How Scrum Master Helps Manage Risk in Outsourcing of Software Development
09 Sep 2020Developmentagilecooperation
Imagine you have an idea for a software product and decide to hire external developers to create it. Do you know how to communicate with them and express the challenges you are facing? The challenges that they will inevitably face as well?
If you decide on the outsourcing of software, you surely understand the benefits. A specialized team of programmers has access to expert knowledge and tools, which translates to lower costs and shorter development time for you. With them, you can also focus on your actual daily duties instead of managing a side project.
However, even the most promising partnerships face certain problems. Most of them either stem or get amplified by ineffective communication. This poses a complex challenge, but one that you can overcome. How? With your Scrum Master. Below, we’ll discuss how he or she can help.
But first, let's see what kinds of challenges you can face as a client of a software house
- Your software's functionality doesn't meet user expectations.
- User experience isn't satisfactory.
- Business goals aren't met.
- The general quality is low.
- The project is overly time-consuming.
- The delivery takes too long.
These hindrances aren't connected with each other, but there are certain co-dependencies, and you can find them if you look close enough. For example, if the functionalities don't meet user expectations, this may be the cause of your software not meeting business goals. This issue may also have something to do with the long delivery time.
Why does this happen? Is the software house you picked that bad? Or maybe the team that takes care of your custom software development doesn't really know what you need?
How does it look for the programmers?
You should know that the developer's point of view is vastly different than yours. We realize why a java software development company is easy to blame if the project goes sideways, but it's actually easy to entirely avoid with good communication. We at fireup.pro have many java programmers who experienced the problems we mentioned and created their own solutions.
Here’s a couple of reasons why you experience problems with software development:
- Priorities weren't properly defined.
- The tools and environment you provided were sub-par, especially considering your quality expectations.
- The team you have chosen doesn't have the skill that your project requires.
- There are no clear criteria for quality assessment or approval.
- You haven't defined the business goals of your software.
- The project has suddenly changed in some way.
The team needs to know not only what they are doing, but also why. Your programmers have to be aware of the scope of the project, the benefits it should bring, the deadlines, the quality, etc. Only then they will be able to communicate a lack of a crucial tool.
Another factor is change. If there's a need to change anything mid-sprint, it means that the project wasn't properly defined. This may force you to redesign, and postpone the completion of tasks. Or they can be completed partially, which could hurt the quality of the code and, in the end, the user experience. Also, less precise information equals longer software development, equals higher cost.
And that's why you need a Scrum Master
Scrum Master (SM) is a specific role that occurs only in teams working on the SCRUM framework. A quite an unusual role, for some controversial. He is said to be a "guardian of the process”.
Scrum Master is someone with their eye on the situation, ready to go into action at the first sign of trouble. Is there a need for more tools, skills, or information? The SM will recognize the problem before it rears its ugly head, and will act to prevent it. It will be possible because the SM constantly oversees the entire project, not only one of its aspects.
However, there's one more piece to this puzzle. The Product Owner (PO), the best person to define priorities and criteria, working on the client's side. This specialist will best understand the software and its purpose, will be able to consult with you when necessary, monitor the progress, and coordinate the project.
(Read more about PO on our blog: why you need a product owner >> )
SM and PO, working together, are the best way to ensure easy-going cooperation.
So that the development team does not have to break away from their work and does not have to practice the difficult art of effective communication. During scrum ceremonies, such as the Daily Scrum meeting, the development team reports what prevents them from delivering tasks, and SM gets what the team needs to be able to deliver the agreed scope of tasks on time. But SM is not an intermediary. Hence, SM should strive to ensure that various types of messages to and from the team go directly between the sender and the recipient.
But what does the Scrum Master really do?
The Scrum Master is not a team manager. He has power over the process, but no power over people. He is said to be a "servant leader". He is a leader who wants to serve first, not be served. He wants to bring out the best in people. He is a leader who is constantly trying to find out what people need to be successful.
Here's something if you're looking for a more specific answer:
- If the programming team lacks certain skills, the Scrum Master will organize a retrospective to determine actual needs and solutions.
- If your java programmers consider the environment or tools you provided inadequate, the SM can organize workshops for better understanding the architecture and its risks.
- If the team isn't motivated, the SM can introduce team coaching to remedy the problem.
- The Scrum Master is also the person to facilitate teamwork and meetups.
The SM supports the Product Owner - helps (but does not replace) in managing the Product Backlog, creating understandable elements, and supports the product development planning process.
The Scrum Master helps build "High-Performance Teams" - instructs how to develop and deliver business stories by the development team.
Solve the problem before it escalates!
There are two truths one cannot deny. First: the outsourcing of software development is beneficial. Second: even the smoothest roads have bumpy stages.
That's why you need cooperation between the Scrum Master and Product Owner. Without it, you're putting your project at risk. They are the crucial link that connects both ends of the chain: you and your needs on one side, programmers, and their understanding of your needs on the other.
The best thing about it? You don't have to hire new people. Look inside your team first. You almost certainly have a person with management skills that can perform this function. And if you need someone anyway, we're always here to help you.
The presented content was written by our experts and is based on our company's experiences.