You may have an excellent in-house team. Scratch that, you may have the best squad in the area. Does that mean that, as far as you’re concerned, success is inevitable? Not necessarily.
Truth be told, you can crew up as much as you want. But, when the project starts growing beyond the company’s limits, there’s only so much the in-house developers can do. Sooner or later, they will require assistance. And, looking at the current IT landscape, it seems that hiring third-party vendors is where that assistance should come from.
Reviewing Deloitte’s global outsourcing survey, as many as 72% of IT companies in the West outsource software development. Likewise, according to the Grand View Research findings, the outsourcing and outstaffing markets combined should hit above $900 billion within the next 5 years. So, what’s the deal here? Why are these companies leaving the projects’ fate in offshore hands?
As the name suggests, offshoring is an outsourcing model that sends the project overseas. Unlike nearshoring, the offshoring approach usually puts at least 5+ hours between the main company and the offshore talent. Generally speaking, the offshore talent normally resides somewhere with more favorable economic conditions and less budget-hostile specialists.
Of course, that’s not all. First things first, offshoring lets you tap into the best talent across the globe. Removing the location restriction, you can acquire qualified professional help at, more often than not, a fraction of the cost.
Remote vendors might also have more versatile experience than in-house developers. Different tech, different software, different ideas, different implementations. As good as the local talent may be, looking remote is the only way you’ll be able to explore these differences.
Besides delegating software development, the offshore model lets you alleviate HR, administration, and infrastructure hassles. As you can imagine, without worrying about these non-tech problems, you’ll be able to focus on the more important (or enjoyable) aspects of the process.
At the same time, no one is saying that these responsibilities have to be delegated. In fact, going the offshore route, you can always choose the cooperation type. Extended team. Managed team. Outsourced team. Leave the whole thing in the offshore firm’s hands or control and supervise every little detail, the choice is yours.
Hiring and firing in-house employees is always a mess. Building an offshore development team, on the other hand, can be a pretty clean run. You can structure the team according to the company’s business needs and scale that team up/down anytime you need.
Last but not least, offshore developers can work as separate units or attached to the existing office team. Integrate them into the company’s system. Leave the offshore programmers be. Be as flexible as you want to be, that’s the beauty of it.
So, is it all sunshine and rainbows on the offshore horizon? Not quite. Sure, hiring an offshore tech team has its benefits, but also its pitfalls. Let’s figure out what they are and how you can successfully navigate the offshore landscape.
Location, location, location. The real estate agents’ biggest mantra applies to hiring an offshore tech team as much as it applies to the real estate business.
Sure, you can find high-level specialists practically anywhere. That being said, these specialists should still live somewhere with world-class infrastructure. Otherwise, delivering high-quality services can be an issue, despite the offshore team’s best efforts. To name an example, as much as you might try, there’s nothing you can do in the IT world without reliable high-speed Internet access.
First and foremost, we would recommend looking at the countries that have an existing and, ideally, thriving business relationship with yours. As you can imagine, besides comparable business practices, there should also be very few cultural differences. With the shared cultural crossovers simplifying and streamlining communication, you’ll be able to run a more efficient project.
Considering that English is regarded as the international business language, start with it. Make sure that the country’s English proficiency index is up to snuff before you hire an offshore tech team there. Needless to say, you should want to avoid any language barriers to communication.
As you’d expect, the geographical location will decide (and skew) the price-performance ratio. More often than not, the companies that offshore tech teams are the ones operating from high-operation-cost countries. With that in mind, managing expenses and cutting costs go hand in hand with finding qualified specialists.
Moving on, the time zone difference comes without saying, right? Synchronizing the time between the in-house team and the offshore guys so that they have enough mutual time online is pivotal. Otherwise, you’ll face all kinds of communication issues and, unless you’re fine with them working as separate units, collaboration failures.
Picked the country? Great. Now, it is time to collect information. Look into the company that you’re thinking of hiring. Make sure that its business profile is solid before you make any deals. Trust, but verify. Stable and reliable offshore companies can elevate your project as much as shoddy and irresponsible teams can tank it.
To separate the two types, we would recommend starting with these yardsticks:
- Analyze the company’s annual financial records. Investigate its net income as well as its revenue growth. Check at least the last three years before you jump to any conclusions.
- Examine its debt-equity ratio so that you can determine its financial health.
- Look into the team’s history. How long have they been in business? What projects have they carried out? What does the company’s portfolio look like?
- Read the reviews on the company’s site. As much as you can manipulate them, the reviews always tell a story.
