Software development outsourcing helps companies decrease costs and get to market faster, so it’s no wonder companies of all sizes take advantage of this model. According to a 2019 report by Computer Economics, software outsourcing services are on the rise. Large organizations have increased the percentage of their IT budgets spent on outsourcing from 6.3% to 8.7% in 2018. Medium-sized companies raised their budgets from 4.7% to 6.5%.*
Our clients emphasize such benefits as cost-effectiveness and flexibility as the most significant factors led them to transition to a remote software development model. It has removed the challenges and delays traditionally associated with in-house development.
In our work, we focus on four main goals for effective cooperation with clients:
- Increase the level of quality
- Lower the cost of delivery
- Improve user experience
- Grow revenue
Tomasz Liberski, Espeo’s service delivery director explains our strong focus on four core values mentioned above which generate mutual understanding and customer satisfaction.
“We want to be for our clients’ next door digital partner. We structure our work in the way that we become part of our client’s internal team — not only in terms of communication but what’s more important in terms of understanding the strategic goals. We want to be sure that our work fits in more general company’s business development plan. Our focus on four key values helps us be inline with our client’s business growth strategy. This way we build partnerships for years not months.”
Remote cooperation with clients? We can do it!
Remote work requires good planning and communication setup. From our experience, the project start stage is crucial to understand basic client needs, meet key business goals, and prioritize our tasks. Here is some more detailed information on how we organize the project start phase to meet all client’s expectations and build a solid ground for future cooperation.
So how to organize work with a client who we can’t meet face-to-face? First of all, we have to be flexible. Our approach is to bridge the gap of remoteness.
“We adjust the time of our status meetings to the time convenient for our client,” said Liberski. “We make sure our client is well-informed on the progress of our work and can follow each important aspect of the process. We involve the client in each significant decision to get his full understanding before next steps. Flexibility also means that during the most vital points in the project like the kickoff, the workshops, and then the milestones, we are open to meet face-to-face with the client — traveling to client’s premises or inviting the client to visit us — that really depends on the client.”
If we have opportunities, we take the whole team to meet with the client and take part in workshops. However, modern technology allows us to use another efficient way of communicating. We can talk with them online through one of several available mediums, which allows us long and effective discussions using video. At Espeo, emphasize professionalism and good relationships with clients, so we always make sure that our audio and video is of very good quality. Why do we prefer video to audio calls?
“I think video is important,” said Liberski. “We try to make sure that all the clients are able to communicate with us this way. It’s more engaging when you can see the person’s reactions or when you can see the facial expression when the person delivers the communication. I think that it’s easier to maintain focus during those calls with video. This is something that we stress as very important to us.”
Because we engage with the client as a team working in iterations we need good-quality communication with the client. To guarantee effective collaboration, we choose market-proven tools. We use tools such as Slack which enables instant messaging and makes our everyday communication easier. These apps usually have a lot of useful features, such as creating channels based on particular projects, which also help us communicate better and more effectively. Slack is our first choice of communication tools as it naturally connects our team with our client’s team. It creates a shared channel between our and our client workspaces — the way that neither we nor the client needs to switch owned workspaces in order to communicate with each other. A shared channel is visible and available from both workspaces.
“We can engage in a conversation, attach files or even link the code from the repository or the comments and have an instant conversation in the team on these specific fora,” said Liberski. Using these tools is a better and faster solution than sending email hoping that the client actually interprets it in the right way and quickly gives the response. We’re betting on collaboration in terms of working closely with a client in one team with an aligned goal,” he added.
Working with people in distant time zones
We work for clients all over the world so with 10+ years of experience we’ve learned how to run communication in different time zones. Time differences are not an issue for us. We simply agree on a time that’s convenient for both of us. This means we work for our US clients during evening hours we agree on. Tomasz Liberski finds it crucial in long-term cooperation that we all agree on a fixed hour for our daily meetings. “We always try to fit into our client’s schedule and pick the most convenient communication method, he said.”
Remote but agile
At Espeo we’re focused on providing remote development teams, and we wouldn’t choose any other method than agile development to run our projects.
“In short, transparency, increased efficiency and the financial gain for both us and the customer are reasons enough to maintain and develop our agility,” said Liberski.
Naturally, agile does not answer all the questions, nor is the remedy to all problems – but we encourage our customers to adopt agile methods. In our view, these are the most beneficial ones in terms of business value, transparency, and productivity.
In our agile project model, a product owner’s role is usually placed on the client’s side.
Daily scrums are optional for the client. That goes back to scrum methodology were the daily team meetings (scrums) are really for the team. The product owner can participate but shouldn’t really interfere. That’s tied with the goal of the two-week segments, called sprints. Ideally, goals should not change until the next sprint.
Espeo client’s feedback
Our clients appreciate our way of communicating, our flexibility, and our professionalism. “We focus on communication that’s related to the product but at the same time, we maintain a very good relationship with the client by keeping in touch all contact people such as the project managers and developers with product owners on client’s site. This way we keep a bit of a personal touch but still maintain the structure of communication strongly focused on certain aspects at the right time.”
“We learn from our projects, we learn from the past and constantly adapt so all future projects benefit from our constant improvement,” said Liberski.
*Source: Global Software Outsourcing Market Report 2018-2023, study by Computer Economics