What exactly are your capabilities?
Ans: Our core competencies are Offshore development, Offshore outsourcing, Custom software development, Software testing and Quality assurance (QA), Cost effective application development, Mobile application development programming, ERP implementation & consulting, Enterpries application development & integration, Legacy conversion & maintenance, Embedded systems & microprocessor design, Remote DBA and System administration, Database development, design, conversion, & consulting, Web application development & testing, eCommerce & eBusiness application development, Network security consulting and IT software services outsourcing.
How does the offshore software development work?
Ans: You may please look at the processes for our software development methodology. We would explain the design and development methodology in detail through a separate offshore development methodology white-paper which we would be happy to send you. The process is not a whole lot different from any other outsourcing project. The only difference in offshoring is: all design, implementation, programming and testing are done in our offshore development labs in India and G&G project managers work with you from our Research Triangle Park (Raleigh), North Carolina, USA office or from a regional office near you. Simultaneoulsy our offshore project leads and managers from India also work with you everyday in executing projects and communicating with you. As necessary our local project managers also visit clients on-site.
How complex a software project G&G can develop?
Who owns the code at the end?
Ans: You (the client) own all code, documentation, design, conceptual ideas, and every component of intellectual properties. We have a very established legal process and documentation in place to assign all proprietary and ownership rights to you.
Do we get the complete set of development files at the end?
Ans: You get software code, files and documentation continuously in the development process. Once you start the project it is a very interactive process (for most projects we have weekly meetings in each week; for some projects we have conference calls and/or webex sessions almost everyday). Every document, design or source code generated in either side is exchanged continuously, reviewed and fine tuned frequently (sometimes daily). Over the project life-cycle you keep on getting files and other associated deliverables very frequently.
How much does it cost? What is your pricing?
Ans: Our hourly rates for offshore development are US$18-29/hour depending on the model of resource allocation we follow (which is explained later). If you are envisioning to execute a project which would need a number of full-time dedicated resources (i.e., one, two, …., ten or more developers, designers, programmers, architects, testers, and project leaders, managers) for at least three months, the monthly cost may be around US$2990-3990 per month per resource, depending on technology platform, and experience level of the resources. This monthly-rate translates to about US$18-24/hour on the basis of 160-170 working hours in a month full-time. However if you are looking for non-dedicated resources for smaller one time projects you may look for fixed cost pricing. In fixed cost pricing our general rate is about US$20-29/hour, based on technology platform and size of a project, and no dedicated resources are assigned to the project.
If you decide to engage a US based project manager for day-to-day interactions (and occasional face to face meetings on your location) the rates for such US project managers are US$49-69/hour (a local project manager may contribute part-time or full-time depending on your requirements). Our hourly rates for on-site limited support (at a US location) is around US$49-79/hour plus actual travel and lodging costs. If we bring our offshore programmers and designers for your on-site support or face to face interactions for a very limited time (1-4 weeks) we may charge higher than offshore rates, and we charge additionally for travel, hotels, meals, and other per-diem expenses actual. For monthly and fixed cost development charges we bill you on a prefixed schedule or every fifteen days (bi-weekly), however all travel and lodging related costs are billed immediately.
What is dedicated monthly resource allocation model (DMRM)?
Ans: In DMRM we allocate a specific number of resources for your project, and all resources (i.e., developers, designers, and testers) work full time for you every day and report to you directly. Most DMRM projects are at least 3-6 months in duration, and cost lower (as explained above). In practicality most DMRM projects go on for months to multiple years. In this model the same resources work for you full-time virtually as your own dedicated employees.
Then how do your fixed cost projects work?
Ans: We also do projects at a fixed cost where the requirements specifications are very defined and the project scope is frozen while you ask for our cost estimates. In this case we provide a fixed cost estimate after finalization of your written Technical Specifications Requirements (TRS) and do not consider any major changes in this estimate. In case of a future change in scope or capability it is handled by Change Request process and charged additionally.
How much does a typical software project cost?
Ans: In any case the total project cost varies widely depending on your requirements. A project cost may be as low as US$10K-25K or as high as US$2-10 million depending on the size & requirements of the project. In most practical situations, a project starts with limited requirements, thereby costing a smaller amount to start with, and then expands gradually with more requirements and change requests in the future. Therefore the cost for a software design and implementation project may be incurred over many months or many years.
Most long term maintenance and enhancement projects may cost as little as high two thousands or low three thousands to a few thousand dollars every month depending on technology platform, number of resources engaged in the project, and their level of experience.
What kinds of guarantee do we get that the work is well done?
Ans: We give you a two to three (2-3) months free warranty after the final delivery of code for addressing all bug-fixing, deployment and related issues. After the warranty period we sign a separate monthly, quarterly or yearly support and maintenance contract with you.
Are there mechanisms to ensure deadlines, milestones and timely delivery?
Ans: We follow standard project management methodologies and practices using all available tools as recommended by you (e.g., Microsoft Project and other project management tools). We follow a sign-off process for each delivery after the spec is firmed up and finalized. Additionally our developers use Microsoft SharePoint tool extensively for collaborative development, file sharing, web publishing, document and content management. (To mention, we follow version control mechanisms during our development or follow your version control mechanisms by checking code in and out of your version control system).
How do you deal with clients who change their minds all the time and want something changed in mid-project?
Ans: It is extremely difficult to address, accommodate and implement continuous changes during the life-cycle of a pre-estimated fixed cost project. We try to minimize changes by signing off the specs/requirements for each delivery. We follow a Change Request and Approval process for any change. While implementing any changes we assume the client approved and signed off any such change request. Change request and associated implementation is a complex and difficult process. With each and every change there are some impacts and effects on the development schedule and cost. We strongly recommend to follow DMRM (monthly resource allocation model explained above) if you are not done and finalized with your technical requirements and needed functionality.
