If you’ve arrived here after reading the previous chapter on the remote software development industry, it’s fair to say that you’re seriously considering looking for a suitable partner. However, there are a few important questions you need to ask yourself before we go any further.
- What is your long-term business strategy? What you need from a remote development partner will always be shaped by your product or business’ long-term plans. For instance, if you believe that your core competency doesn’t lie in software but in marketing, you may be better off looking for a partner who can provide you with long-term stability when it comes to remote developers. Then, you can focus on marketing while the partner takes care of the engineering aspect. On the other hand, if you envision building your own engineering center someday, you need to look for a partner who will work with you in the interim, with the understanding that they will help facilitate the transition and so on.
- Are you organised enough to onboard and manage an external team? Before you go out and hire a remote development team, you must look inwards and conclude whether your company is organised enough to hire and manage an external team of remote developers. The answer will lie on a spectrum and will decide what kind of a remote development team you can work with realistically. When evaluating your own readiness to manage an external development team, consider the following:
- Do we have a product roadmap? Before development can even begin, you need to possess a vision for how the end result would turn out to be. In the field of software development, the more detailed this vision (i.e. the product roadmap) is, the better. Typically, a detailed product roadmap is one that consists of comprehensive product documentation and UX blueprints. As the product owner, if you don’t possess any of these, consider whether you’d like the development partner to help develop these assets. If the answer is yes, some development partners will commission a design and discovery exercise that will result in converting your idea into a high-quality product roadmap developers can make sense of. In our experience, a lot of product owners tend to possess a very limited and abstract vision for their product. But vagueness is the exact opposite of what developers desire (which is clarity and direction). Without a clear product roadmap, potential development partners you talk to won’t even be able to give you a realistic quote.
- Is there someone on our team who can act as a product owner? In an agile software project, the product owner (PO) is the go-between, and is tasked with figuring out what end users want. The PO is then expected to translate these needs into product features and priority lists. A development partner will never be close enough to the end user to know all this, which is why we recommend that the PO be someone from your in-house team. If you don’t have someone on your team who can take on this role, try to hire someone or free up an existing team member who is a good fit for the role.
- Can our in-house developers coexist with the remote team of developers? The way developers write code may be the same, but the way they approach problems, think, and go about their daily work can be vastly different. When choosing a remote development team, you must try to ensure that the remote team’s culture, processes, language of communication etc. mesh well with those of your own in-house developers.
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