Let’s cut to the chase: India is fast becoming a hub for the best development engineers across the globe. We don’t need to spell out why the way we work, and the way we build teams, has changed over the past few years (though it may or may not have something to do with the global pandemic). All that matters is that businesses are no longer limited to fishing in the desolate talent pools local to their HQs, all chasing the same half dozen of fish with the best resumes.
According to the BBC, demand for web developers and designers rose by 15.5% in the UK between June and July 2020 alone. It’s not difficult to imagine how that demand may have grown in the two years since, as the way technology companies run their businesses has changed. That’s why many tech businesses are turning to offshore companies to quickly scale their development teams in a way that is efficient and cost-effective.
Offshoring helps tech firms work smarter. Perhaps more importantly, it provides tech firms access to greater pools of talent across the globe. That includes access to some of the best and most innovative developers who call India home. Offshoring helps diversify the talent pool and can help businesses reduce hiring costs, limit employee turnover and support the scaling of projects. More information on the benefits of building a dedicated offshore software development team can be found here.
However, while there are many benefits to building offshore development teams from an offshore development center, they are not effective without good project management frameworks in place. Just as if you were building a castle without a foundation, your offshore team will crumble to pieces if you fail to implement the right framework structure.
In this article, we’re going to cover what a project management framework is, and how to choose the right one for your offshore development team.
What is a project management framework?
A project management framework encompasses everything required to take a project from beginning to end, including the tasks, processes and tools. These work together to allow project managers and development teams to plan and manage their projects.
Though there are multiple types of frameworks, these can typically follow a similar project life cycle.
Project life cycle
The cycle of a typical project moves through five phases; initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and controlling, and closure. Let’s look at what happens in each phase:
- Initiation: In this phase, several key documents, including the project charter and stakeholder register, are created. This helps define the project’s ultimate goals and scope, which need to be approved by all key stakeholders. This sets the foundation for the project as well as laying out why it is necessary, with the deliverables, objectives, resources, costs and risks all being determined before project planning begins.
- Planning: During this phase, more documentation is created, this time relating to the planning of the project. The project manager will create a project management plan, work breakdown structure, risk assessment and project scope. By the time you’re ready to move on to the next phase, the entire team should be clear on what needs to be done to achieve the project’s vision.
- Executing: This is the phase where the real work begins. Depending on the project’s scope, there is no limit on how long this phase can last. Here, the plan is put into action, with additional tasks including stakeholder engagement and quality assurance.
- Monitoring and controlling: This phase is incredibly important for ensuring that your project is on track and delivering the standard desired by stakeholders. During this time, you will be checking the project’s progress, reviewing your spending against the budget and managing risks.
- Closing: In this final phase, the project is hopefully approved by the stakeholders and delivered, in whichever form that takes. Additional tasks could include holding a post-project review meeting or celebrating your achievements.
Your offshore development team, which can be made up of engineers, project managers and specialists, should be well-versed in the project management cycle and more. To discover what types of project management methodologies your team could work within to accelerate your digital transformation, keep reading.
What project management methodologies there are to choose from
When choosing a project management methodology for your offshore development team, it’s important to understand what options are available. Here are seven of the most popular project management methodologies.
Scrum is an Agile project management framework, which means that it is structured around sprints. A product backlog of tasks is created, all of which are assigned deadlines and time estimates. The number of sprints required is determined by the number of backlog items, and they typically last around two weeks.
In Scrum, daily stand-up meetings are a necessary part of the process; attended by the entire Scrum team, these quick, 15-minute meetings focus on keeping everyone up-to-date on project progress and provide an opportunity to report roadblocks that individuals are facing. Each time a sprint is complete, the team has a retrospective meeting to discuss what the team were happy with and what needs to be improved for next time.
Designed for projects that occur in rapidly changing environments, XP project framework is for teams that regularly release deliverables. This is intended to promote productivity, with opportunities for continuous improvement introduced throughout the process.
This is a popular option for software development teams as its built-in flexibility means that plans can change without having a significant impact on the project’s overall progress.
3. Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)
A good option for small teams with limited resources, CCPM is designed to maximise the resources available by planning around them. The project manager plans the project based on what resource each task requires, working out the dependencies and priorities to create a chain of tasks.
Kanban is a great option for teams that work best when they can visualise their flow of work. Using a Kanban board, this methodology optimises workflow by limiting the number of tasks that can be in progress at any given time, preventing overwhelm and allowing the maximum attention to be given to each task.
In Waterfall, the completion of one phase triggers the start of another. Unlike in Agile methodologies, phases don’t run concurrently. In this framework, schedule, scope and budget are all defined ahead of project kick-off, with less flexibility built into the project than with other frameworks. Changing the set requirements can cause issues later in the project, which is why project managers take the time to reduce and mitigate risks where possible.
As its name suggests, Lean frameworks aim to minimise the resource and budget needed for a project. This is done through frequent optimisation and avoiding bottlenecks in order to prioritise productivity.
PRINCE2, which means Projects IN Controlled Environments, is structured around seven principles and processes. It is highly structured and dependent on high-quality planning, though is also scalable, making it a great option for teams that work on a variety of different project types.
How to choose the right framework for your software development team
Now that you know what frameworks are available to you, it’s time to pick the right one for your offshore development team.
What this comes down to is understanding your team’s capabilities and strengths, and the types of projects you are going to be running.
- Scrum or XP: for industries and products that change quickly and require the team (and framework) to be agile and adaptable, or where project deliverables are not clearly defined
- Waterfall or PRINCE2: for projects with clear goals that are well-defined and unlikely to change. For project managers that want to plan a project from start to finish and manage risk
- Lean: for when budgets or resources are limited, or cost-savings are prioritised, but where timelines aren’t as demanding
- CCPM: for small teams with limited resources
- Kanban: for teams that work best visually and want to manage their resources
When it comes to building an amazing offshore development team, there are many things to consider, including a project management framework. Choosing the right project management model for your team can be challenging; as we’ve seen, there are plenty of project management approaches to choose from, each with its own merits and risks.
That’s why the WeAssemble team is on hand to help you. We not only have the expertise in offshoring to help get your teams up and running through recruitment, training and team development but can advise on topics such as choosing the right project management framework.
Your offshore team is waiting to be built for you. Contact WeAssemble today.