Every time I start something new, I usually go to Amazon and order books on the subject. Unfortunately, there is very little information about Offshore Software Development, so this one of the reasons why I started my blog.
On this page, I will share any books I found useful for anyone who wants to build a team capable of delivering quality software products.
Offshoring Information Technology by Erran Carmel and Paul Tija
When I started managing my first offshore team, I was a little overwhelmed. Offshoring Information Technology was the only book I was able to find at that time. The good thing about this book is that they provide a lot of case studies about real companies that used offshore strategy successfully.
The book is definitely a high level, but it has a lot of recommendations and insights about choosing an outsourcing country, ways to communicate with and motivate offshore teams.
One will find some interesting data about cost savings and offshore risks. Overall a good book for someone who just started implementing outsourcing globally.
Outsource or Else!: How a VP of Software Saved His Company by Steve Mezak
This is a fiction book about a VP of Engineering that was forced to outsource some of his software team offshore. It’s full of humor and some interesting observations from real life experience. Outsource or Else! offers useful, practical advice for tech leaders who want to capitalize on the many benefits of outsourcing software development, but in an easy read form.
ON VIRTUAL TEAMS
Offshore teams are also virtual by default. Any good book you find about managing virtual teams will directly apply to your offshore case. Following books are my top 3 in virtual teams’ genre.
Influencing Virtual Teams: 17 Tactics That Get Things Done with Your Remote Employees by Hassan Osman
This is a short read, but it worth every penny spent. Many authors believe that they have to write 300 pages when they could really describe everything they know in less than 3, but no in this case. Much of the content is obvious, but I found several tips so helpful even after years of working remotely.
Leading Virtual Teams (HBR 20-Minute Manager Series) by Harvard Business Review
As the title implies it’s a short (but longer than 20 minutes) crash course on topics of leading teams while being remote. They give some advice on how to relay the mission, how to overcome language, time zone, and technology barriers. Some good tips on communication with virtual teams.
There are 2 more books from the same series you may find useful as well:
Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried
This is a classic book by the creator of Ruby on Rails and founder of Basecamp. Although a little outdated, it gives you a lot of tips on how to build a company where most teammates are not located in the same city and even the same country.
I believe global companies like Basecamp will be more widespread in the future. If you are interested in building a company where every team member is a top-notch professional this book is a must-read.
ON BUILDING PRODUCTS
UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want by Jamie Levy
Even if you are not a technical person one of the things you must understand is user experience. I remember when I was on one of the startup meetups an entrepreneur in late 60s asked my opinion if a good UX is important for products built today. I responded that the iPhone and quality of popular mobile apps changed our perception about good applications.
If 10 years ago it was enough to build a product that works, now you must build products that are visually pleasing and easy to use. UX Strategy provides you step by step tutorial you need for product design.