Communications in Software Development Outsourcing

What are the three superpowers of a solid software R&D outsourcing service provider? The first, and most obvious, is technological excellence. The second is in-depth knowledge of various business domains. The third (and lesser known) superpower is sound communication skills, and they are crucial for success.

Good communications mean good teamwork, and good teamwork means everybody wins. The idea is pretty simple, but if you deal with multinational (and multilingual) engineers (and the inevitable cultural differences), geographically distributed teams, and multiple time zones, communications can become a challenge.

We have recently discussed three typical scenarios of interaction with in-house developers, but whatever the scenario, flawless communication from day one is vital to project success. In this article, we take a closer look at our communication practices and explain how we act to set software development on a smooth path.

Communication Chemistry

Vyacheslav Vanyulin, General Manager (GM) at Auriga, states the following regarding communications:

Each company in the market has its own strengths. While product manufacturers are experts in their product lines, Auriga is an expert in software R&D and delivering complex innovative solutions. If you are ever struggling to apply new technological trends to your business, regardless of its size, shape, or industry, we are right here to help. However, technical skills and domain knowledge are only part of our expertise; communication proficiency is our main core competence.

The first step is always communication through a meeting with the customer’s decision makers who are familiar with the technological side of the project and concerned about optimal outsourcing results. This is where we get to demonstrate our longstanding experience, our high level of competence in the relevant field, and the numerous advantages clients obtain from co-development.

More importantly, we take the time to find out the customer’s needs and expectations. Auriga’s experts do not hesitate to take the initiative and enter into professional debates to share ideas and expertise. In short, we use every opportunity for fruitful and efficient communication to get on track toward a mutually beneficial solution.

The Art of Asking Questions

Two main questions pop up when we take over a new outsourcing project: What business goals is the customer pursuing? and What has already been done on the project? Again, the effectiveness of interactions with in-house managers, engineers, and other outsourcers is key. Managers often lack time, and it can be hard to get the necessary information from them. Thus, the art of asking questions and listening actively comes to the fore.

Learning the ropes of a project implies complex code analysis and consulting with local developers about many nuances that have not been documented on paper. It resembles a back-and-forth handoff until we ensure all critical questions have been answered. It is no easy task, but with our 27 years’ experience of software development for over 40 international clients, Auriga has learned how to turn the initial step of cooperation into a painless and even pleasant experience.

Demos as Communication Opportunities

Companies outsource in-house software development for many different reasons. For example, the product is still commercially viable, but it has been moved to the maintenance phase, and the customer wants the in-house engineers to concentrate on new activities. Or the client is simply dissatisfied with the existing team, the costs paid, and the results attained (or rather unattained). Regardless of the reasons for outsourcing, contractors must prove their ability to perform efficiently.

With this in mind, we regularly share intermediate results to keep customers up to date with the development process. Our technical demos help clients assess our efforts at various project stages and decide on the feasibility of continuing our work. We especially like demos, as they offer the perfect opportunity to meet the client in person and discuss project goals on both engineering and business levels to adapt to ever-changing business and market requirements.

Breaking the Barriers

When a project is already ongoing, the communication factor only grows in importance. Being available for online and face-to-face meetings and being able to communicate with clarity and a considerable depth of understanding allows us to break the barrier between “us” and “them,” no matter how far the client’s in-house team is located.

Vyacheslav Vanyulin, Auriga’s GM, adds the following regarding the importance of communication skills:

Communication skills are not something one is born with. It is an acquired competence—the ability to formulate complex ideas, ask the right questions at the right time, tackle misunderstandings, pay attention to details, and be curious, flexible, and open-minded.

You can never have too much communication—that is what we have learned from practice. The more we communicate, meet, and collaborate, the better we work together. The customer feedback we receive speaks for itself: “We feel like one team working on a common solution. We view your team as our team.