Knowledge does not disappear offshore

Feb 13, 2023

Are you worried about losing control of the knowledge of the software if the development is outsourced to an external team? Congratulations! You can relax and let these thoughts bounce. Here we tell you why.

First of all – you are not alone. Many people are hesitant to outsource all or part of their business development to an external team. The feeling is that the intellectual assets, the most valuable knowledge about the software, are taking wings and disappearing somewhere beyond all control. Something that could obviously have devastating consequences. The business would be perceived as neither serious nor attractive. Which in the long run can lead to vulnerability and investors seeing no point in investing.

But the truth is that the most important intellectual asset resides, and should remain, with the product owner and no one else. Offshoring development never, ever means that the role of the Product Owner moves along. There must always be a product owner in the business who is responsible for the product achieving set goals and is the person who has the mandate to prioritize and make decisions. The product owner must have a solid grasp of everything from the target group to what the product should deliver in terms of value and benefit in the end.

Regardless of whether the developers are sitting in the same room, in the same office or in the same country, all deeper knowledge about the software should be with the product owner. To put it bluntly: If a company has done its homework thoroughly – that is, has a competent product owner who really understands their role – then it won’t matter where in the world the developers are.
However, there can be great value to the product owner in developers understanding these incredibly important assets that in many cases, especially among today’s modern companies, make an entire business what it is. These intangible assets, ranging from know-how to proprietary software, constitute the identity of the business and must, of course, be protected.

Therefore, it is of utmost importance that in the development team there is a person who is the link between the product owner and the developers. It is, as I said, not with the developers that the intellectual assets lie. This is one of the reasons why at Miller Development we always appoint a Proxy Product Owner, who is the extended arm of the Product Owner on site with the team in the Philippines.

We will offer more reading about the proxy product owner and this person’s role in the offshore collaboration on the blog later.