Offshore development process: why you need it and how to make it work for you – Part 1
Offshore Process: why you need it and how to make it work
We all know that many consulting companies have their offshore arms in countries like India, China and other parts of the world. They recruit resources In these countries as it cost them a lot less compared to a US or Europe.. based resource, with same skill sets. Having both US and offshore based resources allows consulting companies to offer a blended rate to their customer and thereby reduce their customer’s total cost of ownership(TCO).
If you are a SAP consulting company, customers expects you to have your offshore development center. This is a must have in order for a consulting company to survive in today’s competitive market. As I was tasked with helping with offshore operation for my company, I learned many important aspects of running a offshore development process. Using this blog, I would like to share with you what I have learnt about offshore development process and would expect others to contribute their ideas and wisdoms on this subject.
1. Offshore process – how to prepare the right way
1.1. Recruiting offshore development team: This is the very first step for starting your offshore development team. You need to have a good mix of junior, mid-level and senior resources in your offshore team. You need make sure that senior resources in your team come with good experience of both technical and functional side of SAP. Make sure that the senior resources together have experience in SAP logistics and FI CO modules. Some of the mid-level and senior resources can help with enforcing quality controls such as peer code reviews and code quality cheek. In addition to technical resources, if you can hire some functional consultants, if would be even better. Functional consultants can not only support the team with testing development, they can also take up some tasks such as developing functional specs, creating test plans and test data, test scripts etc.
1.2. Recruiting on site coordinator: Once you have your offshore team ready, you need to have a senior techno functional person at the project site to take up the job as an on-site coordinator. The on-site coordinator will be responsible for participating in functional specification hand off meeting, understand the business requirement and send the work to offshore team for development. This role requires one to have an excellent communication and people skills and be a good team player. Prior experience with playing this role will be very helpful. In most cases one on site coordinator per project is good but you may choose to have multiple based on the offshore development scope. The on-site coordinator will have daily conference calls with offshore team to make sure that offshore development is on right track, any open questions from offshore team are answered in timely manner and the status of the offshore development is communicated to the project manager. The on-site coordinator also should try to make sure that offshore team is performing all tests and quality cheeks before they deliver the development object to on site team for testing. The on-site coordinator will play a critical role to establish the credibility of the offshore tem and earn confidence of the project team.
1.33. Training project team on offshore development process: Before you start executing offshore development process, you must train your project team members. This training should introduce project team members to each step of offshore process, roles and responsibilities, tools and templates that will be used during this process. Please be careful to stay realistic and set the right expectation with the team about the offshore process. Talk to them about common challenges that are faced in most offshore projects and educate them on how to be prepared and what to do in order to meet the challenges and mitigate the risk. Making offshore process successful is going to be a team effort and you need to make sure that all team members are on the same page before you roll out and start executing the process.
In the next part of this blog, I will go over the execution part of the offshore process…
Please post comments, experience and lessons learned related to offshore process….