12 benefits to hire a PM to your Outsourcing team

Sometimes happens that projects do not realize their full potential or even fail, that’s why having a skilled, well-rounded, and dedicated project manager on the team, even if it is an outsourced crew, the likelihood the project will be successful and profitable regardless of your and business vision and direction. Yeah, maybe you see this as a risky leap, but it’s a great option to get an experienced person who will positively influence your business lower costs, innovate, and grow.

Our clients usually appreciate the decision to hire a dedicated Project Manager. They understand that a project manager is a person who will organize and will streamline the workflow, focusing on dozens of issues simultaneously. In such a way, customers overcome the problems, keeping the timeline, productivity, and motivation of the team and other key processes.

42% of companies don’t understand the need or importance of project management. (Project Management Institute)

The PM not just leads the team, navigating any hiccups, awkward situations like failure to meet deadlines, overstated and unjustified costs, provide clear specifications of tasks and mitigate risks. This person is always in touch with clients regardless of the time zone difference, organizing regular calls, demonstrations of the project, and gettering feedback constantly. He is responsible for the project’s success, meeting deadlines, and balancing the complex components of a project, and still, it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Companies start looking for project managers when they’re already hurting for one between 10 and 20 employees. (Divvy)

Many businesses should already have a project manager for a team that exceeds 7 people. But the majority of outsourcing projects that are do not have a person who will take the lead, suffer from inefficiency, and work more on project development than it’s necessary.


If you want to have a management to match the business vision but not a storm of inefficiency, lack of accountability, extended timelines, and blown budgets, we kindly suggest to hire a confident and dedicated PM with wide and complex competencies as are the following:

Soft skills:Hard skills:
leadership
clearly communication
critical thinking
flexibility
proactiveness
open-mindedness
stress
transparency
decisiveness
power to motivate others
IT expertise
planning
team management/integrity
cost management
risk management
project management tools
solution-oriented
empowering others
math and analysis
delegation
conflict management

The primary benefits of hiring a project manager for the outsourcing team:

  • reducing development costs and time allocated to this process;
  • regular communication with the client and keeps a client in the loop;
  • steers the project in the right direction.

Arguments

But if you still doubt that you’re an outsourced project is an optional addition, carefully read all the clearly stated reasons below for hiring such an important expert. Learn about key tasks, responsibilities and see the importance of hiring a PM for your outsourcing team.

