Singapore Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) subsidises up 90 percent in 2020

COVID-19 continues to be a threat to the world’s economy, and Singapore is not an exception. Recently, Enterprise Singapore has announced that their Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) now subsidies up to 90% in response to COVID-19. In this article, we will answer a few common questions related to this grant.

What is Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)?

About Enterprise Singapore (ES)

Enterprise Singapore is a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Singapore. ES was established on 1 April 2018 as a government grant for SME in Singapore to enhance capabilities, innovation, transformation, and internationalisation.

Enterprise Singapore’s Vision

“A vibrant economy with globally competitive Singapore enterprises.”

Enterprise Singapore’s Mission

“Grow stronger Singapore enterprises by building capabilities and accessing global opportunities, thereby creating good jobs for Singaporeans.”

You can find more information about ES on their homepage.

Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)

In short, EDG is a government grant aimed to help Singapore’s local SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) to grow, innovate, and transform their businesses by providing financial subsidies.

Initially, EDG would only fund up to 70% of your project, but they announced that in 2020, their grant would cover up to 90% of the cost (case by case).

The EDG is surprisingly not that hard to get. Below are a few numbers from ES’s 2019 report to confirm that: There is no denying that EDG is a valuable funding source for your business to grow.

ES's 2019 report
Source: ES’s 2019 report

Do your projects qualify for Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)?

Requirements

First, you have to check if your company is eligible or not. As a government grant, EDG aims to support local Singapore enterprises, so they do require you to:

  • Have a registered company and operating in Singapore
  • Have at least 30% local shareholding
  • Be in a financially viable position to start and complete the project

And then, your project has to fall under one of the following scopes:

  1. Core Capabilitiesa) Strategic Brand and Marketing Development
    b) Business Strategy Development
    c) Human Capital Development
    d) Service Excellence
    e) Financial Management
  2. Innovation and Productivitya) Process Redesign
    b) Product Development
    c) Automation
  3. Market Accessa) Overseas Marketing Presence (OMP)
    b) Market Access
    c) Pilot Project and Test Bedding
    d) Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)

Important note

Based on our experience and other successful applicants, there are a few things you should be noted before applying for EDG:

  • The EDG only supports projects that are new and not generating any revenue at the point of the grant application. A project is considered to have begun if suppliers and service providers have already signed a contract, or if any work on the project scope has begun or if payment has been received for the project.
  • “Be in a financially viable position to start and complete the project” means that you should have a quite reasonable turnover, and ES does require you to provide your three (3) years audited account.
  • From 1 April 2020, your company will have to commit to improving workers’ outcome, such as creating more jobs or increasing wages.
  • Company size is not limited. However, usually qualified SMEs have a size of around five (5) employees or above.

How can you apply for EDG?

ES did quite a good job helping applicants going through their process, and I won’t make it more complicated for you with another self-writing guide. You can find ES’s latest guide on how to apply for their grant here.

If you found your company and project can afford the mentioned requirements. The application process should not be too hard.

Need help?

In case you need help, 100 percent of our client submissions for EDG are approved. So, if you are looking to leveraging technology to innovate your business and would appreciate some government’s financial support, drop us an inquiry, and we will reach out in no time to discuss how we can start your project and win EDG.

How early-stage tech startups can use SCRUM on product development

In our previous article, we looked at the 3 mistakes Singapore early-stage tech startups make developing products and see that tech product development is not an easy business. Entrepreneurs can find themself stuck in a situation that they can’t be sure if they should continue with the project or not? The three questions we are trying to answer are:

  • How to have an agile development plan with a reasonable timeline?
  • How to avoid mismatches between the software engineering team and the business team?
  • How to create a formal tech product development process that can help your software engineering team grow?

Here, we will look at SCRUM and how you can apply it to your early-stage tech startups to improve your product development significantly.

The SCRUM process – Why it fits early-stage tech startups.

What is SCRUM?

Continue our story when we were neck-deep in works and overloaded. We lacked a formal process for the software engineering team; our discovery and decision to apply SCRUM process to the team was the pill our business needed at the time.

Have you ever heard about SCRUM? If not, below is a technical definition for it:

Scrum is simple.  It is the opposite of a big collection of interwoven mandatory components. Scrum is not a methodology. Scrum implements the scientific method of empiricism. Scrum replaces a programmed algorithmic approach with a heuristic one, with respect for people and self-organization to deal with unpredictability and solving complex problems.

Source – scrum.org

The SCRUM process
The SCRUM process

You might feel this definition a bit confusing. I was confused too when I first read about SCRUM. Here is a description that I came up with that should be easier for you to understand.

