Most Common Questions About IT Outsourcing
We organize a relaxed kick-off meeting during which we discuss cultural differences. Usually we do it in the form of a funny PowerPoint presentation followed by a discussion. In the case of countries we have already worked in, we use our past experiences. For new countries, we use the 5D Model prepared by ITIM International (http://itim.org/), an analytical tool providing key insights into differences between cultures and their consequences in business cooperation. itim International's Polish partners provide training to our managers as part of the Software Mind Academy.
We designed our outsourcing toolbox to let us easily integrate us with our partner's processes. By automating the testing and deployment processes, we've significantly reduced the need to transfer knowledge to external IT teams. At the same time, agile analysis allows you to easily keep track of requirements while not overburdening your business teams. Keeping high source code standards allows for the relatively easy transfer of project execution to the support team or other development team.
We believe that in time & material projects done by using agile methods, the opposite statement is actually true. Besides the reports about team efficiency that we frequently provide, you will be able to verify the outcome of our team work with your own eyes … every two weeks!
We designed our outsourcing toolbox to be a set of tools and practices instead of some rigid process just to tackle this issue. No two companies are the same and you will find that the processes they use could look similar at first glance, but are actually very different. By understanding how your company works and then hand picking and adjusting tools from our toolbox, we are able to make our development practices fit well with your processes.
Constant involvement of the business team is essential for success of the product. It’s needed to keep the product development going in the right direction and make sure that ROI from the product is maximized. Because every company works differently, has a different organization culture and different competitive advantages, no amount of domain knowledge within a development team can compensate for a lack of involvement from the business stakeholders. On the other hand, we understand that they often have very busy schedules. That's why we try to lessen their burden by making sure we always use the right communication channel and keep meetings short, well organized and straight to the point.
In many cases, we provide customers with our Business Analysts which take the role of internal Product Owner. This further reduces the involvement of your business team to making just the most critical decisions.
Software Mind has access to large pools of top specialists. The latest edition of Tholons Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations 2015 yet again listed Kraków as number 9 among the world's 100 best outsourcing destinations. Simultaneously, the Małopolska capital remains Europe's best location for outsourcing businesses. To find out more about the survey, please visit: Tholons Whitepaper December 2014.pdf. Kraków has good universities that can boost any IT team, and every 5th person in Kraków is a student, and more than 5,000 students finish IT related studies every year. Kraków is actually called Poland's “Silicon Valley”, as about 40 percent of IT sector companies are located there.
One of the crucial services provided by Software Mind is allowing our customers increase software development capacity for a specific fixed term (e.g. 6 months). Such a scenario happens in multiple situations, when, for example, you need to develop a major system (or its revision, or rewrite or huge CR batch), and once the project is completed, workload will be reduced to base values. In such a case, permanent employment is not an option (too long ramp-up and inability to scale down afterwards). Our toolbox provides a defined process, which streamlines work allocation by scaling up the team at start, and scaling down at the end - depending on the type and technology of projects and team sizes. We’re doing this at multiple predefined stages.
How are we able to achieve this? Software Mind does in parallel multiple projects all the time throughout a year, across 5 continents, with a broad range of technologies (over 500 permanent engineers), ready and well-oiled teams, and access to the vast labor market of southern Poland. As a result, we can offer ramp-up time of four weeks and termination period of 4 weeks for each team member. We also have knowledge retention workflow in place described by another tool in our toolbox.
Our development can be started very early, even if the final scope is not fully discovered. Agile analysis makes the first stage of the project very quick. We are ready to start development within a month, even if your requirements are imprecise. Out toolbox was made to address dynamically changing requirements as well, no matter what the cause of those changes.
We have built our set of practices on the SCRUM agile framework. Agile workshops help to set product boundaries easily. What's more, user stories allow swift knowledge transfer so that everyone is on the same page. Also, short, well-structured and time boxed Sprint Planning as well as Product Backlog Refinement Meetings are easier for representatives of business divisions to fit into their schedules, while experienced Scrum Masters support Product Owners to maximize the product’s ROI.