I am often asked when is it best to start transfering knowledge offshore to a new team. The answer is, as soon as possible, and it is not as hard as you think.
As an example, if we take a Software as a Service (SaaS) project; moving an internal use only application to a web-based project which will now be used by internal consultants as well as provide a service which will be sold to third parties (either consumers or businesses). The initial phase involves defining the scope of the project, the ROI of building the new application and service, looking at the existing product to see what functions should be duplicated in the product and defining what new functions should now be best done face to face with the client or clients, however, offshore personnel can still get involved. They can participate in requirement review sessions certainly, but more importantly get them involved in actually writing some of the use cases during this initial phase.
Involving offshore personnel at the start of the project provides several benefits:
- Starts building that all important understanding of what is to be built
- Generates questions immediately from the designers and possible suggestions of added functionality taking advantage of the new platform
- Gets buy-in from the development team as to what is to be built
- Can reduce the overall cost of the project by optimizing where work is performed
For optimum knowledge transfer, involve not only the offshore project manager, but also the technical architect, and even the lead developer