SCRUM is a tech product development methodology that breaks your work down to smaller goals to complete within time-boxed iterations called sprints (usually 2 weeks long).

Well, if you decide to look deeper, you will find it much more complicated than such a simple definition. And I can tell you that the actual process of switching to SCRUM is a pain too. In the first two months, when we started to follow SCRUM, errors kept rising. Things like:

  • Deadline missed due to top-down decision making without sufficient inputs from the ground lead
  • Awkward communication between team member when SCRUM required every team member to be active and connect with each other
  • Team conflict due to slips or lapses in the execution process
Waterfall process

Within the first few weeks of switching to SCRUM, it was easier to shake our head and say that SCRUM was not for our software engineering team. But later, we realised that was the beauty of the SCRUM process; all the small problems that appeared had always been there, and breaking down our work into small goals while constantly tracking those goals was the only way we can identify them.

messy working table
Switching to SCRUM is quite stressful and confusing – image from mic.com

What are SCRUM’s benefits?

When we could identify our errors in the tech product development process, we could solve them one by one. After six months of using SCRUM, the results were astounding:

  • An amazingly flexible software engineering team that quickly responds to any changes that clients require
  • Deadline-meeting rate reaching 90%, an all-time high
  • Lower skill gap among team members thanks to constant communication and training as part of SCRUM
  • Scalability since we can easily duplicate SCRUM across multiple project teams to deliver consistently high quality
  • Better ROI for our early-stage tech startup clients as they can now respond to users’ demands way faster

Why SCRUM is for early-stage tech startups

Basically, for an early-stage startup, SCRUM

  1. Helps you delight your users with great flexibility because SCRUM leaves room for constant improvement along the development process
  2. Reduces the cost of defects by releasing smaller pieces of functionality more frequently can avoid hidden errors in your development that are hard to identify right from the start, typically seen in the waterfall process
  3. Improves odds of success in a dynamic and complex market since each of your new features is delivered working, integrated, tested, and presenting great real business value that follows market demand
  4. More growth and learning environment for every team member thanks to SCRUM’s knowledge-sharing nature

Hence, if you are an early-stage tech startup that:

  • Do not need a fancy big tech team yet
  • Need to optimise your investment in development, with fast business impact
  • Want to improve your flexibility as your strength

SCRUM should be the perfect choice for your product development process.

How you can you switch to tech product development process to SCRUM

Now, if you decide that SCRUM is what you are looking for, you may want to know how you can help your team switch to SCRUM.

Do your homework, read about SCRUM first.

I would say the first thing is to do your homework and read about SCRUM. What I am about to share with you is our own experience to move our team to SCRUM – it is not standard and only serves as a reference. The more you understand about SCRUM, the better you can think of your process to switch your team to SCRUM. I would recommend the following sources for you to start reading:

  • Scrum.org – The home of SCRUM: as the name mentioned, the site is packed with from beginner to advance knowledge about SCRUM
  • Moving to an agile environment: A long blog story of a team that switched to the SCRUM process. Note that the writer did go a bit too specific into each small step; when you build your process for your software engineering team to switch, you can skip some of the steps that do not match you.
  • Reddit sub-page /Scrum and /Agile is also a great place to read and update the latest trends in the community, especially when you can post your question and ask for help.
Get yourself a cup of coffee and start working on laptop
Get yourself a cup of coffee and start reading.

A step by step guide (based on our experience)

When you are ready, below is a step by step guide based on our experience, that can help you switch your team to the SCRUM process.

  1. Identify what or who is missing to make SCRUM work: to build your SCRUM team, you need to map out all the pieces that are required to make SCRUM work first, what barrier in communication needs to be removed, and what skills need to be added to the team. It’s best to prepare a certified SCRUM master first to help you get a better look at the plan. The SCRUM master can be newly onboarded or trained from one of your staff.
  2. Prepare for impacts: while the traditional waterfall process leaves the testing till the very end, SCRUM focuses on a continuous flow of testing on each sprint and requires prompt follow-up actions. To avoid overload, it’s time for your software engineering team to have more members in supportive roles that are necessary for SCRUM (more tester, QA, etc.) or new tools (automation, etc.) to improve everyone’s ability to catch up.
  3. Break down what you are doing and see how old pieces match with your new picture: your current resource, old process or personnel that no longer fit should be upgraded/trained to fit SCRUM. The point is to make use of your existing resources instead of throwing everything away.
  4. Get the sprints and stand-ups ready: these are the actions that become the backbone of your SCRUM team, and it takes time for both team members and managers to do them correctly.
  5. Backlog issues and tasks: record information like tasks, gaps, objectives that need to be addressed, so you can start ranking them on most to least important. Later, you can improve when setting up future goals.
  6. Continuously collect feedback from your software engineering team and be open for improvement: a flexible team with room for improvement also means you have to improve your process continually. Try to find new things to apply, benchmark and see what fits your team-best.