  1. Industry expertise.
    • The project manager clearly defines the vision, the direction of the project, based on a high-level view of business goals. As a result, he creates the action plan to be followed in order to deliver a successful and qualitative project.
  2. Diversity.
    • A temporarily hired project manager will come up with more new ideas, due to his extensive experience delivering projects of various sizes to customers in various industries and countries, while in-house PM works only for a particular project. When you work on different projects, your ideas progress. The same thing would have happened to your employees if you offered them to an outside company. They will constantly exchange experience, ideas, and knowledge. Plus, the experience of an outsourcing project manager does not permit to dull but important administrative tasks to be overlooked and focus being thinned. Perfect!
  3. Openness.
    • The subcontracting project manager is more transparent, more open, and focuses on the outcome because he doesn’t rely exclusively upon you for their income. Which rarely happens with the in-house project managers.
  4. Persistence.
    • The project manager has a commercial interest to deliver the project qualitatively and to get a good review, because the number of customers will depend on the work done, influencing the profit.
  5. Dedication.
    • As a lot of changes may arise on the go (adjustments, new ideas’ tests, etc.). Having a PM outside your company, you’re fully committed to the completion of the project throughout every stage of the project life cycle; from planning, right through to the final execution and delivery. He monitors closely every step of development. In case you have hired yourself, there may be risks such as loss of work efficiency, loss of motivation, and many others that will put the project at risk.
    • In case of subcontracting a project manager, you’re assured that the employee has the experience and that he will deliver the project successfully in the established terms and up to standard. Otherwise, the PM will pay penalties and will have to compromise his paycheck.
  6. Flexible workforce.
    • Working with worldwide customers in a variety of industries, the outsourced project manager is always flexible and adapts to any conditions. Even if is a significant difference of a client’ and our PM’s time zone, our expert adjust to the client’s preferred way and time of communication.
    • Moreover, the zone difference in our case this is a benefit. In this way, PM organizes his work in the most efficient way in order to have a productive conversation, and with the responsible team to structure all the necessities quickly and operatively at the same time.
  7. Cost-effectiveness.
    • You pay for exactly the length of time you employ thus you save a project’s budget in the long run. A qualified PM with vast experience will cost you enormously, having him as an employee in your company. But only taking strict advantage of the hours of an external project manager will save you money. In addition, for the in-house project manager you need to allocate money for some additional costs that you don’t have to pay for contractors:
      • Employer-provided benefits;
      • Insurance;
      • Social Security and Medicare taxes;
      • Office space;
      • Equipment;
      • Education and development (trainings, courses);
      • Team buildings.
    • Thereby, you save a substantial amount of money that can be used for your project development if necessary.
  8. Quicker time-to-value.
    • Solving small problems takes a lot of time and when there is a person who is responsible for the effectiveness of the team and the optimization of processes, both the client and the developers can focus on the key things, business/project development.
  9. Quality assurance.
    • Before launching the project, the project manager tests the product and makes sure that the app corresponds to the real scenarios of the user’s behavior. This is just one and the most important stage in which the client should not get involved and waste time. He will always remove obstacles or solve sudden issues, because he has problem-solving skills.
  10. Budget overruns.
    • PM is the person who ensures that engineers meet the deadlines. Due to regular reviews of the project budget, he makes sure that no specialist is misusing/overuse project resources in order to ultimately avoid idle expenses.
  11. Risk management and analysis.
    • Due to the comprehensive experience of the project manager, he constantly analyzes and isolates the risks to minimize the possibility of the breakdown. But even if the worst scenario happened, he knows how to find the solution even if it is the most complicated situation.
  12. Skillful communication.
    • When the team consists of specialists with different responsibilities, communication is key. As a bridge between developers and client, the project manager streamlines the process by receiving feedback that clearly defines the project’s vision. He knows better how to filter information and transform an hour-long conversation into clearly defined tasks.

Generally, no matter the size of your business, projects, or required skills. Therefore, you need an expert with a highly specialized area of knowledge and skill who will deliver successfully your final product, on time and without a prohibitive budget.

DAS Solutions is a company that has professionals with excellent entrepreneurial skills. Our Project Managers are certified and continuously improve their skills through trainings and courses. If you decided to implement new software, roll out a new product line, or undergo a new business initiative, contact us today by email, [email protected] . Let’s staff an exact project your business needs to thrive.

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    5 Key Benefits of IT Outsourcing

    Why would your business need to outsource its IT tasks? In short makes everybody’s life much easier.
    Additionally, when done for the right considerations, IT outsourcing will really help your business grow faster and save money. But there are also other benefits of outsourcing that surpass money. Here are the top 5 benefits of IT outsourcing.
    Moving forward,
    DAS Solutions Team.

    Talking InsurTech with Dr. Moritz Finkelnburg

    This March, specifically on the 13-14th, Goethe Business School (GBS) organizes the Global InsurTech Roadshow in Frankfurt together with InsurTech Asia from Singapore. The roadshow combines pitch-sessions and discussion rounds with international early-stage InsurTechs. One of the main organizers of the event is Dr. Moritz Finkelnburg – Academic Director for Insurance at GBS. Also, he manages the insurance programs as part of the China Executive Education Center. With 20 years of management and board experience in leading insurance companies he is a specialist in sales and non-life-insurance as well as profit-oriented portfolio management. We are thrilled that Dr. Finkelnburg gave us an interview where he shared his insurance industry’s experience, thoughts on innovation and why the Global InsurTech Roadshow is an event that is not to be missed.

    1.  How did the InsureTech eco-system change in the last couple of years?

    The InsurTech era started with tech-oriented small companies, mainly focusing on app and technical service developments. Since 2015, we noticed the market-entry of digital brokers such as Knip or Clark, offering a fresh image, high customer service and easy accessibility. Last year the first digital insurers appeared and will be completed this year. They are offering own products and services to the customers.

