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Is outsourcing a chance for the deficit of employees in the IT industry?

Is outsourcing a chance for the deficit of employees in the IT industry?

Europe is in need of  nearly 400,000 specialists, according to EU estimates, this problem will deepen and come next year, may reach half a million. In the western part of the old continent, vacancies for the  positions in the ITC industry already constitute 60% of all vacant jobs. Software is now vital in every business. All types of equipment are controlled by intelligent software, business processes are also supported by  applications and someone has to  design, develop and implement these applications.

Does this deficit mean that Europe and the whole world is facing imminent business collapse? Are we expecting some  big slowdown in activity of individual industries and services? The solution may come from   contracting the processes related to the development of IT infrastructure to external companies.. Doing so does not only solve the problem of insufficient staff but is also much more economically smart. So how do we implement such a solution and to what do we need to pay attention when choosing an outsourcing partner.

It is worth to consult the developers themselves, because they have the biggest say in establishing the working conditions, the salary and they choose whom they want to work for and obviously they choose companies in which they feel comfortable. Where, apart from being well paid, they are appreciated by the employer (healthcare packages etc.), where they can further develop their skills or simply like the technologies the company’s working with. For instance – Neoteric Sp. z o.o. (LLC) expends 80% of their employees work time on their client’s projects. The remaining 20% gets spend on studying, team development, personal and open source projects – says Adrian Wołyniec – CRO in Neoteric.

Such an approach gives us the certainty that the company we choose won’t develop much technical debt which in turn will provide us with an edge over our competitors. Working with a company like that also gives us the confidence that besides the technical support they provide we can also count on consultancy from their side. Every time we lean on them, our projects will be thoroughly discussed and if necessary, fresh approaches and profitable solutions will be suggested to us.

It’s also worthwhile to pick a partner that not only employs exceptional developers but can also provide business process analysts who will quickly and efficiently assess if a given project is justified at the current stage of a company’s development level. Why create an application which won’t benefit our company in any way?

The methodology of work is also key. Like Agile, which combines the flexibility of the project with the best habits of software engineering.

Choose wisely, always taking in consideration the edge you want to gain over your competitors. While drafting your IT projects, have in mind the situation you want to be in a few or a dozen years. Leave some space for developing the software further, don’t constrain it into a single project.

In dynamically changing environment where technologies, trends and business requirements are changing due to market preferences on a daily basis, success is almost reserved for crews of people who work in effective, small teams, which are able to learn and improve constantly while also being able to change direction quickly. In order to follow those high standards the best method to work with stakeholders is not based on a priori set schedule, but rather on prototyping, feedback loop, knowledge driven decisions and adoption to those new conclusions. This approach is to maximize the work not done, to make process effective and always focused on next required step to make sure it was done in right direction.

At first steps we usually collect the initial set of requirements. The first impression is usually very inaccurate, it is a projection of possible solution based on the previous experience we and client, so it is very limited. We do not require from our clients to give us complete and final version of product requirements. We gladly work with them to discover real workflows, root causes of problems to solve them and usually the final product is co-creation of both sides. Perfectly we make many little steps and verify them, to adopt or change quickly. We are used to delivering the best products in given circumstances. It is our clients who tell when he is happy enough to claim that project can be closed.

Our clients business constraints plus sketched project scope allow us to launch sprint zero which is about forming a team, project kick-off and some internal work to set up environments, technology, repositories, project management tools etc. The team work to draw a big picture of product using user story mapping technique, which allows us to identify scenarios and judge their importance. This is being done with client or at least confirmed with him. This let us start development work and plan few first steps.

At this stage we have product backlog which is set of prioritized User Stories we can edit and pull into the following planned Sprints. Each Sprint is 2 week period of maximum effectiveness work which is followed by a live demonstration of results to all stakeholders. As a result of the demo we have a potentially shippable increment that is ready for early feedback. We should be ready to judge if the path we follow is beneficial and be able to fail very early in case when the benefits are smaller than expected. Those tight milestones eliminate not necessary features and give knowledge about real condition of the product. Team does not focus on tasks, but on fulfilling the scenarios that add business value to keep the flow of it as wide as possible.

Planning every next sprint is preceded by backlog grooming session when we judge the top items in product backlog with client to verify priority and add clarification because we learn more about expected results during the progression of the project. Backlog grooming is an ongoing activity.

Being tied to solid software craftsmanship practices on every stage of software development let us build predictive and accelerating teams, which allow us to plan more accurately every next iteration. Team is looking for constant improvement by observing the weak points and eliminating the bottlenecks one by one.

As a final result we expect a synergy of all good ideas and fast elimination of wastes, to make the stakeholders happy and be sure that we have delivered only what was needed.

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