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Case Study: How a New York startup set up ODC in Nova

Summary

From this article you will see how a startup, which has not used outsourcing service before, utilized Nova's ODC (Offshore Development Center) service to develop an app that help the client rapidly seize huge market share.

Background

The startup team consists of three professionals including an experienced marketing expert, a senior business expert and a former Wall Street banker. From initial market research, the market expectation for the product was high and potential users were growing, thus the client decided that they should develop the mobile app in a short timeframe so to respond to the market demand. After assessing a few different outsourcing destinations, the client chose China as the first option and very soon they found Nova has rich experience developing custom software product for overseas clients.

However, it was the first time that the client talked with an outsourcing agency. They wanted to learn all the things from engagement model, project management method, payment term, and the most importantly, how can a remote team deliver exactly what they need? Furthermore, as there is no technical expert on the team, the client needs advice on product design, development timeline and budget.

How we do it

  • In the initial stage, we organized a couple of phone call meetings with the client and our mobile expert. In the meetings the client walked us through what need to be done and we gave a rough estimate for timeline and cost, so that the client knew what to expect and how much to spend. In the meantime, the client also reviewed our previous work and their confidence with Nova was growing.
  • Based on the timeline Nova suggested the best team structure for the client. The team consisted of one project manager, one back-end developer, one iOS developer, one Android developer and a tester.
  • Understanding requirements accurately is always the first thing for outsourcing vendor to do, so when the ODC kicked off, the project manager and tester spent two weeks with the client to go through the requirement details. During this period, they would have a long meeting each day. After the meeting, the project manager and tester transformed the meeting discussion into Axure prototype, then they would send the prototype to client for confirmation. After two weeks, the prototype has clearly defined the scope and UI for developers to implement.
  • We adopted Scrum methodology in the development phase. The client would pick out tasks from product backlog to set a 2-week sprint for the team. Our team would make sure all the tasks in one sprint were completed in time and ready for the client to test. The client would test on weekly basis so that any issues with progress, quality or usability can be spotted in due course.
  • Quality is the most important factor for a project to success. To guarantee high quality, we have formed a full set of measures followed by all ODC teams in Nova:
    • Sit together – Once a team is assembled, all the team member should sit together as a close group.
    • Every project team would formulate its project standard and each team member should follow. Every month project manager would review team member's performance.
    • For each task, project manager and developer would estimate the workload together and developer would make sure the task is completed within the estimated hours.
    • Project manager would review developers' code and test the functions to make sure the overall quality is up to standard.
    • Project manager would have close communication with each member on weekly basis to find if the member meet any challenge so to ensure the team stability.
  • As a startup, the client paid very close attention to budget control, therefore we allowed flexible resource input and adjusted the input along the development process. When the client needs large batch of functions, the team can work full time to accelerate the development. When the client focused on maintenance, team member's daily input would decrease accordingly. However we ensured same team members are constantly working on the team so that project knowledge would not got lost.

What the Client says

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for everything you have done to help establish our app. We appreciated the supreme services you provided in the past year. We have not only benefited from your expertise, Nova have also set a benchmark in our future development in technology.