Offshore software development strikes fear in my mind… Are you easy to reach and how fast do you respond to calls?
Ans: We are an American company, based in Research Triangle Park location in Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina. We are incorporated in the State of North Carolina in 1993. Most of our project managers operate from our North Carolina, USA office and also travel to client sites as required. We try to be responsive as much as possible (e.g., returning calls in 4-8 hours, replying to emails and IM as fast as possible and more). Most of the time we are physically available during 9 AM-6 PM US EST on weekdays. Our development teams in India are equally or more responsive – they generally address issues within minutes to hours (based on when you are reporting an issue). Emailing, IM (Instant Messaging), text messages and telephone calls from our labs in India are part of our regular procedures and processes. We have high speed, broadband ISDN, T-1, VPN, DSL and Internet broadband connections from our offshore labs through which we do software updates and communications any time. We also have web-based project management tools and mechanisms for each and every project, so that each projects can be monitored 24×7 and updates, bug tracking can be done any time.
Are you ISO or CMM and do you also manage the ISO documentation process?
Ans: One of our partner labs in India is ISO 9001 certified; another lab is in the process of achieving CMM Level 3 certification. Another lab is not ISO or CMM certified – however they follow a very strict software engineering development process and methodology as per Software Engineering Institute (SEI) under Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA.
Do you do software testing, verifications & QA services?
Ans: Yes, in two of our labs in India we do a huge amount of software testing and QA: system testing, functionality & feature testing, integration testing, regression testing, mobile application testing, web software testing, app testing, compatibility testing on various platforms, load and performance testing, test case preparations, execution of test cases, reporting, and more (please look at our Software-Testing-QA page).
How detailed a set of requirements do you require from us?
Ans: Based on your available resources and documentation, it can be an interactive process. In one scenario: if you do not have any spec outlined we ask you to give us a minimal requirements spec (may be a page or two page description of the system). To enhance this minimal spec our team starts with developing the formal TRS (Technical Requirements Spec) from your brief overview. Every release of this TRS document is reviewed by the client and after every review or feedback we do modifications accordingly. Generally it goes on from a few weeks to a couple of months (depending on the project complexity and size). In this process the TRS becomes the Bible for all development and future maintenance. All changes and modifications are captured continuously in this document. On the other hand if you already have a detailed specification document we start with discussion on that, refine it for some period of time if necessary, try to freeze it once all agreed.
How can we be sure that the software you develop for us will not end-up in a competitor’s hands after it is completed?
Ans: India is a WTO (World Trade Organization) member and committed to protect proprietary rights and confidential information and has some official mechanisms in place for anti-piracy and security. G&G has confidentiality agreement with our offshore teams (with each and every team member). This confidentiality is also validated on the basis of existing Indian and International laws.
Do you provide post-development maintenance?
Ans: Yes, we do provide long term support and maintenance service for all software we design and develop with a separate support and maintenance contract. This generally includes bug tracking, bug fixing, feature enhancements and new developments. We also do software support and maintenance for application software developed by other third-party vendors and off-the-shelf software products (our technology research and support group is instrumental in supporting many third party products and applications).
How do you deal with urgent bug fixing?
Ans: We have a proven bug-fixing and bug-tracking mechanism and process, along with an in-house online bug-tracking tool. In this system we prioritize issues on the basis of priority-1, 2 and 3. All priority-1 issues are generally addressed within 8-24 hours (except on holidays), all priority-2 issues within 24-72 hours, and priority-3 issues within 7-30 days. Therefore all urgent bug-fixing issues (i.e., service affecting issues) are put in the priority-1 list and our support team addresses them immediately.
How do you develop or test applications if you do not have the exact environment (applicable particularly to old legacy systems)? Do you use VPN?
Ans: In case we lack an exact development environment (e.g., O/S version, libraries, utilities, or databases), we do development and programming remotely by logging into your system over a secured VPN. All work is done through a secured network from our development lab after you grant permission to access. Even if we have the exact development environment as yours, we often use VPN for checking source code in and out, delivering code, fixing bugs, and sometimes for testing, particularly when we lack your exact data set.
How many resources we (from client side) need to allocate to manage an offshore outsourcing project?
Ans: It depends on the size and complexity of the project. In most situations one of your project managers (or product managers) with a reasonable knowledge of the system or application can manage an offshore outsourcing team well, either part-time or full-time. This individual may be one of your senior developers, a project leader or a project manager. Your project manager works either directly with our India based offshore project lead or with G&G’s US based project manager. It is assumed that your project manager has a good access to your in-house programmers, designers and key decision makers and she/he is available to the offshore team as needed.
How do we manage or juggle with the time difference in your offshore teams location? Is there any overlap?
Ans: Our offshore team in India works with a good time overlap with your working hours. Based on your location in the US, this overlap may be 2-4 hours. If you are based in Europe this overlap may be even substantial. In daily operating procedure we generally hand over to clients’ team before going home in offshore location. In most cases we try to address the time overlap issue with project managers who bridge communications during most of your working hours.
For a typical project, how many developers and programmers do you provide?
Ans: A typical project (of course based on size and complexity) starts with a team of 4-6 designers, including a tester and a project leader, who also performs as a senior developer. As described above there are few projects, which have more than 12-15 designers/ programmers, and also a good number of projects, which have only 1-2 programmers.