- In the same spirit, ask for some customer references before you jump into bed with an offshore tech team. Ideally, you should also ask for these customers’ contacts so that you can talk to them directly.
- Inquire whether the company has any experience working with clients from your country. Once again, different countries have different business cultures. To that end, knowing that the people you might be working with have a decent pre-existing idea about yours is always a plus.
- Check the team’s commitment toward cyber security. As appealing as it may sound, risking a potential security breach is seldom a good idea.
To summarize, hiring dedicated developers from trusted outsourcing vendors is a lot less risky than working with freelancers. Having said that, you can’t go wrong with vetting the prospective vendors first.
Offshore Team Credentials
Offshore agencies can be 10,000+ employee large. So, as important as the agency’s history is, researching the team that you’re looking to hire can be just as important. In fact, unless you’re planning on renting the entire company’s services, the specific team comes first.
Look at its track record (resources like Clutch and GoodFirms can help). Browse the leads’ LinkedIn profiles. Evaluate the team’s GitHub account. Acting as an online showroom, GitHub lets you know quite a bit about how the team operates. Plus, you can look at the code structure, separating clean code from unreadable code. The followers and contribution counts, the join date, the relevant keywords, nothing is irrelevant.
Apart from GitHub, you also can’t go wrong checking out the team’s workflow. Check out how they interact with clients and how the agency allocates developers to the client’s project. Some agencies might be flexible and will be happy to throw extra help if need be. Some have a rigid structure and assigning additional developers to the client’s project can be a huge hassle. There’s always a decent chance that the offshore team’s workflow might not prove compatible with yours. So, make sure you find out everything you can about how they work before you make any final decisions.
Define the budget. Makes sense, right? Not as easy as it sounds though. Negotiating the project’s cost, make sure that the offshore agency outlines the services as well as the infrastructure that the cost covers. Likewise, find out what’s not included in the agreed-upon cost.
In general, aside from cutting costs, clients are looking to utilize the offshore agency’s infrastructure that they might lack. Therefore, making sure that the final price covers everything you require from the offshore tech team is key.
Set a concrete budget plan. Specify the capital outlay that should go into the recruitment process. Define the payment range and make sure that the offshore team does not exceed it.
There’s nothing worse than working with people who don’t know what they want themselves. So, before you hire any offshore help, you need to outline definitive, concise, and easy-to-follow goals. Clarify the project’s scope. Set its main direction in stone. The documents. The source code. The ancillaries (like processes and workflows).
Moving from there, you should also set realistic deadlines. Without concrete deadlines, the offshore team might have a hard time establishing priorities (they also might be different from yours). A nice little lifehack we can suggest is breaking large goals and wide-scope expectations into small-scale objectives. This way, they shouldn’t seem quite as daunting.
Assign key participants. Flat hierarchies can work, but most partnerships prove more efficient when the key staff is defined. As long as these participants share insight, you’ll be able to transfer knowledge between both sides without disrupting the overall workflow.
Collect data. Structure data. Make the information easily digestible, so that even people who are not involved in the project can understand it. You can create documents, run on-site training, record demos, and organize Q&A sessions.
The Right Tools
No one likes to exchange lengthy emails. To say that this is an outdated approach to sharing information and providing instructions would be a massive understatement. So, once you’ve hired the best devs, set the budget, and figured out the project scope, make sure to invest in the right software tools.
Using project management, tracking, and messaging resources like Basecamp, Jira, Slack, and more can help you immensely. With these tools, you’re able to keep an eye on the project and the tasks’ progress. At the same time, they let you exchange information and provide instructions in an efficient and convenient fashion.
Plus, these tools enable consistent work reports on the project progress. You can have live demonstrations, browse new modules, test out new functionalities, and ensure that everything is in sync with the team.
Summing it up, hiring an offshore tech team starts with settling on the right country first. From there, you proceed toward picking out a company and, assuming it’s a sizable company, a team within that company. Meanwhile, you should also define the budget and the project scope. As long as you also rely on the right tools and set up a functional legal framework.
Once you’ve taken everything above into account, there’s a pretty good chance you might like working with Wonderment Apps. At Wonderment Apps, we have the talent, experience, and resources to realize the most ambitious offshore development needs. Need hand-in-hand collaboration with Wonderment Apps’ devs? We’ll make it happen. Would you like to leave the project in good hands without bothering with its day-to-day activities? We got you covered. The choice is yours. The choice is Wonderment.