The benefits of outsourcing software development abroad are widely recognized. Gaining access to software developers trained in the latest technologies can be very difficult, and international outsourcing gives companies a much larger pool of talent to choose from.
International outsourcing not only offers companies greater access to highly-skilled people with in-demand technical talent, 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) can be a matter of survival for new businesses operating on tight budgets and/or high start-up costs.
8 things to avoid when outsourcing software development abroad
Recognizing the many benefits of outsourcing software development offshore, it is important to note 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 to learn more about things to avoid if you’re considering international outsourcing.
- language barriers – Depending on the location you choose for international outsourcing, sometimes language barriers can be a real problem. Determining and communicating technical specifications can often be difficult even when speaking the same language. Before choosing an international outsourcing company, make sure there are no language barriers that could pose difficulties.
- Cultural differences – As a US-based company, you are familiar with the major US holidays and how these events can impact a typical work schedule. Depending on the location of your international outsourcing, there are likely to be entirely new holidays and other cultural differences around what defines “a standard workweek” that can affect project timelines and overall productivity.
- Major time zone differences – Large time differences can be a big challenge if you outsource software development work that requires collaboration from US team members. Many companies involved in agile development with scrum, for example, can benefit better with co-located employees. in the same or a similar time zone. While countries like India and China are situated in distant time zones that make day-to-day labor collaboration very difficult, locations closer to the coast in places like Costa Rica can provide a better outsourcing solution.
- Danger away – 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 of having a team of software developers located in a distant place. Not only can you forget that overseas help is there and underutilize this resource, but the distance can make regular communication, including project status updates, more challenging.
- technical infrastructure – Although your Internet access may be mostly seamless at your US office location, many regions of the world have much more unstable technical infrastructure. This can include frequent power outages and difficulty getting consistent Internet access. Before outsourcing software development abroad, make sure the location you choose provides a strong technical infrastructure.
- employee turnover – Whether you outsource your software development to a US company or a foreign company, it’s important to ask about employee turnover. Software development outsourcing is best done by companies that have strong employee engagement and low turnover. Not only will your work be more likely to be completed in a timely manner, but the quality of your code will also be better.
- Security issues – It is very important to consider security issues in any country you are considering for international outsourcing. This is important for several reasons. Most obviously, security concerns will affect local employees working on your projects. Security concerns may also affect whether you or a member of your team can visit your software developers abroad. It is important to consider factors such as national, regional and international conflicts, social security and militarization when choosing an offshore partner.
- code quality – If you’re a business considering outsourcing software development, you’re probably concerned about the quality of work you’ll receive. You don’t want to try to save money by outsourcing, only to have to spend more when your team on the ground has to spend hours reworking buggy code. Work with companies that hire the best technical talent and ask about certifications like those offered by Microsoft.
Outsourcing software development abroad makes a lot of sense for many companies. If you’re in a region of the US with a lack of technical talent, outsourcing can give you access to top software developers. You may also find that international outsourcing helps you save money while being more efficient at the same time.
As with any new business, it’s important to ask the right questions before you start to make your international outsourcing experience as positive and productive as possible.