    2.  Who is behind the Global InsurTech Roadshow (GIR)? How did the idea appear? 

    The driver of this idea are George Kesselman, the founder of InsurTech Asia and me. One day last year when George was visiting me here in Frankfurt he told me about a roadshow he was organizing in 5 Asian countries. The idea to organize a similar conference in Europe was simple and caught both of us. And the rest is simple…

    3.  What mainly differentiates GIR amongst all the other existing InsureTech conferences/events? 

    On one side we are non-commercial, which makes a huge difference. We are able to offer much more competitive prices and decided not to charge any startup who wants to pitch during our conference. In addition, I think we are much more familiar or intimate. You don’t need a super-professional but somehow cold environment to feel good, make great contacts and have lots of fun.

    4.  What your attendees will take away from the GIR event? 

    They will definitely have seen the newest trends and startups in the InsurTech-ecosystem most of them have never been seen somewhere before and they will have made a lot of new contacts which are relevant for their specific kind of business.

     5.  According to you, where (in the insurance business) can technology help the most? 

    In my eyes, digitization will mostly help to improve the value chain of traditional insurers becoming more efficient, quicker, more service oriented and with less errors.

    6.  How important is innovation, namely software implementation for the industry? 

    Today’s insurer’s software landscape is extremely complex. Innovations need years due to long implementation scenarios. Every approach to solve or reduce this complexity will help. 

    7.  Where do you see the industry heading and what should businesses venture onto, in order to be in the game? 

    Digital brokers and insurers are fantastic and true innovation-drivers. However, they will have extremely hard times ahead. If they survive 5 years and are able build up a significant portfolio they will thrive. Otherwise, they will be killed by their customer acquisition cost. The enablers however will have a good chance to develop if they can help traditional insurers to improve their value chain.

    One of our goals at DAS Solutions is empowering and supporting the industry as a whole, and that’s why we are so excited to be part of #GIR2018. What is clear to us is that GIR is as much about industry’s insights as it is about harnessing a community of insurers who are eager for change, who understand that technology is the future and there is no time to wonder. 

    If you will be attending the event as well, or just around the block, let us, specifically Daria know we would love to meet you and have a chat. 

    Moving forward,
    DAS Solutions Team. 

    How to Start a Custom Software Enhancement Project?

    Custom software enhancement is often confused with custom software maintenance services, because the line between these two terms may seem blurred sometimes. You need to know that software enhancement includes advancements in features, platforms, performance, usability and design. Through enhancement your software application becomes faster, more efficient, more usable, more useful, and more desirable. It’s the next step in your software’s evolution, that’s why you need to know how to prioritize the changes.

    Step 1: Get an idea on where to start your custom software enhancement project at.

    Create a database of requested changes where users of your solution can offer what they wish to see in the upcoming version of your software. In addition to this, you can approach your most valuable clients/users and ask them directly what kind of new features they would like to add.
    Afterwards, ask the development team what kind of functionalities they would add.

    They may speak in favor of:

    Upgrading the software to be compatible with new database releases;
    Adding new statistical analysis and visualization tools;
    Adding a new tab to the dashboard;
    Improving the search function; etc.

    Step 2: Evaluate the information and take a decision.

    As with all business decisions, it’s a cost/benefit problem. What is the benefit of adding a feature? What will it cost (including the costs that will result from not adding the feature)? Calculate how much it will cost to add it.
    Tip: Usually the cost is calculated in hours that have to be spent by developers to develop a feature.

    Analyze the information you got from the users of your platform and identify those missing features that will have a tangible business impact on user experience. It makes no sense to add a feature from which only a few will benefit.

    At first, pick those features that have the most benefit for the smallest cost. Resources are often limited, while requirements and desires are not, that is why it is so important to prioritize correctly.

    An accurate estimation of a custom software enhancement project may be a herculean task. These questions will help you estimate the project:

    1. How will your existing solution be affected by modifications?
    2. Do you need to build the new feature from scratch or does something similar already exist in the system?
    3. Can you reuse the existing code?
    4. Will modifications require the testing of the whole system?
    5. How many developers are needed to make modifications?
    6. How much time will it take to develop, design and test new features?

    The bad news is that you can miscalculate the time and effort required. For instance, the development of a new functionality might take longer than you expected and result in higher production costs.