In a nutshell

Finding your groove in the SCRUM process won’t happen overnight. But taking some time to go through this article might help the transition more seamless.

Also, if you are an early-stage tech startup in Singapore, we would love to help you set up a SCRUM team. We have our team of certified SCRUM masters, along with our agile process, ready to jump in and help you build your products. So you can focus on the business side that you do best. Drop us an inquiry, and we will reach out to you in no time.

How to manage your tech team working from home or outsourcing developers efficiently

Managing outsourcing developers or having your local team being forced to work from home due to COVID-19 can be tough. Managers can struggle to improve productivity, enhance communication, and sustain the performance of their remote tech teams. Since everyone has to cope with this unprecedented crisis positively, what can we do, as techies?

Fortunately, the working process of Inspius has been designed for virtual teams to achieve efficient collaboration and maintain effective communication. Below are three simple tips to make the most out of the whole “work from home” situation:

Utilizing tech tools for productivity and communication

In normal conditions, your team may have already used some set of tools to support your daily tasks. Working from home requires you to utilize these tools more than ever as they are the main facilitators of productivity and communication.

G Suite or Office 365?
G Suite or Office 365? Pick the one that suit you most

Below is Our recommended list of tools proven to be useful for tech companies:

Take a look at this list, and you can get some options for your team to improve internal communication and boost productivity to the max.

Clear KPIs to sustain the team’s performance

While it is hard to track your developers’ working motivation when there is no face-to-face interaction, using measurable KPIs to track performance is the best way to manage the team’s performance. By setting up a transparent KPI system, you are not only helping yourself to lead the team better but also encouraging your team members to see what they need to focus on.

communication at work
No more close communication at offices

Below are a few simple steps to build a good KPI system:

  1. Build a task list based on your master plan: In a software development team, a master plan is one of the most important sources of information. Make use of it, break each task down into practical KPIs for each team member.
  2. Develop clear and achievable KPIs: Clear, feasible, and measurable KPIs are critical to avoid misunderstandings, enhance working motivation, and improve the team’s performance. Do not hesitate to use our free-to-download KPI sheet to create the best KPI list for your team!
  3. Make sure everyone follows: While task list and KPIs are critical to the team, managers need to ensure that everyone is on the same page and no issue left unaddressed. One way to do this is to create a chat group in which team members can report their daily completed tasks and raise their concerns, managers or other team members can support them. Check the below example.
  4. Welcome feedback and cultivate self-discipline: Some managers try to build a management system to micro-manage their team. They end up either putting extra stress on team members or make the team waste too much time on completing unnecessary reports. To avoid these issues, you should always welcome the team to give feedbackkeep things simplefocus on what is vital to your organization. Remember, a KPI system cannot help someone who does not have self-discipline.
An example of a daily team report

Improve the working process

As we mention in our blog post, 3 mistakes Singapore early-stage tech startups make developing products and How early-stage tech startups can use SCRUM on product developmenta flexible framework like SCRUM can help your tech team to quickly adapt to any market changes and turn challenges into your advantages. Based on our experiences, SCRUM is one of the best workflows for remote teams.

You can refer to the full list of SCRUM advantages in our previous post:

  1. Delight your users with great flexibility: SCRUM leaves room for constant improvements along the development process.
  2. Reduce the cost of defects: By frequently releasing small pieces of functionality, you can avoid hidden errors, which are hard to identify from the beginning of the development process.
  3. Improve odds of success in a dynamic and complex market: Since a new feature is frequently delivered, integrated, and tested, it can receive early feedback from the market and enhance its business values.
  4. Cultivate learning and growing spaces for your team members due to SCRUM’s knowledge-sharing nature.

So if you are not using SCRUM framework, and struggling with the “work-from-home” situation, maybe this is the time to change your team’s process. You can read more about SCRUM here.

Zoom meeting
SCRUM requires daily team meetings, and you can easily do it via an application like Zoom.

Embrace hardship, unleash opportunity

There is a saying in Vietnamese which goes like “Trong nguy co co” (turning crisis into opportunity). Thus, the Covid-19 pandemic can threaten your business but can also unlock new opportunities for improvement. If you are a manager in a tech company, helping your development team to adapt to new situations quickly allows your business to move faster than your competitors.

If you find it hard to expand or build your software development team as Covid-19 disrupts your recruitment processes, let us help you set up a SCRUM team. With our certified SCRUM masters and effective practices of agile methodology, we are always ready to jump in and help you to develop any projects successfully. 

