Is the entire team offshore?
No, the senior project manager/scrum master will be onsite/onshore for 50% of the contracted time. The development and QA team are offshore.
Will the communications be difficult with the team offshore?
Communications will require more effort and different approach. To ensure communications is smooth, our senior project manager/scrum master will travel to the offshore team on behalf of your business. If for example the project manager is engaged for 100% capacity, he/she will spend 2 weeks onsite/onshore followed by 2 weeks offshore, and will continue to do so for the engagement. During the time onsite, he/she will manage the engagement with offshore, as well as coaching your team to managing the engagement to grow the skill set within your own organisation so that it becomes an asset to give you the ability to work with any offshore team, anywhere in the world.
Is there additional cost for our business when the PM/Scrum Master travels offshore manage our team?
Providing your business contracts out PM/Scum Master for at least 20 hours per week, then there will be no additional cost as we will absorb the cost.
If we need the team onsite for a short period, is that OK?
Yes, we can arrange for the team to come onshore for short periods. However, all expenses will be invoiced, such as visa, flight, hotel and daily allowance. Rest assured though, we will use the most cost effective travel and accommodation options that are fair.
What other overhead charges will there be for us?
We include Jira, MS Office, MS Visual Studio, Adobe Creative Cloud, Skype Premium, WebEx and Test Studio as standard. Any other software required will need to be provided for. Our team uses Dell Optiplex computers with i7, 16GB ram and 1TB hard drives. If more powerful machines are required (for example 3D workstations), then these would affect the rate card, depending on the final spec of the machines required.
Do we still get billed when our offshore team take annual leave, sick leave or public holidays?
No, not at all.
Do we get charged for overtime work?
We understand that there is sometimes a need to work overtime to meet deadlines or to ensure minimal disruptions to your customers. We operate on a model where we give our staff excellent benefits and ensure they are happy at work, so any overtime worked, we compensate them, therefore as a result, we do bill for overtime. This is on pro-rata to our rate card for normal work days. Weekend and public holidays, we charge x1.5. There are no other overhead charges. Overtime only starts after the 1st hour.
Is email the main form of communication?
No, we use a combination of voice and video in our day to day calls. In fact, we insist on video scrum calls.
We are in Europe, is the time difference going to be a big problem?
There will be a small gap of about 3.5 hours, the offshore teams work with a staggered time to maximize overlap time with European clients. If needed, this can be complete overlap, but would have an additional cost levied as it would mean our team would be working evening shift. Otherwise our standard working hours provides a minimum of 4 hours overlap in the winter time, and 5 hours overlap in the summer time.
How do you differ from other established offshore companies?
We have two major types of competitors, mentors/coaches, and offshore development software houses. Most mentors/coaches are quite classroom based and do not operate their own resources, we are more hands on and work with you in real life scenarios. Having our own team is also a strong bonus since everyone in the team will have a strong understanding of the processes and way of working. Offshore development houses do not provide mentoring/coaching, but only the resources, which in some cases, have been the crux of problems.
We have dealt with offshore in the past, and it never worked out, how would you make this model work for us?
We have successfully rescued many offshore projects that had not turned out as expected. We know what works and what wouldn’t. We look exactly at your requirements, design the solution, and work together with your organisation (with our senior project manager/scrum master onsite). Many of our competitors sell bums on seat solutions, often sold by an account manager, who would hand over entirely to the offshore team and the client. Most clients are Subject Matter Experts, and simply do not have the time to set the foundations of the engagement, which is why a lot of offshore models fail. Foundations are simply not set. Imagine building an apartment block without a solid foundation...
Agile never works when it goes offshore
On or offshore, most businesses do not truly adopt an Agile model. Our team have been working with Design Sprint Agile, where the entire team works with the business to develop the concept through to implementing the solution and rolling out to production. Our Agile team are self sufficient when it comes to development and is well suited to product development.
How do you coach our business to develop offshore management skills?
We train the member of your business who would be managing the offshore team in the long term, by mentoring on the job and shadowing each other where it relates to the project. None of the training will be classroom based.
Will offshoring work for us?
If your business develops your own software product, or software related IT service, then your business can benefit from offshoring.
Will you stop providing senior project manager/scum master support as soon as you hand over team management to us?
Officially the senior project manager/scum master engagement ends when you have defined the date. After that date, your business will manage your offshore team. However, we are always in the background staying involved as observers to ensure that everything is going smooth. If we feel that there are significant changes required, we will reach out to discuss how to move forwards. To recap, we will never just let you walk off alone, we will always be there to ensure the quality and commitment.
Are your resources all sitting on bench waiting for clients?
No, resources are hired as permanent staff for each client. We do not work with contractors or freelancers offshore to ensure quality and training. We offer them above standard benefits package so that we maintain a low staff turnover.
Our local team of developers and testers are not keen on the idea, they think the engagement is working to replace them. How do we get them on board?
This model was never designed to replace local onshore resources, but to simply help strategically extend the development capacity and quality of a business's product or service on the long run. It is also designed so that low value tasks can be assigned to the cost centers with lower costs so those tasks would be more cost effective. Local resources can then focus on the tasks that bring strategic value to the business.
What other advantages are there?
If could help speed up development cycles. For example, when your team finishes work for the day, they could assign a related task for the offshore team to complete before the local team arrives at the office the next day. Since the offshore team are at least 4 hours ahead, there is opportunity to complete a task before the local team arrives for work (providing the task can be completed in the amount of time). Testing can be automated, to save onshore and business time. The tedious part of automated testing is the maintenance of the scripts when system changes. This effort is not the most interesting or challenging of jobs, and can be well suitable to be handed over to the offshore team.
Is offshore better than near shore?
There are pros and cons to both. If your business wants to maximize cost efficiency, then offshore is the only way, near shore simply does not offer the same cost effective savings. This is especially true once you have started working well with offshore, and the team grows. As well as cost of resources, there are also overhead costs, which are just lower in India. Even business travel expenses are relatively close, with only the air fare being more than near shore, everything else is by far lower.
How soon can we have our team in place?
Set up time would take 6 weeks after the binding pre-contract is signed.
Is there a minimum engagement period?
Yes, it is 6 months per resource, on and offshore.
If we had only a project to do, but don't want the mentoring, can you support our business on that?
Yes, we can do project based work as well, however, our rate card remains the same, and we prefer to operate on a times and materials model. Believe it or not, it is actually more cost effective than fixed price/fixed scope. With a fixed price/fixed scope, there are 2 phases, exploration and implementation. The exploration is to entirely document the requirements which gets signed off. The expensive part of fixed price/fixed scope is the overhead of managing the changes and delays arising from that. Fixed price/fixed scope is false security and it takes too long to see results.