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Working with an Offshore Development Team

The results are in! How do decision makers really feel after hiring an offshore development team? Is working with an offshore development team reliable? Do I have to wake up in the middle of the night to work with them? What about language barriers? We recently conducted a poll on Twitter and asked people about their experience using an offshore development team. The results were interesting to say the least.

The following options were given:

  •      Exceeded our expectations
  •      Met our expectations
  •      Did not go well.

 

The Results

THE MAJORITY of people felt offshore development did not go well for them. So why did most people feel let down? In my experience there are two sides to the coin. Managing an offshore development team is a skill and if it’s not something you’re experienced in, how can you expect good results? A company could hire one of the best offshore teams available, but without the proper guidance that a company like Green Mango provides, those teams can easily produce “bad” results.

Do I just need a developer?

Commonly when someone contacts us, they think they are looking for a developer when what they really need is much more. They need a complete development consulting experience that an offshore developer is unlikely to provide. The most common reason a software product fails is that they never find a market for their product. That means the first person you need is a product manager, but after that, you need a UI and UX designer. You need a few hours a week from a project manager, you need a software architect, CTO, and developers.  You probably need some QA, you need a launch marketing plan, etc.

If you read any of those things and said to yourself, “I don’t do that well,”, or “I don’t know what that is,” then you’re going to need a team that can handle it for you, or you’re going to need to learn quickly and be very optimistic. Working with a development company like ours allows you to gain access to someone who has skills in each of these areas that can help guide your project to success.

Green Mango and Offshore Developers

In Green Mango’s 10 years of existence, we’ve had numerous opportunities to work with development teams from around the globe. During this time, we were able to build a network of reliable teams that have worked well for us in the past and we also developed a model that honed in on two goals:

Allowing our customers to capture some discount from offshore development, and secondly, ensuring a much higher product success rate than is traditionally seen with offshore development. We do this by being the gatekeeper between the two parties. On the client-side, we make sure the product plan makes sense and is properly communicated to the offshore team. We also explain details of tech that may get lost in translation or may be in general not palatable for a client who is less than a tech expert.

On the offshore side, we provide technical guidance, oversight, and auditing of the offshore work being done. We tend to make the big decisions and hire the right developers to fill very specific project roles. We also add roles such as designers and marketing experts from separate teams as needed. Soliciting feedback from the client is how we make sure they are happy with the results as we go.

 

Challenges that come up working with Offshore Development teams

One of the benefits of working with an offshore development team is having someone working while you sleep. While this coverage does seem great, it comes with a great challenge. If you don’t know how to communicate the proper details to the offshore team, they may spend a whole day going in the wrong direction while you’re sleeping.

While their hourly rate is lower, so is the value of the work since they were building the wrong thing. This is an example of where people often complain that the offshore team was not competent when really what is happening is that communication from the client to the development team was lacking or poor quality.

None of this information is meant to disparage the hard working developers across the globe. We strongly believe in what we call the “hybrid” development model. This is where offshore development is used when and where it is appropriate. It is not used when it seems risky or dangerous. We believe this is the most efficient development approach, but it requires the right checks and balances in place to make it work. Our specialty is helping companies here in the US achieve that efficiency while keeping their risk low.

August 7, 2017
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Funnels and Analytics

Funnels

How many pages does it take to get to your online business’s checkout? Or maybe your goal is simply to get the user to sign up for a service. Whether it is a web page or a mobile app, your funnels can make or break your sales. Funnels are the steps users take to get to that final checkout/sign up page and become converts. Converts are prospective customers who complete your funnel process and successfully become actual customers.

Green Mango can help map out and carve the best funnel path for your business. Our objective is to assist in achieving as many conversions for you as possible. After refining what we think is the best funnel to begin with, we need to gather user visitation data that we can then use to analyze performance.

Analytics – Tracking Your Funnel.

Once you have successfully mapped out your sales funnel, analytics come into play. Services such as Google Analytics or Hotjar allow you to see this information. Hopefully you have given your website some time to acquire valuable visitation data. If your business has a 4-page checkout system, use your analytics to see what percentage of users made it to the 2nd, 3rd, or even the final page if they made it that far at all. Take advantage of this information to pinpoint where user interest dropped off for whatever reason. Ideally it’s just a small bug on the page which is absolutely fixable. It’s also possible that the solution is not so simple and your page just does not retain user interest at that point. Once you are able to isolate whatever the page issue is, adjustments need to be made to get back on track to maximizing conversions.

Pinpointing User Drop Off in Your Funnel

What should you do if you do see a drop in user retention before conversion? It happens. Sometimes during the checkout process, users see the shipping cost and determine they no longer want to spend so much and close the page. Sometimes drops are a result of the user’s responsibility to fill out an excess of information they do not feel comfortable sharing. User drop off can be explained by a multitude of reasons, but this should not be seen as failure. By figuring out where we lose user retention, we can improve on those points. Test what methods will maintain the user’s attention long enough to become a conversion.

A/B Testing Funnel Methods

Sometimes known as bucket testing or split testing, A/B testing allows your business to test two versions of the same page to see which one performs better. Your A and B pages do not have to be drastically different from each other. Changes could be as small as adjusting the wording in one section or writing a new headline. This is a fantastic way to experiment with different funnels to have the most successful approach and produce the most conversions.

Feedback is Crucial

Not every user will willingly provide feedback by leaving a review or attempting to contact you via social media should you be so lucky! However, your business can still learn a lot from what users are not saying, i.e. analyzing funnel data. Refine on the information provided by your funnel to find out which method provides the most successful conversion rate and continue from there.

July 3, 2017
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