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       Off Shore Development  
 


With the boom in the software industry outsourcing software development has become a common phenomena, which encourages the internal growth of the company’s management, design and other development activities. DISL’s Off-shore Development service is a cost effective alternative for companies who desire to build on their software needs.

Benefits of Offshore Software Development :

  1. Cost are reduced up to 40%.
  2. Capital expenditures are not incurred.

  3. A vaster range of skills are available taking into consideration the presence of in-house and external professionals that help the completion of project in time.

  4. Wider base of technical resources that are otherwise scare due to their high demand in countries like the US. .

  5. Rapid deployment of contract resources to meet the peaks and valleys of the project workload - less need for client resource smoothing.

  6. Lesser emphasis required on client management than for on-site/ in-house projects.

  7. Contractually committed to produce results.

  8. Twenty-Four hour workdays are a practical possibility due to time differences. In places where maintenance of an operational application is constituent of the project, maintenance can be divided between the offshore team and the client’s own staff, taking advantage of the time difference between the two sites, and coordinating efforts via FTP uploads and downloads, and version control software (dual-site project).

Type of projects suited for offshore development include :

  1. Web based software development - e Commerce.
  2. Re-engineering of existing applications for new environments.
  3. Conversions and migrations to new platforms.
  4. New software development - Software where the low level design is already frozen.
  5. Maintenance and minor enhancement of legacy applications.

Factors to be considered during Offshore Development: The factors to be considered during offshore development model are project characteristics, project management and organization, project workflow and cost considerations.

The project characteristics include functional requirements, technical requirements, platform requirements, and schedule management.

Functional Requirements :

The functional requirements of the proposed project must be conveyed to the offshore team clearly. Also information as regards the background of the business and the purpose of the project must be communicated keeping in mind what the client’s requirements are.

Platform Requirements :

The offshore project team must have relevant expertise in both hardware and software platforms that are operational at the client’s site. Both must possess the same versions of operating systems, programming tools, database, etc. in both locations. Immense assessment is essential to ensure platform compatibility with the outsource facility.

Schedule Requirement :

The schedule of delivery of both contract products and client reviews should be established as early as possible and coordinated with the management and staff of the offshore facility. Delivery of third party software or client approval of prototypes is dependent on schedule and must clearly be stated.

Project Flow :

Project Initiation : There does not exist much difference between the Project initiation for an offshore project and an on-site project. The various processes are :

  • Execution of Contract and other commitments (resources, tasks, schedules, deliverables).

  • Definition of requirements and standards.
  • Definition of technology infrastructure.
  • Definition of critical success factors.

The offshore team before committing themselves to the project must determine feasibility of all proposals.

The main differences in starting an outsourced project as compared to on-site project are :

  • Higher dependence on written, and especially electronic, communication than on oral communication.

  • Allowance for the offshore startup phase both in terms of schedule and cost.

Offshore Startup :

Along with project planning the main action undertaken for offshore startup is the time consuming process of replication of the client’s current platform (for maintenance or conversion projects), or of the client’s target platform (for new development).

Prototyping (for client/server and e-commerce projects) :

If the application is prototyped before actual development activity, this is conducted at or near the client site. If the product design is evolving, prototyping requires frequent and intense communication with the client project manager and also often with the end users. Only if the functional and technical specifications are not ambiguous, is the prototype developed at the offshore facility.

Project communications and Issue Resolution :

Interpersonal Communications :

The differences in time between India and another country are beneficial for technical communications. But the time differences are not favourable for interpersonal communications through conference calls.

However, when the communication is through direct e-mail, the problems posed by different time zones are reconciled.

Testing :

Any project must include a well-designed test plan, from unit testing through final client QA acceptance testing. The failure of an offshore development project is often due to lack of test data at the offshore site. The required volume of test data has to be generated and installed at the offshore facility to avoid errors as it can also lead to conflicts between the offshore team and the onsite team.

SIGNOFF: Client Acceptance and Turnover

DISL trains the client staff in system operation and maintenance and provide telephone or on-site support as required by contract. Client acceptance testing, parallel testing and turnover are carried out in similar manners for offshore and on-site projects. Technical and user documentation is turned over for client review.

Project Conclusion :

The information and knowledge gained are recorded for guidance in future projects. Key project metrics are generated and used to guide planning and costing (cost) of future offshore projects.

Support :

This depends largely on the type of the project and the contract entered into with the client. Offshore support is provided free of charge for conversions, new developments, and Internet projects initially and then a paid support program is designed based on the client’s requirements. Usually any onsite component in this is billed to the client on T & M basis.

Cost Considerations :

The main reason behind organizations opting for offshore development is to save money, by reducing opportunity costs and enabling in-house staff to be deployed on other beneficial projects. For savings to be realized the project must be a large one. Savings can be high if there are complementary concurrent projects (for the same or different clients), or a series of projects for the same client related by common target platforms and common technical standards, thus leading to reduction in startup infrastructure costs.

The client should conduct total risk analysis, as offshore or on-site risk is a cost that must be included in the total project cost calculation. The offshore team must be involved in this analysis.