    In order to avoid this kind of errors it is better to entrust your custom software enhancement project to an experienced team of software developers who know how to:

    • Thoroughly analyze existing software documentation
    • Analyze the architecture of the existing software application and offer structural changes
    • Analyze and make changes to the existing code
    • Perform software security analysis

    Custom software enhancement cannot be made by a low-skilled developer. That’s why you need someone who has experience in adding new features to a code written by someone else, who can understand not only how to build in new functionalities, but also to see the business essence of the system.

    One of the most important things in software enhancement projects is to clearly prioritize the requirements and take an approach to incrementally work on one function or feature at a time. Your users will thank you for the changes they’ve asked and waited for.

    6 Reasons to Get a VoIP Solution in Your Office

    Voice Over IP (VoIP) solutions deliver your calls using your broadband internet connection. These can improve communication efforts and cut costs, but you need to be careful while choosing the right solution for your business needs.

    There is a range of products on the market, but not all of them were designed for business use and can fall short of addressing your needs, security concerns, and requirements. Existing calling apps can have limited functionalities. For example, some applications can make calls only to others who use the same app. When choosing a VoIP solution, you need to make sure that it lets you make calls across platforms, and to any landline or mobile phone number. Keeping this in mind, there is always the option to approach a custom VoIP solutions developer and see if a product can be customized or designed from scratch to your specifications. We’ve looked at the benefits of an SMS Gateway before, but today let’s take a look at what a custom VoIP solution can do for you.

    Six Advantages of Getting a Custom VoIP Solution for Your Office:

    • Save money
      It is a well-known fact that VoIP systems are more affordable than services provided by traditional phone companies, especially if your business requires making phone calls to different destinations across the world. With a VoIP solution you will no longer have to maintain separate networks for phone and data, which is another advantage.
    • Enjoy phone number portability
      Legacy telephone systems assigned a phone number with a dedicated line. VoIP solutions provide number mobility: you can use the same number almost everywhere as long as your device is connected to the internet. Many executives use the same phone numbers regardless of their location, which is very handy.
    • Get voicemail transcriptions
      Voicemail transcription is a service that sends you an email with the text version of the voice message you got on your extension. It can be viewed from any device, and contains the contact information of the person who called, which can be useful.
    • Do not disturb
      You can turn on the feature to temporarily stop incoming calls to your phone and redirect them to a different extension. This is useful when you need to focus on other tasks that require your undivided attention or when you are in an important meeting.
    • Scalability and adaptability
      A VoIP solution will let you add a new line when a new employee comes in, and delete or reassign it whenever necessary. Thus you will always have the appropriate amount of lines for your needs and won’t need to pay extra for lines you don’t use.
    • Let your customers listen to your corporate anthem
      Sometimes you need to put the call on hold and then this feature becomes a necessity. Do not subject your callers to elevator music or silence. This feature will allow you to choose what your callers listen to while they wait. It will definitely help you create or enhance your brand awareness.

    VoIP solutions are flexible and affordable. With custom features, they will help you increase productivity, and provide more convenience for your customers. Contact us and let’s see if we might be able to help identify a solution to your needs.

    PS: Don’t forget about security.
    VoIP’s popularity is attracting the attention of cyber criminals, and business owners are concerned that someone may digitally intercept VoIP calls or bring down a company’s VoIP system using denial-of-service attacks. Make sure your network security is thorough and up to date.

    7 Reasons to Work with an IT Outsourcing Company

    It is true that working with an IT outsourcing company can save you money, but this should not be the only reason for choosing to partner with a foreign firm. Choose an outsourcing company wisely and it will bring you a range of benefits.

    1. Begin your project right away

    An IT outsourcing company will have the resources and knowledge to start working on your project quickly. Working on a project in-house in case you do not have knowledge and expertise will take a lot of time and money, because you will need to put effort in training and hiring people and getting them into the swing of things.

    2. Work with experts

    Some firms look for IT outsourcing companies because they need experts in specific programming languages. For short-term projects it makes no sense to hire such a developer full time in-house. Outsourcing is beneficial for small companies that are willing to be competitive by using high-tech.

    3. Increase efficiency

    If you are a big company, your IT team needs to be focused on the tasks with the highest priority. At the same time, tasks that are long-term can be delegated to your outsourcing team.

