How it works Outsourcing Shoring

How it works at ERNI: Outsourcing and shoring

Nearshoring as a way to focus on the core business and let a nearby location take care of your software development is around for some decade. However, the competition among nearshore locations in Europe has intensified and it is not an easy decision to pick the right one for your needs.

The broadly targeted advantages that nearshoring brings with it remain:
1. cost-efficiency
2. access to specific knowledge, expertise and tools
3. flexibility of workforce, not bound to the bench if no project available
4. efficiency improvement
5. delivery of higher added value based on realised projects and experiences

Outsourcing a project – yes. But how does it work in real-life? Here is one of our case studies.

Initial situation

Our customer, a global player and market leader in textile quality control, produces systems for ensuring quality and competitive products with a long lifecycle. We’d already had a well-established long-term partnership and, based on past experience with the development teams in Bratislava, they decided to develop two more applications with us. The customer especially valued the good communication, technical skills as well as available UX/UI experts and flexibility. Both of the applications have been successfully launched and the project finalised. The customer developed the hardware, electronics and mechanical design of a measurement appliance and some embedded software written in C. A desktop/touch application needed to be developed as well – here we came into play – already acquainted with the sensors of the hardware and actively coming up with functionalities.

Challenges

At the very beginning of the partnership, the customer did not have any experience with the Agile methodology and Scrum, but they were open to trying it out. Also, this was the first time that both hardware and software had been developed using Agile methodology. The hardware and software had different sprint durations – the hardware was developed in 6-week-long iterations and the software within 3-week-long iterations. Also, there were different teams for taking care of the hardware development and the software development; therefore alignment and coordination between the teams was needed.

Team and the project

Within the project, distributed teams had to work together. The customer’s team was located in Switzerland and the software development team in Bratislava, Slovakia. In Switzerland, one developer and the product owner were part of the team. In Slovakia, we had covered the work with five developers, two testers, an owner proxy and a scrum master. We not only had online meetings with the customer sharing the Scrum board but also regular video standups, calls and chats. To enable the possibility of end users to connect and send their measured data, the customer also had a management tool for direct production analysis, so our development team had to synchronise regularly with the team who developed the management tool. This was necessary for smooth communication between the management tool and the applications. The Scrum master had regular meetings with the PO to discuss if everything was running as planned and, of course, also with the team as a retrospective on what was and was not running optimally.

Solution and result

As a response to the customer’s demand, we have provided a technical analysis, requirements engineering and best practices for software development and testing. We have also coached the customer on the Agile methodology and the coworking of distributed teams. Before the partnership, limited resources were the bottleneck of the customer’s product pipeline. The focus had always been on the hardware – software played a less important role. With more resources, know-how, cost-effectiveness and power on the software side, their room for innovation has opened up. Software in general has become a key differentiator and the source of an additional revenue stream. The customer successfully reduced their time-to-market. We have received positive feedback, especially in regard to the setup of the testing and our approach towards quality.

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