Your Product’s Success Depends on your Product Manager
The single most important reason why offshore software development projects fail is the lack of a product manager at the site of the customer.
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 the requirements and prioritize tasks for them.
This lack of communication is what makes an offshore custom project such a big risk in the eyes of many people.
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 an illusion that gives birth to the many misconceptions we keep hearing 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 the fact that these product managers cannot be located offshore.
They need to be physically present at the site of the customer at all times in order 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. There are a lot of market-specific factors which come into play that ultimately determine the success or failure of a product.
The real problem with offshore product managers is they fail to familiarize themselves with the market conditions of the country they are developing the product for. The end result turns out to be something which is 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 which remain unspecified. Somebody needs to make judgment calls every now and then. Such judgment calls, if left to the development team to take, who lack adequate product knowledge can comprise the product quality.
Delivering a product on time but one that is 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 as well as the offshore team. If a company has its own product manager, great. If it doesn’t, then 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.