Drop us an inquiry to discuss how we can help!

Software outsourcing in Vietnam for Singapore company? Why and Why not?

INSPIUS is a Vietnam software company. We have been a software development service provider for the Singapore market for over six years. While building our network with Singapore startups, we noticed they often shared a similar concern: “Is software outsourcing in Vietnam suitable for my business?”

By the end of this article, you should be able to answer this question.

Why Vietnam?

When talking about Vietnam, we have to acknowledge the fact that Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing economies in the South East Asia region. According to Channel News Asia (CNA), Vietnam has a robust annual growth of 6% since 2010. In 2019 alone, the country received over 38.2 US$ billion of foreign direct investment (FDI), which increased by 7.2% compared to 2018. And for Singapore, Vietnam is its strategic economic partner for years:

  • Singapore was Vietnam’s third-largest investor in 2019, with a total investment of US$4.5 billion.
  • Singapore’s Direct Investments Abroad (DIA) into Vietnam has more than tripled in the last decade.
  • The seven Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks (VSIPs) have attracted over US$12.9 billion in investment from more than 800 companies as of 2018.
West Lake - Hanoi
West Lake – Hanoi (source: huythoai / 123RF)

Another interesting thing about Vietnam’s economy is the main factor behind Vietnam’s growth. In the article “4 factors turning Vietnam into Southeast Asia’s next growth story”, techinasia.com specified, one of the hidden factors that contribute to Vietnam’s growth is its tech talents. Vietnam has:

  • ~30,000 IT companies
  • ~80,000 IT universities graduates every year

Those resources provide a giant workforce for IT-related industries, and also make Vietnam a potential partner for software outsourcing service in the region. In fact, Vietnam has already surpassed China to become the second-largest software outsourcing partner of Japan.

Why Vietnam software company & Vietnam software engineer?

Going through articles about Vietnam’s youth around 3-5 years ago, you can easily find articles similar to this one from CNA. Singapore media had already portrayed Vietnamese’s youth as:

  • Ambitious and smart
  • Tech-savvy
  • Talented, especially in technology

And they all predicted Vietnam would become a talent hub for tech businesses within a few years, and tech startups would be booming in Vietnam.

Commentary: Ambitious and smart, youths in Ho Chi Minh are building Asia’s Silicon Valley (Published by CNA in 2017)

Now, in 2020, that prediction was proven. Vietnam software companies and tech startups regularly appear in business journals like techinasia.com, e27.co, or businessinsider.sgThese movements have shaped a unique working culture in the Vietnam software engineer community.

Based on our years of experience in helping connect Singapore tech startups with Vietnam tech talents, we have identified a few great qualities of Vietnam software engineer that can benefit Singapore businesses:

  • Smart and equipped with a strong math base due to Vietnam’s education policy.
  • Tech-savvy and highly exposed to the latest technology, thanks to Vietnam technology advancement.
  • Highly responsible and entrepreneurial-minded.
  • A hard-working, creative, and meticulous working style that they inherited Vietnam culture.

All these have made the Vietnamese developer talent pool become one of the most competitive talent groups in the South East Asia region and created a strong base for businesses exploring software outsourcing in Vietnam.

Software Outsourcing in Vietnam & Vietnam software engineer, What’s the catch?

Having a good talent pool means nothing if you fail to plan what you are looking for first. If you want to start software outsourcing in Vietnam, take a look at the following points in our previous article 7 points to look out for when your company wants to hire Vietnam software engineer:

An in-depth understanding of what you are looking for and what challenges you will have to solve in advance will help you process faster and be able to find the gold in the sand.

In case you are finding a local Singapore partner that can help you set up an Agile/SCRUM team for software outsourcing in Vietnam, Inspius has more than six years of experience in assisting Singapore startups with a similar plan. With our certified SCRUM masters and effective practices of agile methodology, we are always ready to jump in and help you to realize any projects successfully.

Drop us an inquiry to discuss how we can help!

Software Outsourcing Guide Book for a successful project (2020)

This is our complete guide book for companies that are developing a strategy toward software outsourcing.

The best part?

Many companies have APPLIED WHAT WE SHARE AND SUCCEEDED.

If you are new to software outsourcing, you will love our guide book.

Let’s dive right in!

What is software outsourcing? And why outsourcing software development?

In a nutshell, like any other outsourcing service, software outsourcing is hiring 3rd party service providers to handle one of your internal operations, in this case, your software engineering team. The outsourcing partner can help you:

  • Develop anew
  • Maintain
  • Upgrade
  • Migrate
  • Etc.