    4. Focus on what is important with an IT outsourcing company

    DAS Solutions gives you the possibility to focus on the core of your business, i.e. sales, marketing or customer experience. By being focused you are able to expand your business faster and offer a high level of service at the same time.

    5. Handle the lack of human resources

    The amount of work there is can be much higher than the number of people available to perform the tasks. This is especially the case in the summer when employees want to take a vacation or during shortages of talent in the company for other reasons. Your IT outsourcing partner is going to be responsible for managing your remote team.

    6. Get quality

    A good team of software developers delivers reliable products. The outsourcing company’s reputation depends on the quality of their service, which is a significant incentive to be more productive than your in-house developers.

    7. Predictable budget

    When you work with an IT outsourcing company you know in advance the cost of the development services, which will be helpful in your budgeting process.

    Regardless if you wish to work with an IT outsourcing company or develop a product in-house you need to:

    a- Set clear goals, milestones and tasks;
    b- Have a strategic vision for the project;
    c- Provide all the information and support needed.

    Technology Away, and a Happy Thanksgiving!

    It is rare that a technology-driven company will advocate that you set your gadgets aside. But then again, DAS Solutions is not your average tech company. On this important holiday in the lives of all our American friends, that is exactly what we encourage you to do: leave your technology aside and have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends!

    Sharing the joy of family gatherings during such special occasions is important to us. They remind us that giving thanks to the people we care about is what defines us as human beings, especially during such difficult times of mistrust around the world. Technology is often a catalyst to that mistrust, as it can create a wall of communication with close ones instead of facilitating it.

    While we strive to become better and more successful in our own lives and within our companies, we must reward ourselves with some time to sit down with our families and friends and talk to each other. No matter how much ambition we have or how much effort we put into our work, it is important to remember that nothing is possible if you are in it alone, whether you are a technology-driven company or not. You need trustworthy people alongside you to share that vision, and to steer you in the right direction when necessary.

    We share ideas with our partners to help them reach their full potential, or in order to deliver that sought-after IT tool that will help them grow their companies. We find ways to solve the problems they find in their business processes that no one else was able to. We explore various technologies to minimize the effort that firms in any field make on a daily basis to reach a target. Finally, we deliver what we are certain are the best and most robust IT solutions that technology can offer.

    While we are located in another time zone, it is technology that helps us bridge that geographical gap to reach out to some outstanding individuals with the capacity to change us in a fundamental way. We are astounded by the depth and breadth of our partners’ visions and we learn something from them every day. We acknowledge them. We appreciate that technology can bring you to us and our services to you. But we want you to forget about technology for one long Thanksgiving weekend. We thank you for being with us.

    A Good Software Engineer Will Identify These Two Problems

    In today’s world of rapid development of new technologies, an idea is often all it takes to completely reinvent the way we produce, consume, and live! The life cycle of new ideas follows a predictable pattern: birth, testing, development, testing, implementation, and testing again. Every step of the way, new ideas should be discarded if unfeasible, but the further down this life cycle they get, the more valuable the new project becomes to its “parent.” Similarly, a new idea may not be entirely thought out (often because of a lack of expertise or adequate advice). This can bring a lot of problems in the future and may cause the collapse of a project altogether.

    Software engineers call these two problems babies & horses and they cannot be overstated when it comes to software development. A good software engineer will provide adequate advice regarding a new project, paying particular attention to these two issues in the software development life cycle. Here is a quick guide to help you identify the two problems as soon as they arise.

    We All Love Babies (and are very afraid to drop them)

    We often have the tendency to treat our new idea (or product) as our baby. We nurture it, we help it make its first steps, we protect it vigilantly. We get to a point where we are so completely in love with our idea that any suggestion becomes an attack, and any assistance is seen as a threat to its life. Of course by this point, our ability to view the new idea critically is close to zero. We are blinded with love and are unable to see the drawbacks involved this idea of ours. We cannot objectively calculate the real benefits it will bring either. The responsible software engineer should be able to tell you when a new or existing product should be reconsidered or eliminated altogether. A good product is one that was not spared every possible revision, and all the testing and debugging it could get.

