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Remote software development teams — How to minimize risk

Roman Yakovchuk

Hemispheres and time zones won’t stand in the way of cooperating with a remote software development team. We also know what to focus on for that collaboration to start in the first place. Now it’s time to take a look at how to minimize any risks of working with remote developers.


Face your fears

When it comes to software outsourcing, it’s good to classify your fears. Sometimes it’s enough to ask a few questions that will help you verify whether there’s really anything to be afraid of. Here are some common anxieties we hear (and our ways of dealing with them).

I won’t have control over my remote software team

You need to check the following:

  • What are the potential partner’s references?
  • Does the partner schedule regular meetings to present the results and to plan further stages of the project?
  • Does the team deliver tools for work progress analysis and time reporting (even precisely to the minute)?
  • Is the speed in which the partner will react to the client’s prompts and requests marked out in the agreement?

We’ll have communication problems

Videoconferences, emails, and chats aren’t everything. Always pay attention to those issues:

  • Can the team implement their solutions quickly?
  • Will they adapt their meeting hours to your expectations?
  • Can your partner spend some time in your headquarters to work by your side and get to know your business a little better?
  • Do they have a Finnish-speaking project management team in Finland?

I’ll have difficulties in controlling the budget

The matter of budgetary control is still the focus of many debates. Usually, two voices can be heard — those of fixed price fans and time and material supporters. Time and material models allow more flexibility and you’ll know exactly what you’re paying for.

I’ll lose control over the form of the project

Involving the customer in planning the consecutive stages of the tasks and progress presentations is one thing, but their actual influence on functional changes is another. It’s worth to get to know your future partner and make sure you’ve got these things down:

  • Does the potential partner put emphasis on the creation of prototypes? What’s their quality?
  • Does the partner understand your business, trying to be a consultant, and not only a contractor?

 The team won’t handle the product’s future development

Your product will have to expand or the scope will change. You should do an early check to see if the partner has experience in dealing with long-term co-operation.

Other important issues include:

  • Which technologies the team specializes in
  • Deeloper skills and abilities who can be available
  • How long it takes for a software house to build a team
  • Procedures ensuring a continuity of work in the project (such as senior developers supervising the juniors. Fresh and original ideas can be yet another benefit).

And one more thing.

You can’t forget that you and your hired crew are playing for the same team. You’ll all want to grow and face new challenges. This should make you sleep easier already!