There can be multiple advantages of outsourcing software development, but the most common are:

  • Cost-saving when you can make use of income gaps between countries/regions and pay outsourcing developers less compared to local developers with the same skill set
  • Time-saving by quickly making use of your partner’s resources instead of building your team and going through the full recruitment process
  • Knowledge sharing because your outsourcing partner should be an expert in the software development process, and if they have experience with a similar project, that would be a huge plus
  • Overseas resource abundance, especially in Vietnam, India, etc.
Software outsourcing can help you cut costs, save time, upgrade your knowledge base
Depending on your needs, software outsourcing can help you cut costs, save time, upgrade your knowledge base

A step by step guide to starting your first outsourcing project

There are a lot of questions to be answered before you can start your first outsourcing project:

Should I outsource my project?

How to start my software outsourcing project?

How to find a software engineering team that matches my project?

Important note when doing software outsourcing?

A step by step guide is just what you need.

Step 1: Identify your need and create a draft software development plan

There are thousands of different outsourcing companies out there globally, and each of them offers a unique set of skills, experience, abilities. To avoid a lengthy screening process, and find a partner that best matches your needs, it is essential to know what you need first.

  • What are the project details and requirements?
  • How do we plan to start the project?
  • How soon can I start my project, and what is the expected timeline?
  • What is the expected budget that I can allocate to this project?

To answer these questions, you need to prepare each of the following documents:

Essential:

  1. A short description of your project, describing your idea or concepts
  2. A specification document, describing the project function, expected architecture, its relationship with operators, or another system if necessary (it is best if you can produce a Software Requirement Specification)
  3. An expected timeline, identifying your expected start/end dates, and detailed milestones if necessary.
  4. An expected budget range or the maximum budget you can invest in this project

Additionally, depending on your project:

5. Do we need more outsourcing developers to add to our current team, or we want someone to handle all the work and just deliver the product to us?

6. What technology (coding language/platform) will this system use?

7. What management methodology will we use to manage the project?

8. Are there any laws or special requirements we have to fulfill when building the project? (Government laws, company policies, etc.)

The more details you have, the better chance you can find a suitable partner faster.

Outsourcing plan sample
An example of our discussion

***Note:

  • When you agree on each of these terms, remember that your team knowledge and experience are limited. Try to keep your mind open for change when you go down the process. (E.g.: you may find out your expected timeline is not suitable to build a system the size you planned)
  • A software outsourcing partner is like a tailor that will make your suit. The better you can describe it, the better the suit can be.

Step 2: Narrow your scope before reaching out by knowing where, what, and who?

After step 1, your team should have an excellent base to start looking for partners, but where do you look? What are you seeking for? Who should you ask?

Where?

Where can I find local providers that match my criteria? If a foreign provider might suit my plan better, which countries should be in your consideration list?

For example:

If your business is in Singapore, it is usually tough and expensive to work with 100%-local providers. And due to various factors like time zonecultureregulations, it will be best to consider your outsourcing partner located in Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand.

What?

Do your research and learn more about your options. You find, classify minor/significant problems that potentially increase the risk or the potential of each option. Discuss with your team and remove one that cannot process further.

For example:

Keep analyzing and researching, and you will find out:

  • Vietnamis usually not the cheapest, but Vietnamese teams, on average, can deliver a medium to excellent level of deliverables. Singapore companies have been working with Vietnam software outsourcing companies for years without significant problems with working culture. However, their English is not that good. -> next consideration.
  • India usually has the best offer in price, but overall performance is not stable at all. Many companies are working fine with India partners, while many others have failed and wasted a lot of resources. -> next consideration.
  • Etc.

By the end, your team decides to proceed with Vietnam, India, and Malaysia.

There are many countries in the Southeast Asia region that are suitable for Singapore companies to find outsourcing partners (image source: e27.com)

Who?

By now, your team has made use of most of your subjective experience and knowledge to narrow down the list. It’s time for some fresh ideas from the outside.

Depending on your network and your situation, there are multiple sources for new insights:

  • Software outsourcing experts are sure to be a useful insights source if you know one. Someone with experience working with many different outsourcing teams from various regions can give you valuable practical advice and sometimes contacts.
  • Your friends and networks have their network and experience that can provide a new view of your project, and they can sometimes help you connect with an outsourcing expert.
  • Public forums and social media are some of the best sources too. You can find similar questions or post one yourself, asking for your network or a group for their experience and advice on your plan can be the fastest way to gather outside view on your options.

List down all the pros and cons points for each option, and rank them by priority.

Example:

Your final list of options should look like this:

List down all the pros and cons of each option, you want it to be as detail as possible

***Note:

  • Try to keep an open mind and confirm others’ feedback before deciding. People are giving you advice based on their experience, views, and biases – it’s your job to make the choice.
  • Information sharing can be sensitive. Be clear of what you can share.

