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Can Agile and Outsourcing Software Development Work Together?

Agile Software Development

Minimum viable products need to be produced with greater speed and flexibility than ever before. With the ever-increasing demand for innovative and adaptable technology, more companies have been turning to Agile methodology to manage their software development needs.

Why use Agile methodology?

According to The Agile Manifesto, the top priority of the Agile method is “to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.” Although Agile methodologies include numerous frameworks, such as Scrum, Extreme Programming, Crystal, and Lean software development, they all share the same core principles of emphasizing people over tools, flexibility over a pre-established plan, and collaboration and feedback over strict contracts and duties.
Compared to Waterfall project management, where a set of discrete, linear processes are followed sequentially, Agile methodologies allows for change “even late in development.” As Agile methodologies were created with software development in mind, they are prepared to deal with the rapidly evolving marketplace in a way that is unmatched by fixed waterfall methods.

Can Agile be used when outsourcing software development?

However, some believe that outsourcing is only compatible with Waterfall project management procedures, not Agile ones. As “business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project,” outsourcing software development with Agile procedures is possible but requires an effort on both ends.

Following is a list of the many ways that Agile methodology can be incorporated into your outsourcing efforts.

Find a trustworthy Agile software development team

Agile methodologies allow developers to work alongside their clients, permitting constant feedback and input from both ends. As such, it is essential to find a software development partner who is adept at Agile methodology and understands your company’s vision, principles, and goals. Software developers who utilize Agile methodologies understand the importance of transparency, openness, and collaboration throughout the entire process, from idea to implementation.

At Santex, our team offers on-demand custom web development services for businesses of all types. Versed in Agile methodologies, our business model allows for flexibility, change, and collaboration to meet your needs and exceed your expectations.

Engage in open, constant communication

Regular communication and constant feedback is key to success with the Agile method. However, some communication issues may emerge when dealing with outsourced contractors, such as differences in time zone, native language, and corporate culture. Furthermore, email is often discouraged as a way to keep the channels of communication open in the Agile method, and face-to-face conversation has been deemed to be the “most efficient and effective” form of communication.

Fortunately, there are several ways to compensate for the lack of an in-person connection when working with an outsourced software development team. Despite the distance that may be present between your company and your software development team, there are several ways to facilitate the collaboration process and promote Agile methodologies. Some of the most popular resources include online programs, such as Slack and Trello, as well as regular meetings, phone and video conference calls, and frequent reports.
Another way to connect with your outsourced contractors is to simply remove the distance between you, at least temporarily. Visiting your team a couple times a year and engaging in face-to-face conversation can put a face to the messages and status updates. By meeting the people behind the scenes, your contractors will feel like part of the team, promoting collaboration despite the distance that normally separates you.

Focus on establishing teamwork and increasing team morale

The Agile manifesto stresses the importance of people in the production process: “Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.”

Unlike businesses procedures that focus on a strict corporate culture, Agile methodologies know that nothing is possible without a devoted team. As outsourcing typically involves contracting a team that may work in another city or country, the emphasis on teamwork over individual efforts becomes even more vital to success. In addition to regular communication, all members need to feel that their efforts and feedback add value to the team.

This level of support not only facilitates greater collaboration, but it also increases accountability. If the development effort is divided into a series of concrete steps, your team members don’t need to take full responsibility for a product’s success or failure. When given the ability to provide input, feedback, and collective efforts, everyone succeeds when the team succeeds.

Design Agile contracts that focus on flexibility over rigidity

While standard contracts consist of strict requirements and next to no opportunities for negotiations, Agile contracts are designed in a way to permit flexibility and iterations for certain factors. Your proposed needs and wants at the beginning of the contract may change by the time your project is ready to enter the market. Agile contracts protect the variables that matter most to you while ensuring that your goals and vision are achieved.

As an example, if your team has a fixed date that needs to be abided by, then other factors, such as costs, number of developers, or required software programs, can be adjusted to achieve the results that your team and clients desire. In this way, agile methodologies encourage adaptability to accomplish the best results for your team.
To stay competitive in the marketplace, flexibility and speed are a must. You need a software development partner that you can trust to understand your vision and meet your company’s goals quickly. In our e-book, Ultimate Guide to Software Development, we provide useful tips to keep in mind when searching for a partner to reach your web development goals.