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Mastering collaboration with outsourced developers: 10 tips from task definition to ongoing support

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#Management 22 may 2023
  • Dmitri Alex

    CBDO EU

The most expensive phase of building a website or mobile app is typically web development. Therefore, it is essential to find every way to reduce the development team's workload. However, most of the time, things go differently.
The business world often has high expectations for quick and perfect results. Developers need details to work effectively, and without them, they may proceed based on their own interpretation. While good developers can help fix issues that arise, it is more efficient to collaborate and provide clear guidance to avoid misunderstandings and save time.

In order to prevent such a situation, this article will explore how to speak the same language with the development team and provide effective collaboration.

At imaga, a leading custom development company, we participate in international projects and conferences, keep up with global trends, and have a solid understanding of the particulars of the development market. We gathered crucial recommendations that will help you communicate with the development team. With its help, you can clearly explain your task to developers and determine whether they can finish it quickly and on schedule.

Define the task In the First Place

When cooperation is only being planned, the issue of defining the task becomes important. Further interaction will begin here, so it's critical to define the issue as precisely as you can. Above all, be clear and specific. Describe it in a way that suits you, taking into account the demands, desires, and needs of the business and its divisions. This might be a 10-point memo or a visual presentation.
If you know how to define a task, you are less likely to forget the following essential details:
  • project objectives,
  • description of the system user roles,
  • functional and non-functional requirements,
  • technical stack requirements,
  • information security requirements,
  • requirements for a set of intermediate artifacts such as technical specifications, prototypes, design layouts, test cases, code, and product.

But don't be scared if you can't do it. This is serious work, seek assistance from experienced professionals.

You can also refer to the experience of competitors: see what colleagues in the industry use, select references that best illustrate the concept of ​​your project. You can also attach a website or mobile app whose functionalities you like and use frequently.

1. Establish the interaction format

Consider whether there are specific requests regarding the development team. How do you prefer to communicate: offline or online? The productivity of the project will depend on the language of negotiations, the time zone, as well as performers' mindset.
Use a full-cycle agency if your project is large and complex for more efficient work.

2. Assess the development team's Hard Skills

Pay attention to the meeting's purpose, organization, and interlocutor's level of expertise. It is important to note two hard skill levels here:
Technical level: Here, it's critical to pay attention to the development team's technical solutions (i.e., the technology stack they'll use) and the justifications they provide. If the team describes to you the benefits and drawbacks of the selected solutions and has access to a variety of additional tools and programming languages, you can trust the contractor's expertise.

User level: ask to see examples of completed projects, especially close to yours. Notice how they talk about task management. It should be clear to you whether the team can work in the long term, completing the project strictly in accordance with the specifications, and whether it can function flexibly. Find out what the company has done for its clients` business, including metrics it raised to the required level or improved.

3. Assess the development team's Soft Skills

Soft skills are also important. The experience and knowledge of developers is an undeniable advantage. When they show awareness of market trends and share past work and client feedback, they build trust in their team's ability to handle future projects.
Compatibility is crucial when a customer hires a development team. Does the outsourcing team consider your opinion? If the answer is negative, it is necessary to discuss such awkward situations with the contractor and create communication guidelines that will suit both of you.

4. Forecast service costs

New requests for the development team frequently arise during work from the client side. It has an impact on the project's overall cost. Defining the task, you must set the budget limits that you are going to pay for this project. Then the development team will consider it assessing the project and implementation timeline.
An important point that affects the cost of the project is the composition of the team. Companies with broad expertise and staff can offer flexible models of cooperation:
  • Fixed price – price and terms are fixed;
  • Agile dedicated team – the client hires a team for a certain period, the contractor manages this team;
  • Outstaff – the contractor assigns a number of workers to the customer's project management team (everything will be under your control except for the accounting).

5. Ensure proper project support from developers

New tasks might emerge during the project development process, so it's crucial to collaborate with one another to plan the implementation of these tasks in advance. This will provide the perfect project support.
Outsourcing development involves an assembled team. The development team should have already chosen the right specialists, know how to assign tasks, and have the flexibility to change the team during the project (disconnect or reconnect the necessary developers).

The one-stop-shop strategy offers significant benefits for clients. As a client, you have a single point of contact for all your questions. There's no need to navigate through various departments and task managers – the project manager handles it all for you.

6. Understand development stages

Get acquainted with the key development stages for digital solutions before estimating the project timeline. This knowledge will be beneficial for a more precise estimation of the timeline and understanding of the responsibilities of the contractor.
Key development stages include:
  1. Consumer Research;
  2. design and system analysis;
  3. business Intelligence;
  4. design;
  5. development;
  6. planning for regular releases of new versions;
  7. support and advancement of the finished project.

You may not need some of these functions, for example, if you already have the interface design of your project. In this case, you only speak with the development team about the items that are missing.

7. Prepare for product launch and user onboarding by developers

Always check in with the project office how the product release is progressing and how it is coordinated with the marketing team's efforts to promote the product.
Finding out what guidelines and documents will be included with the digital solution is also crucial. This has an impact on the product's subsequent usability and onboarding of new staff members and users.

8. Talk about post-release project support

The developed product is similar to an ecosystem that starts to live and grow from the moment of release. Talk to your contractor about post-release support for your project. Support may be provided under different conditions and include ongoing development, for instance by an agile dedicated team.
imaga company always considers the possibility of supporting the product we have developed, so we have figured out how to do it with the least amount of time and money.

9. Evaluate work cost and extra fees

The objective components are services and the number of hours allocated for development.
It is necessary to carry out a pre-project study so that the project doesn't exceed the required list of functions for the final product and the allotted budget. The final technical requirements are created on the basis of this study. By following this process, you can avoid unexpected extra fees.

10. Gauge development speed

Inquire about the work breakdown and the time needed to complete each subtask from the development team. So, the project is divided into stages, stages into tasks and time sprints for which these tasks are scheduled to be completed. These facts allow for the prediction of the project's timing.
Make sure the company is following the schedule and roadmap to prevent deviations from the plan and unanticipated costs.

Conclusion

A cost-effective solution is to buy a concept development that is made specifically for you. You receive the following items as part of this concept:
  1. clear requirements/scope for the whole solution;
  2. roadmap and timing;
  3. design of main pages/screens of key interfaces;
  4. the cost of the entire solution.

You will see how the development team organizes its workflow and how carefully it considers your needs. You'll be able to predict your project's success by viewing the results from the user's point of view.
  • Dmitri Alex

    CBDO EU

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