Illustration of outsourced development team members working anywhere.
May 13, 2021

Before You Hire an Outsourced Development Team — Start Here

Version Control

In today’s software world, outsourced development teams are becoming standard. Startups utilize them to minimize initial investment costs. Large organizations leverage them so in-house developers can focus on more high-value tasks, reduce development costs, or to provide expertise the company doesn’t already have in-house.

But for many, it can be difficult to manage an outsourced development team. Learn how you can optimize your pipeline to decrease risks and maximize productivity.

Where to Start — How to Mange Outsourced Projects

The global IT outsourcing market dramatically increased in response to the pandemic. And it is only growing. It is expected to reach $486.16 billion by 2024 (growing 5% a year). Companies want all the advantages that come with outsourced development — reducing time to market, improving efficiency, and cutting costs — without the headache.

Without a plan (and the right tools) teams can end up suffering consequences — immature code sneaking into releases, not knowing where changes came from, and IP leakage to name a few.

Common Challenges Managing Outsourced Teams

So, what are common challenges with managing outsourced teams? How can you solve them?

Less Codebase Knowledge

When onboarding any new developer, it can take time for them to understand the codebase. But let’s start by asking — does your own company document how your codebase is setup? What about your branching strategy and how changes are propagated across branches? If it is documented, how do you know if it is up to date? How is it shared across geographies and multiple teams?

You do not want to pay an outsourced development team to have to discover this information for themselves, or worse, incorrectly interpret the information and make mistakes. They often are pushed to new projects or teams with minimal notice. So, you need to make sure that before they get started, your development environment along with standard processes and procedures are already documented and automated. This can prevent costly delays. It is also essential to keep this information updated as the project continues to grow and change.

Complicated Review Process

As changes are being made by your outsourced development team, they need to be tested and built with the broader codebase which may include in-house changes. Depending on your code is set up — monolith, microservices, component-based development — integration of these changes may be complicated to manage. Clear code review processes are key with any development team, especially with outsourced teams to guarantee quality. You need to balance the time it takes with the requirement to build fast.

See how to manage code reviews at massive scale >>

High-quality code should be clean and easy to maintain, even after the outsourced team moves on. To get bug-free execution, you need automate the review process as much as possible to help improve velocity. You should build a quality assurance process that includes testing across all team members but also between teams. If you review early and often and set up automatic testing, you can keep everyone moving fast.

Limited Version Control Training

Most outsourced development teams are trained using one version control systemGit. It is free and ubiquitous within the software community. But complex projects and large teams are rarely successful with just Git. And you do not want to spent valuable time onboarding the team by having to learn a new version control system. You simply cannot train everyone on every project!

Depending on how your projects are set up, you can use multiple version control systems. However, working with multiple version control systems is not ideal without the right tools and processes in place. It complicates your build pipeline. DevOps engineers may need to use scripts to bring all the code back together. Every new branch could impact that script. You will want to communicate out the scope of the project to all impact parties before people start coding.

IP Security

If you are outsourcing development, you risk exposing trade secrets. Depending on your version control system, you may not be able to protect outsourced developers from having access to your entire system. Therefore, you likely need to break up your project to limit access. Having a separate repo just for them to access ensures they only have access to what they need.

Learn Git security best practices >>

Just like with multiple version control systems, this complicates your build pipeline. It also leads to repo sprawl and unmaintainable code, fast. Make sure to map out not just how code should be built, but where it should be kept and how often it should be updated. Recording how changes were made and where is also critical for auditing.

Even if you are not in a regulated industry, understanding how your code evolved and keeping it safe is critical to maximizing your investment in outsourced development teams. As you continue to build out the project, keep everything updated!

Conquer Outsourced Development Challenges with the Right Toolset

All the challenges we mentioned require you to document, document, and then document more. This is because communicating across teams, especially when some are outsourced is critical to your success.

But what if you could have a version control system that could help onboard new developers fast, automatically provide a visual, always up to date guide for how code should flow (your branch and merge patterns), protect what matters most, and simplify your build pipeline?

Helix Core is the version control system that can do it all. It is known as the industry standard to securely manage everything — code, large binaries, and more — with the speed required to support global collaboration.

How can Helix Core ensure you get maximum benefit from your outsourced development team?

Manage Outsourced Projects in Git & Simplify Builds

Outsourced development teams may prefer to use Git. But with Helix Core, you can have some teams using Helix Core and other teams use Git. You still get a single source of truth for testing and builds. How does it work?

Got Questions? Check out our Helix4Git FAQ to learn more >>

Helix4Git natively stores Git repos, with the speed and reliability of the Perforce Helix Core server.  Outsourced development teams can still use Git commands in whatever interface they prefer. It will just look like Git with no changes to their workflow! In fact, you can add Helix4Git even if you are in the middle of a project. It’s that seamless.

On the Helix Core side, developers can see Git code and bring it together to test. Helix4Git makes Git clone operations up to 80% faster and requires up to 18% less storage than standard Git. This means teams get the feedback they need, quicker. And you can bank on cost savings from outsourced development teams.

Try Helix Core + Helix4Git Free

Accelerate in-house developers and support outsourced development team members with one tool.

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Map Your Outsourced Development Process

Perforce Streams is your solution to automating and documenting your branching strategy. It makes life easier for your development team and DevOps engineers. This is because Streams guides code movement and visualizes the branching strategy in the client.

Admins don’t have to spend time implementing workflows, maintaining complicated scripts, and sending angry emails. Developers can see how their code should flow together, minimizing merge conflicts by promoting the merge early, merge often best practice.

With Streams, the structure is built-in to support complex branching for development and releases (no matter your strategy). Plus, this foundation is flexible enough to adapt to how your team works.

How Perforce Streams Works

When a developer creates a Stream, their workspace is set up automatically. It knows what source files to include and developers can see which ones are being worked on (and by whom).

Streams creates and shows the flow of change between branches. Your team no longer needs to rely on naming conventions, whiteboards or memory to determine how branches are related. And forget about documenting branching strategies! Because with Streams, you always know where your code needs to go. This helps keep your branches and codebase stable.

Secure Down to the File

But how can you protect your IP? Helix Core offers iron-clad security down to the individual file level. There’s no need to open your entire repo to have someone work on a small aspect of the project.

There’s also no need to separate out that small aspect of the project into its own repo for security reasons. Lock down your IP without all of the unnecessary gymnastics Git requires by using Helix Core.

Get Started Today

See for yourself how Helix Core + Helix4Git can optimize your pipeline for outsourced development teams.

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