The Do's & Don'ts of Managing an Outsourced Ruby on Rails Development Team
Even in 2022 - and even after working from home during the pandemic - many business owners are still scared about not having all of their people working for them under the same roof. They can’t imagine a reality where they can’t control every step that their employees or contractors take. But that’s not real leadership - that’s micromanagement, and it’s been proven time and again, this approach does not work well in the 21st century.
We get it, sometimes it is so hard to trust someone with your business and money but look at the bright side - if you find the right people, they can take your company to the next level. Using their experience, they can guide you through the whole development process to make managing an outsourced Ruby on Rails team from a distance smooth and easy.
We at Railwaymen are exactly like that. We specialise in delivering custom software in the Ruby on Rails technology to offshore companies like Appleseeds! Based on our experience with projects like this, we’re sharing our do’s and don’ts of how to manage your outsourced development team to receive the highest quality Ruby on Rails output. And later on, we’ll also show you the best practices for hiring a Ruby on Rails developer!
Once you’ve read through our tips, if you need help selecting the right company, tell us what you need. We can do the work for you and connect you with up to 5 companies within 72h that match your need- all for free.
The Do’s of Managing an Outsourced Ruby on Rails Team
1. Have a clear vision
Before talking to the software house (or houses) you choose to get a quotation from, it’s important to first have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. This will reduce the time it takes to research relevant development teams and will enable you to pre-determine things they may not understand. At this phase, it’s not about the technicals, but the business side of the project. Is the goal to sell a product through your app or make your enterprise workflow more efficient? If you’re not sure, then it’s worth considering a Discovery Phase to find the best commercial needs for your business.
2. Do your research
Research similar projects to your own to get a rough idea of how much it’s likely to cost. If you have a very limited budget it will be hard to deliver “the next Facebook”. Sure, you could always start with an MVP, but it will soon become clear what you can get for your money, and how much it will cost to meet your ambitions.
3. Try to be specific during the calls
When having calls (weekly, monthly, daily), be specific with the information you provide and at the same, be honest and transparent about everything. If you know that you need some time to raise some extra funds or the concept of the app dramatically changes - just mention it, don’t hide those details as it can potentially make the challenges it causes even worse.
4. Stay on the topic
If the dev team asks you specific questions about a feature, give them as much information they need - but only in regards to that question. Don’t stray into other features or start discussing other topics. The face-to-face communication process is complicated enough, and it gets even more complex when you’re communicating via phone or video call. With this rule, it’s easy to avoid any unnecessary confusion.
5. Trust your Project Manager
Offer a vote of confidence to the Project Manager and the team on the development process. These are the people that will be delivering the project and trying to solve problems throughout. They always have your best interest at heart as they know that a successful partnership based on mutual understanding and trust makes cooperation much more beneficial to both sides.
6. Try new methodologies
Try to be open to working in the latest project control methodologies. We understand that you might be used to emails, but there are tools that offer a more convenient way of managing an outsourced Ruby on Rails development team. Be open to trying them out and discovering what works for you and your outsourced team. You should also decide what engagement model you’re working with to ensure you get the best from both sides. Find out more about the five different engagement models you can choose from in the Pangea universe.
7. Trust your tech team
As we mention in our discussion about the pros and cons of Ruby development, the language can be quite completed to fully grasp. When the tech lead of the team is explaining a technical functionality to you, trust in their knowledge on how he would like to develop it. I know that you’d ideally want to understand everything in your app project but sometimes it’s just not possible. The same goes for the tech lead - they’ll never be able to fully understand the commercial side of the business. Trusting in each other’s competences is the best way to work efficiently and effectively together.
When looking for a tech team you can trust - remember, if you need help selecting the right company, tell us what you need. We can do the work for you and connect you with up to 5 companies within 72h that match your need- all for free.
8. Use tickets
If the team requires you to test or use a ticketing environment, please do use it or at least have a person in your business to take care of it. This way, you will avoid a lot of time lost on extra explanations around why and how something happened from the development team.
9. Communicate any changes to the Project Manager
If your clients ask you to deliver something that falls out of the timescales or project scope that you’ve agreed with your outsourced team, you should talk to the Project Manager before making a decision. Ruby on Rails is a Model-View-Controller framework, so in other words, if you need to enhance your app with new features or business logic, you won’t have any barriers to overcome. But only if you tell the development team about any changes as soon as possible.
The Don’ts of Managing an Outsourced Ruby on Rails Team
1. Don’t try to get more on fixed budget
If you have a fixed budget, don’t try to cut corners, because this often creates further challenges. In fact, this is one of the biggest reasons projects fail. Business owners want to save some money on testing, design or the security of their app, to fit as many functionalities as they can in their limited budget - but then this often leads to failure as a result. Usually, it is better to start with something less advanced, and then grow steadily over time.
2. Never undermine the team intelligence
Do not try to diminish or minimise the intelligence of the team, even if you are having a rough time with them. We are all humans, we have emotions, sure. But personal attacks won’t get you very far. Instead, take a deep breath, walk away from the computer screen, and respond when you’ve had time to consider the situation.
3. Try not to drift away from the topic
When having calls, try to not give extra information about things you want to develop in further phases of the project, even if they are related to the conversation. There will be plenty of time for this later. Again, this simply avoids creating confusion and keeps the team focused on the job at hand.
4. Don’t demand more than there’s time for
Don’t push the development team to the limit all the time. Developers are people who work hard mentally to develop and deliver what you are asking for. Their work is very creative and also draining, so even if you think that what they did seems easy on the front side of the app trust me - on the back end, the real magic happened.
5. Don’t let technology get in the way of your relationship
Keep in mind that Ruby on Rails is inseparable from Ruby. The trends associated with the language may affect the framework and vice versa. Don’t be nervous if it happens and trust your team. They’ll be able to find a way to adjust to the changes, and you should too - try not to get mad with the team if there are bumps in the road due to the technology being used.
6. Don't try to speed up the development process
Please, be patient on development processes. The team will deliver everything on-time as standard. If not, the Project Manager will take responsibility and look for a solution to the problems that caused slight project timeline changes.
7. Don’t repeat yourself over and over
Try to avoid going round in circles discussing the same subject around a specific problem or situation. If, after the first explanation from the development team you are not so sure about the answer, it is better to stop the development process and ask again, until everything becomes clear.
8. Don’t criticise the costs associated with Ruby on Rails
Believe me, there are tools/technologies in the market that are far more expensive than Ruby on Rails. For example conventional web development tools that can achieve the same output typically cost a small fortune, and your company would have to cover licensing costs. In this situation, Rails is a really good option since it is free to use for both individuals and companies. Moreover, if you combine the framework with other free and open-source databases, servers, operating systems and miscellaneous tools, you will get an outstanding development package, so your company framework can adapt faster to it.
Are you ready to manage your outsourced Ruby development team?
As you see now, managing an outsourced Ruby on Rails development team is not as complicated as you may think. It’s really based on two fundamentals: finding the right people, and trusting that they will deliver you a product of the highest quality. If you do that and throw an extra sprinkle of mutual respect and recognition their way, you will get a recipe for a perfect business partnership and achieve full cooperation with your offshore software development team.
Outsourcing your app idea offers many benefits including a project optimised by a highly experienced dedicated Ruby on Rails developers, increased business revenue thanks to the custom software and most importantly, extra capacity internally, afforded by the support of the external team. Plus, external Ruby teams will become increasingly beneficial considering increased demand in the future of Ruby Development.
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