Step 3: Call out and start collecting offers from software outsourcing providers

Based on the narrowed list of potential outsourcing locations, it is time for you to reach out and collect contacts. There are many ways to do this. Here are a few suggestions of what you should do:

  • Get referrals
  • Google Search will help you find some interesting contacts, and as everyone is doing digital advertising, you should be able to find some relevant ads too.
  • Shout out and let people know so they can help. A typical way to do this is by posting on social media like Linkedin or Facebook and ask for all your networks to help.
  • Get listed means go public about your need and record it everywhere so salespeople can find you, publish on your website, your company fan pages.

Collect as many contacts as you can, and start the discussion with each of them to collect more detail. Compare each offer with your project requirement, discuss with your team to filter out and keep only reasonable offers. It depends on your project but there usually a few essential things to look at in each offer:

  • Price is undoubtedly one of the essential factors. Just remember you are not buying a jean or laptop; financial cost is not the only thing you are considering. It is best to classify offers by price range and pick 1 or 2 offers that are best between the classified range.
  • Timeline is one thing critical to look at, as little as one month sooner can be a game-changer for a new product to get ahead of competitors.
  • System architecture shows how your outsourcing partner approaches your project; it shows their understanding and ability to complete the project.
  • The management process has to match your team and guarantee a suitable level of control over the progress.
  • Security can’t just depend on the matter of trust. If your project is related to payment or finances, you have to pay a closer look at security to avoid a breach.
  • Unique offers can be exceptional additional support that your partners can offer. For example, Inspius provides help to all local Singapore customers to apply for EDG Grant that covers up to 90% project cost.

It depends on the situation and how you break your project down to a smaller project or keeping it as a whole, we suggest you filter and keep 3-5 options before making the final decision.

Linkedin is a great place to publish and get some connection to software outsourcing provider

Step 4: Decide, keep track, prepare backup plans and repeat

Remember, every decision you made can turn out to be the wrong one, no matter how hard you try to make the right one. So it is best to prepare yourself a process to be able to identify problems as soon as possible, and ready to take action on it:

The circle of making your decision, keep track, and prepare backup plans

Decide

Based on our experience, there is no fixed template for making your decision. Each project requires a different decision-making process that heavily depends on your project’s stakeholders, purpose, budget, timeline, size, etc.

However, we strongly recommend you stick to your original plan of what you are seeking. There are some specific errors that you should avoid:

  • “The cheapest is the best” is a sweet trap that many businesses that new to outsourcing software development fell for. Always calculate your cost with risks and opportunity included. The lowest price offer can be the riskiest one.
  • This team is referred to, so I trust they are good” is a two side blade of trust. Some businesses can quickly make a decision just based on trust and soon after regret it. There is no guarantee that a solution that works with others will also work with your situation.
  • They have so many big clients; they must be good” is a fatal bias. It sometimes happens that companies with big clients devote most of their top quality resources to big clients and end up providing low-quality services to small clients.
  • All the un-match offers are trash” is just wrong, offers can sometimes contain ideas and solutions that your team hasn’t thought of. It is good to spend some time going through each offer; you may find some exciting ideas that save a lot of resources.

Keep track

It is critical to keep track of and analyze your new partner‘s actual ability, but it is also vital to continually keep track of your current partner(s).

The purpose is to identify potential problems before any significant consequences happen and correct those problems or prepare suitable alternatives accordingly.

What should you keep track of?

  • Deadlines: Including your partner’s ability to set up and catch up. Did they estimate correctly? Can they meet the deadlines, or they just commit based on our demand and miss those deadlines later?
  • Quality: How each of the released code functions? What is the bug rate? If you have experience with coding, you can try to determine if the coding is neat or just an oversized piece of code?
  • Transparency: Can you keep track of the project’s progress? Can you actively join the development discussion of all stages if required? Did the report match when you double-check randomly?
  • Stability and scalability: Are key personnel of the project stable or changed continuously? Is there any delay or long wait when you need to scale up the team? Team members changed a lot or are stable through time?

Tracking all these factors will help you maintain a stable development processidentify potential errors, and act on them early, as well as give yourself time to prepare alternatives if needed.

A Platform like Trello can easily track progress and create report for bug rate or deadline follow up

Prepare backup plans

Well, when keeping track of and maintaining a good workflow with your chosen partner should be your top priority, it’s smart to prepare yourself with alternative options too. There are a few reasons to plan different backup options:

  • Unexpected incidents on your partner can backfire and affect your business as you usually do not have any control over. Having backup plans can help you gain control faster if such an incident happens.
  • Your business growth can require the development team growth with it, but your partners might not be able to keep up with your pace and slow you down.
  • There can be better options out there. While your current team is good, there can always be a better provider that you can not know about if you do not actively look out.
  • Security requirements can sometimes require different teams to work on different modules of a project, and you do not want to delay your development because one of the team has problems, and other groups have to wait.