    Horses Need Grooming (and the right stable! — says the software engineer)

    The “horse” project is equally critical to be identified early. Consider for a moment that you own a horse and one day decide to bring your horse into your second-floor apartment. Sure, it may be possible to do, but it will not be the most feasible plan. The helpful software engineer will tell you that your project is a horse; and the horse is a very specific type of animal. It requires constant grooming, a special type of diet, and the adequate lodging to keep it happy. You will need to plan for its upkeep ahead of time, and you will need the infrastructure to be appropriate — especially if you plan on acquiring new horses in the future!

    So there you have it, two problems with new projects that can have serious consequences if not identified in a timely manner. Is your project a baby or a horse? Seek advice from a good software engineer today.

    Communication Is Key to a Trustworthy Relationship

    Finding the right partner (business or otherwise) involves establishing a relationship based on trust. Effective, regular, and honest communication is the key element in building trust in any relationship. This is particularly the case in long-distance relationships between outsourcing software development companies and their clients.

    We’ve conducted a short survey among potential clients asking what would make them hesitate when choosing a software development partner. One of the biggest reasons quoted was bad communication. This was either out of a general perception that outsourcing companies lack clear communication skills, or it came from previous (mediocre) experience.

    Honest Communication Makes Perfect

    Here are three tips to ensure that the communication with the company you choose to develop your next software is productive:

    • Set clear expectations for outcomes. This may sound obvious, but setting clear expectations is critical for the success of your project. Meet with your team and write down the problem that needs to be solved. This must be comprehensive and as clear as possible. Note any possible solutions you see, but ask for feedback from the software development guys. They should advise regarding alternative solutions to help cut costs and plan ahead. Software development is no different from construction – if you plan on adding additional floors, you should have a solid foundation. Also, the floors themselves should allow for more floors to be added later (or the design and function of each to be modified). Make sure you know what the purpose of the solution is in the long-term. This will allow for advance planning and minimize surprises down the road.
    • Expect and ask for regular updates and progress reports. Once the project has begun, make sure you keep in touch with the developers. Progress reports, regular meetings and updates are a must when the process has started. This ensures that the project runs smoothly and problems are identified early. Clarifying questions, issues that were not initially planned will always come up. Regular feedback helps keep the project on-track.
    • Expect honesty. As the deadline approaches, having all the information will help you plan accordingly and act fast. If something goes wrong, you should know about it as soon as possible. Overly-optimistic deadlines, capacities, or price estimates can surely turn your project into a disaster. Setting incremental deadlines, milestones, and Skype calls will ensure that the project is moving forward. However, honest feedback cannot be underestimated.

    Until that trust is built between you and the developers, you can only plan ahead, ask for regular progress reports and make sure that the incremental deadlines are being met. Honest software development companies will make sure that you have all the information. If you feel something is off, it may be time to make some changes.

    Quality. What Does It Mean for IT Outsourcing?

    Often touted as a given by outsourcing and nearshoring companies from Eastern Europe and beyond, quality should define the relationship between developer and partner/client.

    Each client wants to be sure that the company they choose as their partner is legitimate and trustworthy. But how does one define quality? More importantly, how does one assess which firm has a better claim at being “the best software development company”? The answer is never straightforward, but there are general guidelines that can help when selecting a high qualitative outsourcing or nearshoring partner. Below, I discuss three sources of quality you should consider when seeking a partner: experience, reputation, and team.

    Experience.

    First, one should always look at the company’s experience. Qualitative past activities are usually an indicator of future success. Furthermore, the industry in which each outsourcing company specializes is important (e.g., a bank, a leasing company, or an insurance firm will feel most confident when they see financial industry experience on a company’s public profile).

    Reputation.

    Qualitative deliverables usually correlate with a high level of reputation, especially in the software development field. Good references, happy clients, and happy employees point to a decisively good reputation for the entire company. These are also an indicator of consistency. A Google search will quickly bring up any red flags regarding the company’s reputation.

    Quality Team.

    Another critical indicator of the quality provided by the company is the ranking of its team. These days, one can easily use LinkedIn to verify the level of expertise that the partner’s team possesses. You can weigh the potential value generated by the individual team members. Highly experienced and certified developers will always produce high quality software.

    Of course there is no magic formula when selecting a new partner, but keeping in mind these general tips will help you separate quality from the general noise. A healthy dose of caution will never hurt when seeking your long-term partner in software development.

    This article is part of a series.