The only way to outsource your web project
The answer is yes but in our experience there are some essential management rules you need to follow. Only 2 in 10 IT projects fully achieve the vision and objectives set out by the sponsor. Here is the project environment we need to avoid failure:
1. Quick exits - Be able to exit the outsource relationship quickly with no loss of work/progress, Off-shore developers come and go. If a better opportunity comes up for them you may be stranded mid project.
2. Get a quick read on quality - Don't allow the work to be presented to you at the end of a 6 week code build. It may be a mess and not able to be enhanced or extended. It may perform poorly. Set tasks/objectives that can be done in a day or two at the start of the project.
3. Find the right partners quickly - The differences in understanding requirements and delivering outcomes varies from great to very poor and often there is no correlation between the hourly charge rate and the outsourcer competency. On sites like odesk.com the ratings systems always seem to be 4-5 stars, in reality the difference between the best and the worst is vast.
4. Work in short bursts - Break you project down to small tasks, nothing longer than a few days. Pay as you go for these small tasks. Late in the project if trust/success has been achieved its ok to allow tasks of up to a week.
So how do we achieve these rules. Here are some of the techniques that we put in place:
A. You control the source code repository (SCR). Set yourself up a Github or Bitbucket account. These are cloud based facilities that allow the orderly management of many developers working on the one project. Every change is tracked and can be rolled-back if needed.
B. Use an open source code base. There are excellent free products like magneto ecommerce, Joomla and wordpress blogs, magnolia CMS that can form the base or skeleton of your project
C. Set up cloud based project management environment, Your developers subscribe to this, every task, question, answer is kept in this. All communications are managed here. Nothing gets lost, every instruction and decision is logged and acknowledged
D. Set up your own test and production servers in the Cloud, never rely on the developers equipment. Amazon cloud servers cost only cents per hour
E. Qualify your developers up front, are they familiar with the tools described here
Here is how a typical task would run:
- You define a task in the Cloud Project Management system (CPM)
- Developer is notified and acknowledges understanding in CPM
- Developer books out code from SCR
- Developer sets up copy of project on his/her computers and starts work
- Developer submits a screen cast/video of the outcome to CPM
- You approve, developer submits new code branch to SCR
- Another Senior developer reviews code and allows push from SCR to your test systems if all ok
This allows us to engage 3 or more developers in the early stage of the project to work out who is the best fit for our project.
We are experts in setting up properly managed outsource project environments for clients or individuals wanting to leverage off low costs web development. Our aim is to make the client self sufficient. Once the client has cycled through a number of tasks and sign-offs they can then manage the process themselves. Give us a call if you want to know more