Agile Offshore Development Teams: Your Step-by-Step Playbook

Agile Offshore Development

In today’s tech-driven world, the customer is king—they’ve got tons of choices, which means they are only as loyal as the company is efficient in delivering a high quality product. So software companies (and especially startups!) cannot afford to slack off or they’ll lose out; customers no longer give second chances. And they don’t need to, given the abundance of alternatives to your offering.

So what is a CEO or CTO to do when trying to connect with a highly impatient consumer market?  Accelerate speed-to-market in a more cost-efficient manner while ensuring quality output. This, of course, is much easier said than done, but one of the most proven methods to achieve this is by implementing Agile offshore development.

In this article, we’ll talk about Agile offshore software development, how it enhances productivity and efficiency among offshore teams, and why it can be your magic wand for improved customer satisfaction.

At turnkey, we’ve successfully implemented agile methodology in a wide range of offshore teams. We’ll make it easy for you.

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What is Agile software development, and how does it work?

A quick Google search of what Agile is will probably create more clarity than confusion. So let’s try to fix that here.

Agile is not a tool or a framework, it is a software development methodology for executing software development that is built on the principles of collaboration, user input, and iteration.

Let’s use a restaurant as a metaphor.  In a restaurant, every staff member has a specific task, but they all work together to ensure that customers are happy. The team must be flexible enough to prepare separate meals for different customers’ demands, and they are only successful when the meal is served in a timely fashion and tastes great.

But the successful delivery of the food goes through a myriad of collaborative processes. Someone takes the orders and sends them to the kitchen; there a team prepares the ingredients for the particular order while the chef puts it all together. The food is cooked to taste and ingredients will continually be added until perfection. And then the waiter finally delivers the plate to the customer. And if there is feedback, the orders can be adjusted or redone to meet the customer’s needs.

Agile ensures that there is a continuous development and delivery strategy in place to promote efficiency and quality. The Agile manifesto comprises important values and principles that establish its purpose and modus operandi.

Benefits of Using Agile for Offshore Software Development

top five reason to adopt agile

Agile software development’s many benefits have made it the most widely used method in many industries. And it works just as well for offshore teams as it does for onshore ones.

Here are some of the proven benefits of Agile for offshore teams in particular:

Transparent Development Process

Agile practices encourage effective communication and transparency. And when you consider the intricacies of offshoring, lack of effective communication can break you if proper measures are not in place. Agile enables you to monitor your offshore team’s activities and also inspect what they are doing. Moreover, it allows you to test the product while it is still being developed and tells the development team what modifications need to be made.

Quick Problem Solving

Agile has a heavy emphasis on collaboration, which empowers teams to work together to find innovative solutions to issues that may arise during the software development process. This helps facilitate problem-solving by removing the reliance on a single person to perform the work.

Highly Flexible

Agile development enables team members to act independently to implement necessary modifications based on changing market conditions. It also gives team members significant freedom to innovate on new features while the product is being developed.

Increased Scalability

As every good engineering leader will tell you, it’s hard to estimate the duration and cost of a project with 100% certainty. Sometimes in the middle of development there may be a need to add a few new features based on customer feedback, which of course would lead to an extended delivery time and added cost. 

With Agile, offshore software development can be quite scalable. Due to its flexibility, the development team can adapt to shifting needs, timelines and costs.

Enhanced Team Collaboration

Effective team cooperation is at the core of offshoring success. If you get it right, then you have set the foundation for solving almost any problem that may arise. Indeed, studies have shown that 75% of employers think teamwork is very important, and most organizations hold it in high regard. Collaboration ensures a better output and and reduces churn among team members.

So in this way Agile is a match made in heaven because team cooperation and collaboration are guiding principles of Agile development. In other words, implementing Agile establishes the need for continuous collaboration. It’s a virtuous cycle!

If agile is what you want, then turnkey is what you need. We have been building offshore teams using agile for years.

The Pitfalls of Development with Agile and How to Avoid Them

Nothing in life is perfect.  Agile development also has certain drawbacks for offshore teams despite being one of the most useful and popular software development methodologies on the technological planet. Here are the three main ones as well as how to overcome them.

Communication difficulties

Critics of Agile offshore development often cite communication challenges as the reason why Agile practice is unfit for offshoring. This is due to the likelihood of decreased physical engagement.

But this is not the 20th century. Today a host of collaboration and communication tools make virtual communication as effective as in-person communication. 

What’s the lesson? Choose the best communication tools available to your organization (Zoom, Slack, etc.) and rely on them heavily during the development process.

Low Productivity

Low productivity is another issue that could come up while employing the Agile approach in offshoring.  This is because teams may choose to perform their parts of the project in a slightly different way (or timeframe) than the rest of the team.

One way to make sure your offshore team’s productivity doesn’t decline over time is to have everyone work off the same development calendar and have every sprint include at least one development item from each team.  This ensures alignment and that there is always a goal or milestone to keep driving towards.

Cultural differences

Team members can often be from different countries or continents, which could create cultural gaps that lead to misunderstandings. These might reduce the effectiveness of the team and have an impact on the product quality or timeframe.

The relationship between team members can be strengthened by conducting weekly all hands calls, as well as virtual team building events (such as Happy Hours or game nights).  The more your team can have shared experiences, the smaller the cultural gaps will become.

Want to know more about how staff augmentation differs from other development models? Check out this post where we compare outsourcing, offshoring and – TurnKey’s awesome model!Yourshoring.