You can see that having a backup partners list will reduce your dependence or single or a few partners, and significantly improve your flexibility as your business grows.

Below are a few strategies that depend on your resource and situation, you can apply one or all of them to keep your backup partners list fresh:

  • Keep yourself searchable for sales: every company has its own sales team that is actively looking for a business like you to introduce their product. Publishing information about your needs online can be an effortless way to connect with service providers; they will actively find you for an introduction that you might need later.
  • Scheduled researching means actively planning for searching and doing research once a month or quarter to update your list of contact with new names and remove some outdated ones.
  • The list of qualified vendors is something big corporations usually have. You identify the qualification that you will need from your outsourcing team, then regularly check and qualify suitable contacts to the list for rainy days.
  • Using a small project to maintain a close connection with sub-teams is an excellent strategy that experienced business owners use. Aside from 1 to 2 main partners that you can rely on, keeping a daily operation with a dozen smaller sub-teams can significantly improve the speed as well as minimize the risk you have to take when things change.

***Note: The backup plan’s aim is just to minimize the risk for your product development; keeping things stable is the key to a long-lasting business. So keep in mind:

  • Try your best to pick the best-suited partner each time you make a decision.
  • If you made a wrong choice, at least learn how to make a better choice next time by going back and updating what you need from a new partner.
  • Backup plans are just for a rainy day. Maintaining a stable business relationship with your long term partner should be your top priority instead.

Software outsourcing FAQs (Singapore focused)

In this section, we will point out some questions that companies usually have to find software outsourcing partners. We specifically share questions that usually Singapore businesses ask because we have been working with Singapore clients for years and understand them best.

  1. Which country provides the best software outsourcing service?

    First, we wouldn’t say a country is best at outsourcing; each country has its own workforce’s unique culture and business style. If you do not know which country to look at first, just do some research and stick to the mainstream choice that other companies around you have chosen.
    *E.g. Singapore’s located company usually finds software engineering teams in Vietnam, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia.
  2. Which part of my software development process should I outsource?

    It depends on your need and situation; you can either outsource everything or just a part of your process. How much control do you want to have over the progress? Do you have the resource and knowledge to have that kind of management?
    *E.g. Our company Inspius is specialized in helping clients in an almost complete software development circle. You mostly have to work with our project manager to handle your request and receive updates and the final source code later. This is best suitable if you have a small team and do not want to spend too much effort to monitor the outsourcing team.
  3. I am a small startup, so I would like to keep everything in-house. Outsourcing service sounds expensive and only for a big corporation. Is it suitable for a startup?

    Indeed, big corporations usually have outsourcing teams in other countries, but they also have a big local team that they heavily invest in. If you keep things in-house, you will have to fight with these corporations with much more resources to acquire local talent. In that case, maintaining an in-house team can be way more costly than finding yourself an outsourcing team in another city or country.
    *E.g. Singapore startups in recent years have been struggling to keep local talents working for them as big corporations like Google, SEA, Facebook, etc. with big budgets and good company branding. Many startups find it is way easier and cheaper to outsource their software development to a country like Vietnam, with a big pool or tech talent at a reasonable price.
  4. What makes Vietnam a good destination for Singapore companies to find software outsourcing partners?

    We recommend you go through our article: Why choose software outsourcing in Vietnam (2020) for more detail to understand the pros and cons of software outsourcing in Vietnam.
Vietnam & Singapore
Vietnam is one of the most popular places that Singapore companies choose to find outsourcing partners

About Inspius

In case you are finding a local Singapore partner that can help you set up an Agile/SCRUM team, Inspius has more than six years of experience in assisting Singapore startups with a similar plan. With our certified SCRUM masters and effective practices of agile methodology, we are always ready to jump in and help you to realize any projects successfully.

Drop us an inquiry to discuss how we can help.

Why Vietnam software developers are what your tech team needs in 2021

From high-quality candidates to competitive costs, here’s why Singapore companies should consider hiring Vietnam software developers.

Skilled software engineering population

Vietnam ranked 8th globally and 2nd in Asia in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2015 – the most respected global survey by OECD to measure countries’ proficiency in maths, science, and reading. In addition, algorithms and programming are part of the high school curriculum now. 

