A Product Manager plays a crucial role in the success of an offshore software development project. They are responsible for defining and communicating the product vision, goals and requirements to the development team. They also act as a liaison between the development team and the stakeholders to ensure that the project stays on track and meets the needs of all parties involved.
A good Product Manager will effectively manage the scope, schedule and budget of the project to ensure that it is delivered on time and within budget. However, a poor Product Manager can cause delays, miscommunication and ultimately lead to a failed project. Thus it is very important that the Product Manager should have the right skills and experience to lead the team and deliver a successful product.
Your Product's Success Depends on your Product Manager
The most critical reason offshore software development projects fail is the lack of a product manager at the customer’s site.
In the case of startups or even mid-sized businesses, you come across CEOs who have a great idea but cannot prioritize the requirements to bring their vision to life. It’s in their DNA to deal with things at a very high level. And you cannot blame them for it since they already have too much on their plate.
Besides product development, they are equally concerned with other aspects of the business, e.g. marketing their product, bringing in quality leads, closing deals, handling procurement, and managing finances. They do not have time to sit down with the engineering team, elaborate on the requirements and prioritize tasks.
This lack of communication makes an offshore custom project such a significant risk in many people’s eyes.
CEOs Expectations Need to be Aligned
CEOs hope the offshore team they outsource their project to would somehow magically conceive what’s inside their head and build that product for them.
We have personally come across dozens of CEO’s wanting to outsource projects who believe they can successfully communicate their product idea to the offshore team in one sales call.
This illusion gives birth to the many misconceptions we keep hearing about why outsourcing is not such a good idea after all. The fact of the matter is that such people who can envision the product idea that a CEO has in merely one or two calls do not exist.
Offshore Product Managers can be a RISKY Business
Product managers will bridge the gap between expectations and reality. And I cannot overemphasize that these product managers cannot be located offshore.
They need to be physically present at the customer’s site at all times to ensure the projects get completed as per the exact functional requirements of the CEO.
Product managers can never truly comprehend the vision of a CEO until and unless they are physically present in the market for which the product is being built. Many market-specific factors come into play that ultimately determines success or failure.
The real problem with offshore product managers is they fail to familiarize themselves with the country’s market conditions they are developing the product for. The result turns out to be vastly different from what the CEO envisioned and what the customers want.
When a product manager is available on site, there is alignment among the CEO, CIO, CTO, and the engineering team.
In every software development project, there are always items that remain unspecified. Somebody needs to make judgment calls now and then. If left to the development team to make such judgment calls, those who lack adequate product knowledge can comprise the product quality.
Delivering a product on time but one of substandard quality counts as a failure. This pertinent issue can only be resolved by bringing in a product manager who will take it upon himself to ensure all the stakeholders are always on the same page.
Final Thoughts & Wrap Up
Onsite product managers is a win-win situation both for the product development company and the offshore team. Suppose a company has its product manager, great. If it doesn’t, request the outsourcing software development firm to place one of their product managers on your site to ensure the product meets the requirements, has the desired quality, gets delivered on time and does not exceed the allocated cost.