Part 1: Why nearshoring agile development works.

Nearshore, Sorry what?

What is worth defining is the term nearshore and how this is different to the more commonly used term offshore. In simple terms nearshore refers to working with development teams in neighboring countries, for the UK this is classified as mainland Europe. Offshore is classified as further afield, obvious locations include India, Vietnam, Indonesia and so on.

Now we have summarized why agile is important, what is necessary for the methodology to be successful, and defined what we mean by nearshore let’s talk about why nearshore agile development works. Here is the first key factor you need to consider.

Is your daily stand up at 3.30pm?

Agile software development is becoming the preferred methodology for building software across businesses large and small. The reasons for this are clear, the need for businesses to move quickly to gain competitive advantage or close the gap on a competitor who has stole a march means that it is not practical or beneficial to wait many months to capture detailed requirements, build something and then deliver it. Often the business problem has subsided before the application has reached production.

There is much more fluidity in this development process, to sustain this there is a high degree of collaboration to capture requirements, capture feedback, address barriers to success, react to changing priorities etc.

Given agile is so collaborative many of our Clients prior to partnering with us were concerned about whether agile and offshore software development could work together successfully. This model can work very successfully however it is important to identify the right partner who not only has the right skills, but also the right setup in terms of gearing up the working environment to be a collaborative one.

The timing is all wrong

The biggest single reason why nearshore agile development works is timezones. If we take the daily standup as an example, the team meet each morning, 10am seems to be the norm, this would be 3.30pm in Bangalore, India and 5pm in Hanoi, Vietnam. This means that the best part of the day has already been lost at the point where priorities are set, issues are raised and progress communicated.  Of course offshore partners move their working hours around to address this issue, but practically there are limitations to this.

By using a nearshore software development partner that is working in a timezone that has 2 or 3 hours difference maximum the team is available for at least the majority of the working day and is always available for key meetings including standups, stakeholder engagements, retrospectives etc.  This availability ensures a truly collaborative working environment and the velocity of the software development effort.