Over 11+ years, we’ve completed numerous projects that often stretch over more than 1 year (longest is 10 years!). They start from concepts, to development, on-going live support and enhancements. So what should you look for in outsourcing that could make an idea a lasting and sellable product?
I’m convinced it’s customer service. And we achieve it by teamwork.
Strong team structure
I recommend a team structure of Project Manager, Technical Lead, Software Developer, and QA officer. Now, it doesn’t mean you have to hire all these people full time. Our package allows you to have all these roles on-demand. And I can ascertain you cost saving remains attractive.
- Project manager: this person champions the domain knowledge necessary to deliver a user-friendly product that your customers actually use. He/she also oversees daily operation of the team to make sure quality and schedule are met.
- Technical lead: this person steps in to help the technical personnel/team acquire the desirable skills to build your product. He makes sure software developers always evolve in their know-hows. More practically, he jumps in hands-on when there’s a technical crisis.
- Software developers: they write code daily!
- QA officer: this person takes care of testing completed tasks before releasing to you for final review.
In addition, please do understand that putting qualified individuals together doesn’t guarantee they’ll work well as a team. They must also like each other. What we do is we organise lots of team eating times. (Yeah! that’s how Vietnamese bond).
Communication between outsourcing team and overseas customers are paramount to project success. Although these days online collaboration dominates many sectors, we must not take it for granted. A Skype or Whatsapp group alone is not enough to call good cross-border communication.
I’d like to define clear communication as follows:
- Write down everything (documentation): You’ll be surprised how things you never thought of actually pop up when you start typing down. Develop a template, and continually improve that template. Too busy? Then make sure your vendor do it for you after a conference call. And always read it through carefully and critically.
- See it for yourself (make it visual): sketch it up. As customers, you can simply use paper and pen to draw the essential screens of your product. Sometimes you don’t need to go into every detail of what each screen must contain. Having said that, make sure you have a good flow of important clicks (from one screen to another). Sometimes our customers provide UI/UX design of your product. That often works very well. Otherwise, we’ll develop one based on your paper-and-pen sketches.
- Talk about it: even with the above, we still need to talk about it through conference calls or chat to clarify essential points. Be patient. Repetition is key to understanding.
Note: don’t just say “a picture’s worth a thousand words” and refuse to document your requirements down in words. You may not have time for it, you can ask your vendors to do it instead. Give them that amount of time. Just don’t skip it. You’ll thank me later 😉
I can go on with more benefits of teamwork. And you probably already know them. Unfortunately, somehow when it comes to outsourcing, people often forget that.
When outsourcing to Vietnam, look for customer service. And to make that last for a long run, it boils down to excellent teamwork. Contact us now for a free consultation.