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Offshore development PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Eduardo García   
Sunday, 17 October 2010 13:58

Believe it or not, offshore development is here to stay. If you know what it is, probably you'll find the reasons why this will last on these lines. If you don't know what it is...you should start reading right now!

world map with binary numbers

What is Offshore develoment?

Offshore development, also known as Offshore Software R&D, is the provision of software development services by an external supplier positioned in a country that is geographically remote from the client enterprise. In a world that was getting smaller and more open thanks to telecommunication advances and new market regulations, companies around the world realized that they could count on external suppliers to meet some of their development needs. After all, many big corporations were used to have some of their employees working remotely from their homes, so they considered offshoring the next step beyond telecommuting. Beside that, another important fact was that Software Engineering had got mature enough to make managers start thinking that industrialization of the process of building software could be finally achieved. That way, when it was clear that some parts of the software development process could be externalized, companies were ready for next step. First attemps to externalize those processes were taken under the form of "outsourced" services, that is, services provided by external, although still local, companies. All this prepared the companies to take the next step and give offshore development a chance.


How does it work?

There are many approaches to offshore development, but in its simplest form it is just a matter of defining what must be done, finding a foreign provider, signing an agreement on what must be done, when and for how much, then just wait for the job to be done; after the work is done and accepted, the provider is funded.
This simple story goes more complex as we go into details, of course. For example, defining what must be done could take many hours of hard work, to get a detailed Software Requirement Specification document (SRS). But anyway, this is something that customer always should do, no matter who is going to do the development, so if the customer is used to follow Software Engineering procedures there is no extra work here. On the other side, accepting the work (we use to call it a "work package") should be done quickly and reliably, so a good idea is to get prepared a Test Plan and send it together with the SRS, so the provider can know from the very beginning what the work package is expected to do before the work is accepted.