The benefits of outsourcing software development overseas are widely recognized. Gaining access to software developers trained in the latest technologies can be very difficult, and international outsourcing gives companies a much bigger talent pool from which to choose.
Not only does international outsourcing offer companies greater access to highly skilled individuals with in-demand technical talent, but it also provides the opportunity for companies to save money. Eliminating the costs and risks associated with increasing the number of full time employees (FTEs) may be a matter of survival for new business ventures operating with lean budgets and/or high start-up costs.
8 Things to Avoid When Outsourcing Software Development Abroad
Recognizing the many benefits of outsourcing software development overseas, it is important to keep in mind that it is not always a smooth and easy process. There are some potential pitfalls to be aware of before deciding to outsource. Follow along for more information about things to avoid if you are considering international outsourcing.
- Language Barriers – Depending on the location that you choose for international outsourcing, sometimes language barriers can be a real issue. Determining and communicating technical specifications can often be difficult even when speaking the same language. Before choosing an international outsourcing company, make sure that there are not any language barriers that could pose difficulty.
- Cultural Differences – As a U.S.-based company, you are familiar with major U.S. holidays and the way these events may impact a typical work calendar. Depending on the location of your international outsourcing, there will likely be entirely new holidays and other cultural differences around what defines “a standard work week” that may impact project deadlines and overall productivity.
- Major Time Zone Differences – Major time zone differences can be a major challenge if you are outsourcing software development work that requires collaboration with U.S. team members. Many companies engaged in agile development with scrum, for example, may benefit best with employees located in the same or a similar time zone. While countries like India and China are situated in far-away time zones that make every day work collaboration very difficult, nearshore locations in places like Costa Rica may provide a better outsourcing solution.
- Danger of Distance – You know the old saying “out of sight, out of mind.” When it comes to outsourcing software development, this phrase sometimes rings true. There is a risk to having a team of software developers situated in a faraway location. Not only is it possible for you to forget that the offshore help is there, and to underutilize this resource, but distance can make regular communication, including project status updates more challenging.
- Technical Infrastructure – Though your internet access may be mostly seamless at your U.S. office location, many regions of the world have a much more unstable technical infrastructure. This may include frequent power outages and difficulty obtaining consistent internet access. Before outsourcing software development overseas, make sure the location you are choosing provides a sound technical infrastructure.
- Employee Turnover – Whether you are outsourcing software development to a U.S. company or to an overseas firm, it is important to ask about employee turnover. Software Development outsourcing is best done by firms that have strong employee engagement and low turnover. Not only will your work be more likely completed in a timely manner, but the quality of your code will also be better.
- Safety Issues – It is very important to consider safety issues in whatever country you are considering for international outsourcing. This is important for a number of reasons. Most obviously, safety concerns will impact the local employees that are working on your projects. Safety concerns may also impact whether you or a member of your team is able to visit your offshore software developers. Factors like domestic, regional and international conflict, societal security and militarization are all important to consider as you choose an offshore partner.
- Quality of Code – If you are a company considering outsourcing software development, you are likely concerned about the quality of the work you will receive. You do not want to try to save money by outsourcing, only to have to spend more when your onshore team has to spend hours reworking buggy code. Work with companies that hire top technical talent and ask about certifications like those offered by Microsoft.
Outsourcing software development overseas makes a lot of sense for many businesses. If you are located in a region of the U.S. with a lack of technical talent, outsourcing can give you access to outstanding software developers. You may also find that international outsourcing helps you save money while becoming more efficient.
As with any new venture, it is important to ask the right questions before you begin so that your experience with international outsourcing is as positive and productive as possible.