Data from Global Skills Index 2020 Report, published by Coursera, an online learning platform used by global learners for higher education, also rated Vietnamese technology skills 2nd in Asia Pacific and 22nd globally. 

Technology skills of Vietnam software developers ranked 2nd in the Asia Pacific and 22nd globally, 2020
Vietnam ranked #2 in the region and #22 globally in tech skills, Coursera Global Skills Index Report, 2020

All the above indicate a competitive engineering workforce that has been emerging constantly in Vietnam. 

Competitive supply of software developers

While hiring software engineers in Singapore is getting costly, Vietnam has been recognized as a cost-attractive tech talent hub of Southeast Asia. According to Glassdoor.com, a career website, generally, in Singapore, companies pay a software developer S$4,500/month which is much higher than the average salary of a software developer in Vietnam – S$870/month. 

Even when your budget allows, you may not find the right talent in Singapore. A report from jobs site Indeed showed software engineers faced the greatest talent shortage among all roles in Singapore, which is foreseen uneasy to change in the next couple of years. There are only 1,186 IT graduates a year from its universities in Singapore (data.gov.sg, 2019). The shortage just got worse during COVID-19 due to border restrictions. 

On the other hand, Vietnam churns out around 80,000 IT graduates annually (Vietnam’s Ministry of Science and Technology, 2019). This huge number of young graduates, combined with improved internet connectivity, has led Vietnam to a thriving tech hub recently.

Hire remote Vietnam software developers for Singapore companies - Inspius

Seamless communication with Singapore companies

Many Singapore businesses are concerned about the language barrier when considering offshoring to Vietnam. Vietnamese software engineers in general face greater challenges in speaking English compared to their counterparts in India and the Philippines. That said, it is still entirely feasible to hire software developers in Vietnam who are competent in both coding and English as long as you have the right tech recruiting partner

Moreover, in 2016, Vietnam’s government directed 61 public universities, academies, and colleges to introduce English as a second language of instruction. Many of those institutions also have included English as one of their graduation criteria. Plus, Vietnam’s time zone is only 1 hour behind Singapore; therefore, working hours in Vietnam and Singapore are mostly synchronous.

Bottom line

Are you struggling to hire software engineers in Singapore? Consider giving software engineers in Vietnam market a try.

Having more than 8 years of experience helping Singapore companies hiring and managing talented software engineers in Vietnam, Inspius is where you can rely on finding right fits, from technical competencies to language proficiencies.

Set up a meeting with our team today to learn more about what we can help you with!

7 points to look out for when your company want to hire Vietnamese software developers

This article mainly focusing on hiring and managing software developers in Vietnam; therefore, its usefulness may be limited if you are relocating the software developers to Singapore. So, without further ado, here are the top 7 points to look out for when deciding to hire Vietnamese software developers.

7 points to look out for when your company want to hire Vietnamese software developers

Communication style in Vietnam

Inspius-Vietnamese- software-developers-team-meeting
Communicating with your team members is crucial

Vietnamese’s Working Culture

Vietnamese people highly value relationships, community, and bonding events. Therefore, it is important that you make your software developers, although they are not physically with you, feel a sense of belonging to your team. While video communication may be conducted on a daily basis, it is advisable to see them face-to-face at least once a week. Organizing bonding events and having a strong culture is key to keep them loyal to you in the long run.

Turn Over

The demand for software developers in Vietnam is stiff. With many foreign companies setting up their development centers in Vietnam and the rise of Vietnam start-ups, Vietnamese software developers have plenty of opportunities for them. Therefore, unless your pocket can compete with those of Grab and SEA, giving them high salaries is neither viable nor effective.

Productivity

This issue is common when building an overseas team. When your team is not physically with you, it is hard to know whether they are working hard. Fortunately, if you can set up properly set up the product development process with tools such as Jira, Trello or GitHub, you can ensure productivity without monitoring them constantly.

Legal

To properly hire Vietnamese software developers, you need to set up a legal entity in Vietnam and follow Vietnam’s employment law. There are plenty of companies that can help you with these issues – just remember to do your due diligence on those companies.

Intellectual Rights

It gets tricky when you need to deal with intellectual rights. Signing non-disclosure and intellectual property agreement are crucial however not enough. Enforcing those agreements in Vietnam is costly in both time and money. Therefore, you first need to ensure the character of your hires. Proper source code management is recommended as well. You can read more about Vietnam’s intellectual rights here.

Admin

If your Vietnam team is small, admin work may be negligible. However, as the team gets bigger, hiring an admin staff to ensure all the nitty-gritty details are looked after will save you a lot of time and headaches.

If you do want someone to handle all 7 points above for you so you can hire Vietnamese software developers, drop us an inquiry and we will gladly assist you.