Many great albums have been made with the musicians involved never meeting in the studio. Instead, they would send in their recorded tracks, or just work individually. The mix and mastering finally would make it all come together. Those records were no less magical.
This kind of remote co-operation can also work in the IT industry, where the client’s HQ and the development team is separated by hundreds (or even thousands) of kilometers.
Long distance relationships for beginners
The distance between partners – or the time difference – can only be a formality. Yet before you start working with a company supplying remote software development teams a few things must be considered:
This seems obvious. However, remember that it’s not only the issue of communicating with your partner’s representatives, but also the entire hired team. It’s good to check in advance if the company allows for direct contact with the developers – and if they speak the client’s language.
Does the potential partner use software development methodology that’s familiar to the client, or at least popular in the client’s country? Also, it’s worth knowing whether the potential partner is ready to have their developers working in the client’s head office for a period of time.
Naturally, it’s hard to associate a country with a particular technology, but it is worth checking if certain solutions suggested by the partner aren’t just a little bit too unusual. A good partner should propose a technology that will maximize the effects of your solution.
Experience and long-term partnership
A history of long-term co-operation with clients from various countries is evidence of:
- The agility of the contractor,
- Trust: if so many clients placed their confidence in the contractor, it has to mean something!
- Experience: knowledge gained from many different markets.
This must be approached from a few angles:
- Does the partner familiarize the client with the processes and method of work?
- Does the partner supply the CVs of people assigned to the project?
- Does the partner supply the tools for an ongoing progress assessment and project calculations?
- Does the partner start the co-operation with delivering an MVP, and is it guaranteed that the collaboration can be tested before any major decisions are made?
The verification of all those issues can be an obvious (but necessary) first step: either to realizing that remote software development-based cooperation can be very successful… or that it can be as bad as working with the people next door.
Naturally, some issues I’ve touched upon require elaboration. We’ll discuss co-operation control methods and risk-minimizing in a later post.
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