have gained immense popularity, taking a step forward. Due to the fast-paced digitalization happening around the world at the moment, the demand for communications has rapidly increased. So far so, Google Hangouts (now termed as Google Meets) and Microsoft have made these tools free for organizations to use. This is the result of more companies allowing remote work.
The tech companies are always on the lookout to update their tech tools to improve their overall work efficiency. Innovations happen quickly and hence, there is always ongoing research about new development tools. Around 75% of developers tend to learn new technology at least every few months or once a year to keep improving their skillset.
Hiring developers is a crucial part for companies and it is a challenge for managers, along with employee retention.
These are the hiring practices used over the last 3 years and out of all the methods of hiring developers, it’s seen that employee referral is still the most popular one. Followed by in-house recruitment (14.16%). However, Online portals and recruitment agencies have been slowly gaining momentum.
Currently, with most of the work being handled remotely, the usage of online portals might see a further increment.
Looking at the criteria of the companies, while hiring developers – “willingness to learn” remains the most essential trait. Cultural Fit being the second, followed by Technical Skill Evolution and then comes the work experience which seems a little less important now than it was years ago.
“Soft Skills have surpassed College Degree”
Companies are now emphasizing on factors other than formal education, for instance – Soft Skills are also evaluated and according to the survey, they have surpassed formal education. However, when the professional developers were asked for their stance on formal education, this was the result –
Importance of Formal Education
Around 84% of the professional developers feel that formal education is at least somewhat important. However, 16% believe that it is not at all necessary.
“Hands-on experience experience matters more than having a piece of paper – Education Degree”
Another challenge for managers after hiring the right talent is to retain them when there is already scarcity in the industry. Managers need to keep their developers’ team motivated, while they work to keep them satisfied with the job. Most of the companies keep their team motivated by showing team spirit and providing challenging or engaging work. There’s also an emphasis on Autonomy and creating a unique product.
While these are the traits the managers look for while hunting talent, let’s have a look at what developers expect from a job.
Company’s culture seems to be the most important factor for the developers, which is why employer branding is important. Most of the companies put themselves out there as a workplace with a cool working environment but if the employer branding is done right, it will make your company more visible and transparent for potential employees, making them more likely to apply.
For this, there has to be honesty, with a clear picture of the company’s policies and culture. Furthermore, the job position has to be defined carefully and clearly, stating the requirements and task description of the job. Once the accurate picture is out there in the market, the hiring process is more effective.
Performances of the developers differentiate them into average and top-performing teams. The performance is measured on various metrics.
As you can see, working software is the number 1 measurement for top performers. Completed tasks come next in line. Though the difference between the measurements is small, it is significant.
It is noted that top-performers focus more on code readability and test coverage. When it comes to problems faced by them, they face delivery problems with the lack of defined deliverables and making correct estimations.
Whereas, the biggest problem faced by average developers is unrealistic expectations, followed by the two same problems faced by top-performers. Along with that, there are also issues of missing key skills or coordination.
Meanwhile, managers face problems such as unrealistic expectations, estimations, requirements and prioritization and the budgeting.
There have been ground-breaking changes in the tech industry since last year. The pandemic has altered software development trends in one way or another. From hiring teams to retaining them, managing teams to meeting the business objectives – the way of working and task implementation has taken a new direction.
This article has covered all the current trends, what challenges do the software development company managers face, how the organizations are altering their tactics and the estimations of what is there to come in future.
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