Best Practices of Agile Offshore Software Development

Group 4

Following Agile best practices is how you can optimize your offshore development workforce and get them to produce exceptional results. These best practices include:

Scope of Work (SoW) Formation

It is critical to define the scope of work that the team will follow when developing your product. Scope of work is a document that describes what the team is expected to do to complete your work and produce the desired result. It breaks the entire project into segments or milestones, which are further separated into iterations, and provides an estimated completion date for each stage.

The project stages and planned dates, a list of results expected at each iteration, and the reporting medium or scheme that the team will use are all significant components of a scope of work.

Accurate Product Roadmapping

A product (or project) roadmap gives a graphical description of the product’s goals and expectations, as well as how to achieve them. 

It is critical to have an accurate and well-represented roadmap because it will improve your team’s knowledge of the desired product. It will also aid in the planning of how to provide the required outcome on time, thus speeding up the overall development process.

Effective Communication

According to research, 86% of employees blame their workplace failure on a lack of proper communication. When effective modes of two-way communication are established, the offshore team can report any new developments or challenges, and you can advise them of any potential changes to your needs, tech stack, or any other aspect.

Regular meetings and discussions play a vital role in the success of your offshore software development efforts. Your offshore developers can be kept engaged with in-person meetings or virtual ones via a range of familiar (and low cost!) communication channels, including:

  • Instant messaging: This keeps your communication flow fast and clear. Use Slack or other instant messaging platforms.
  • Old school phone call!: Sometimes it’s just easier to talk live about a concept or provide quick feedback. If time zones aren’t an issue, pick up the phone and make it happen. WhatsApp and Skype are platforms that makes international voice communication seamless.
  • Video conferencing: Since 2020, video meetings have become the norm. It’s super helpful because it takes people who are far away and makes them feel up close and personal. Perfect for you and your offshore workforce. Zoom it out, kid.

If you need to build a supercharged Agile team offshore, TurnKey is your best bet.

Hiring the Right Team

Hiring the Right Team

Recruiting and assembling the best development team is one of the most effective ways to complete your software development more quickly and effectively. Since Agile is based on teamwork, each member of your offshore workforce must be able to collaborate with others to get the desired result.

Additionally, keep in mind that hiring your team members should not be based just on their qualifications and technical expertise; you should also evaluate if they are a good culture fit. Hiring a team member that struggles to collaborate with others will affect your project. Understanding if a developer can write quality code is important, but you also want to screen them qualitatively too.

Workflow Tracking Tools

It is essential to implement a system that allows you to keep track of the team’s workflow. This helps you see progress on each iteration in real time as well as assess the performance of each developer.

It is also critical to implement a solution that allows members to communicate and report problems. Trello, Jira, and Asana are examples of common software tools that can be used for this purpose.

Regular Demos

After every sprint, take the time to demo the work. This enables you to monitor the team’s progress on your product and offer suggestions for improvement.  It also provides an opportunity to incorporate customer feedback if collected in a timely manner.

Agile Training

Every software development model has its guiding principles that have to be followed to get the desired result and avoid errors.  As a result, training your offshore development team on Agile’s standards will help ensure that everyone understands the context for why you are developing your software this way as well as help the team maintain these standards over time.

How TurnKey can help you create a high octane Agile offshore software development team!

Building an Agile-optimized development team offshore is not as easy as it sounds. Agile is a working practice that needs to be implemented correctly to be super successful. And while lots of offshore development companies claim to be Agile, they actually do not understand its methodology nor have extensive knowledge of its principles.

At TurnKey we love to refer to ourselves as an Agile offshore software development company because we practice Agile offshoring by default and not by request. We so deeply understand the benefits of Agile that all our offshore teams are Agile-ready even before you ask.

How we can help you hire the right people and implement Agile

Putting together a team of Agile software developers is easier with our offshoring engagement model we call Yourshoring.

The Yourshoring model fills many voids that the typical offshoring model does not. For instance, while offshoring usually means a remote team that works for a vendor first and isn’t fully dedicated to your project, Yourshoring is a remote team that is 100% dedicated to you and completely integrated into your organization and culture.

In simple terms, Yourshoring is a remote engagement model that extends your in-house team and gives you: 

  • A dedicated development team under your control
  • A fully embedded team inside your product organization
  • Extremely low churn rate among your developers
  • Full transparency of pricing and process
  • An Agile team that can react nimbly to changes in direction or market needs.

Final Thoughts

One of the popular criticisms against offshoring is the possible lack of long-term efficiency. But with an Agile offshore development team—especially one built by the pros at TurnKey—these fears are completely allayed. You can be sure of efficient collaboration and delivery regardless of the differences in time zones or locations.

In the end, what’s most important is the offshoring company you engage with.  Look no further than TurnKey–we’ve got you covered from start to finish!

TurnKey builds Agile teams that will out-perform your competition.


What is Agile methodology in software development?

Agile development is a software development methodology or working practice for executing software development that is built on the principles of collaboration, user input, and iteration. It encourages continuous testing, continuous delivery, and operational flexibility.

Why is an Agile development model best for a startup?

Implementing an Agile development approach helps startups facilitate faster, higher quality production cycles. It is a system that prioritizes short-term objectives, quick results, and the ongoing adjustment of strategies based on feedback. This enables continuous and faster development.

How do you hire Agile offshore developers?

Hiring offshore developers with a strong working knowledge of Agile is critical.  Be sure that your interview process includes the developer explaining what Agile is and how they typically implement it in their daily work life. Or you could cut all this stress and just contact TurnKey. We will create a custom, high performance Agile development team for you! 

March 8, 2023

TurnKey Staffing provides information for general guidance only and does not offer legal, tax, or accounting advice. We encourage you to consult with professional advisors before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business or legal rights.

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