And for the own IT department, it is often not so easy to keep up with constantly changing requirements in addition to daily operations. After all, this would also mean continuous further training for the own staff in a company. “The decision on outsourcing and offshoring is becoming increasingly important for the success of companies,” writes the ZHAW School of Management and Law in Winterthur in a study and sees, in particular, a trend towards nearshoring.
Combining agile development methods and offshoring
“In the service and IT sector, in particular, Swiss companies are facing major challenges due to cost pressure and the availability of skilled personnel,” the scientists state. In addition, more and more software development projects have to be carried out faster and more cost-effectively, whereby requirements are constantly changing.
Many companies now use agile methods such as Scrum which can help to increase flexibility and speed. At the same time, offshoring and nearshoring are intended to achieve the greatest possible cost advantages. A contradiction? Not necessarily. Because both approaches can be combined quite well with each other.
However, some organizational, psychological and technical changes are usually necessary to make the transition from traditional to agile offshoring. In agile development, for example, direct cooperation with the users of a product or application is expressly requested in order to receive unfiltered feedback and quickly improve the solution. But how is this supposed to work if the software is written on the other side of the globe?
Restructuring in the organization is usually necessary
If working with distributed teams is already a challenge in traditional projects, whether due to different time zones, language barriers or general cultural differences, the required self-organization of the teams with agile methods is an additional hurdle for successful projects. Gone are the days when offshore teams mainly accepted simple assignments and completed them as cheaply as possible. If you want to combine agile development with offshoring, you will hardly be able to avoid restructuring your organization.
This is the only way to implement projects for customers at high speed and to quickly implement suggestions for improvement. Since the development of mobile apps is usually a relatively small project compared to other software projects, it is ideally suited to be carried out in another country by local programmers with the help of agile methods. The current trend towards Progressive Web Apps (PWA) also benefits offshoring.
With the help of DevOps, the entire process can be further optimized. The increasing digitalization of business models requires continuous management of software, web and mobile applications with flexible adaptability. DevOps – the efficient cooperation of the areas software development (=DEVelopment) and system administration (=IT OPerations) as well as quality assurance in the entire life cycle of applications – also requires a fundamental change in corporate culture and philosophy.
Outsourcing of quality assurance is popular
In addition to the creation of mobile apps and PWA, the development of web applications, solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT), communication and data interfaces, database applications as well as system software and device drivers are also outsourced.
There are also many good reasons for outsourcing quality assurance: This allows developers to concentrate on the essentials – the development of useful functions – and specialized partners usually offer test services at a lower price. However, there is often a lack of in-house personnel to handle the upcoming tests before a new release within a reasonable period of time. In this case, outsourcing helps to bring software with assured quality to the market faster.