One of the success factors for a company that specializes in offshore programming is the presence of a well-established project production process. First of all, let’s answer the question. Why do we need a well-built and organized production? An offshore programming company needs high quality project execution in order to retain existing customers by encouraging them to start new projects. The quality of project execution refers to the execution of projects in accordance with agreed requirements, with an agreed level of development and on time. When a company has problems attracting new customers, quality is vital. If there are no problems with new customers, then poor quality can lead to their appearance. Since the markets are not large. And word of failure spreads much faster than rumors of success. The quality of project execution with offshore custom development should be repeatable, not changing from project to project. Organized production is necessary to ensure repeatability of high quality project execution. And, consequently, the influx of new projects and business growth.
The first level is the quality of personnel
In offshore programming companies, people decide everything. This is not a slogan, but life itself. Computers, compilers, etc. – just tools. Employees who, regardless of their level of training, due to poor morale, poor management or lack of motivation, do not want to work effectively. It means death for the company. It is no secret that often even excavators do not work for us, for whom it is possible to set clear production rates. It’s expressed in cubic meters or trench length. You need to hire the right people, train them and create the conditions for them. So that they can work independently with maximum efficiency. You can make a person dig. But it is difficult to get a person to think. This is the main difficulty of building management in software companies.
The quality of personnel is ensured consistently by building a selection system. It is better not to take a person than to take the wrong one. This rather conservative approach to selection does not correspond to expectations. But it is perfectly suited to ensure the quality of personnel. Clear requirements for personnel must be formulated, the violation of which is not allowed. Requirements should be as detailed as possible. It is necessary to provide means of checking the candidate for compliance with these requirements: a resume and the candidate’s assurances of his own “coolness” will not help to understand what is behind this. A system of interviews should be built with the leading developers of the company, who are able to assess the level of qualifications of the candidate. It is advisable to conduct an interview with several leading specialists with the organization of feedback, i.e. with an analysis of the subsequent work history of the accepted candidates. This allows you to introduce corrections for excessive optimism / pessimism of interviewers during the selection procedure.
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The second quality level is the project level
Suppose the company has a trained, trained and properly motivated staff. What’s next? Is there now confidence that all projects will be carried out with the required quality and within the required time frame? It is convenient to imagine a project in the form of a triangle, at the vertices of which there are three parameters:
- Functionality: A set of project requirements, offshore website design and other features.
- Quality: A set of criteria for quantifying the quality of a project (for example, the number of errors of a certain priority when testing for specific scenarios).
- Timing: Delivery dates of the project of a given quality and required functionality.
Project management takes place within this triangle – roughly speaking, there is trade between its peaks. Adding functionality affects the time that can be met by lowering quality or changing one requirement for another. If you add the cost of the project here, the triangle turns into a pyramid.
The third level of quality is the level of the company
One of the important factors of quality assurance at the company level is the creation of an optimal company management structure. The nature of business is that change is happening all the time. It is impossible to work according to the principle “started the project and forgot about it”. Life is in full swing. New projects are constantly coming in, changes are taking place in the current ones, projects are suddenly closed. And the structure of the company must be ready to accept such changes, reacting to them with maximum speed and quality. Let’s list the requirements for the company’s management structure:
- Responsiveness: Project teams must be formed and disbanded at great speed.
- Lack of hierarchy: New inputs come to the company very often and the company must respond to them. So building a hierarchical structure is useful only when the departments do not interact with each other at the project, operational level. Otherwise, it will take a lot of time and effort to make a decision on changes at the interdepartmental level. The nature of the project business is such that changes in the composition of project teams occur almost daily. Imagine what a nightmare decisions to change a project team would turn into if they involved not only project managers. But also a lot of department heads.
- Production orientation: The company should have a clear understanding that project teams bring money. And the rest, including the management, no matter how offensive it may be, are aimed at serving their work.
- Self-organization: By adhering to project ethics, delegation of responsibility and training of staff, projects can become independent temporary units requiring minimal attention during the execution process.
- Efficiency: Each level of company management must be assessed and constantly correlated with the added value that it brings. There should not be bosses just because they should be. There are many approaches to continuously improve quality at the company level. Here are some of them.
- Best practices: It is based on stimulating the generation of changes within the project team aimed at improving quality, identifying them, analyzing them and then consolidating them within all project teams.
- Metrics: It is aimed at the constant collection and analysis of objective information about the work of each employee, project and the company as a whole. Objective information means quantitative parameters that describe the quality of work. For example, the average delay in project delivery or the number of errors. Having such metrics and collecting information over a long period of time allows the company’s management to make decisions based on more objective data and, therefore, improve quality more effectively.
- Project audit: It pursues two main goals: identifying problems with project management that have not yet been identified by the customer. And should be taken corrective measures; identifying the compliance of the project team’s work with the company’s requirements and taking corrective measures regarding the team.
- Post-analysis of the project: An analogue of an audit is carried out at the end of the project and allows you to identify the achievements and problems encountered during the work on the project.
- Company certification: It consolidates what has already been developed in the process of building a company management system. Certification is often seen as a panacea for building a quality system. However, the sequence should be different – first the construction of the quality system.
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