How To Outsource an Overseas Development Team
Category: Software development
At some point, you may realize that your in-house skills and knowledge are not enough to accomplish a given task. If you want to start a project in a completely unfamiliar field, sometimes the best choice is to outsource it.
With 300 000 jobs being outsourced annually in the USA, there is no need to limit yourself to a company in your own country. Great talent can be found all over the world, so it’s worth expanding the geography of outsourcing companies on your short list.
Is outsourcing the right way to go?
Outsourcing software development is much easier and cheaper than training your in-house staff to do it, as many companies have realized in recent years. Hence the value of outsourcing has doubled since 2000. When you hire an overseas team, you can save even more money, as staff from abroad often work more cost-effectively while packing a high level of skill.
Here are some additional advantages to outsourcing:
- Skills and expertise. The biggest challenge for startups and small companies is their lack of specialized talent. Some tasks and projects require a large team of highly skilled professionals who are able to do the job perfectly, but in most cases, companies can’t afford to keep the specialists around permanently. Using their help for only as long as needed seems logical. Even major companies such as Slack and Whatsapp outsource to make up for their shortage of needed skills.
- Tools and technology. Getting a third-party contractor involved gives you a chance to apply advanced technology to your project. To stay competitive in the fast-changing field of software development services, professionals do their best to keep up to date with the best tools on the market. Not only will you get the best technology for your project, you will also get workers who know how to use those tools.
- Time. Outsourcing the project saves time that would otherwise be spent on project development. You can use that saved time to focus on other activities and jobs.
- Money. With any software project, there are many things to pay for: the staff, benefits, their training if needed, additional office space, devices for development and testing, fees for software development tools. An outsourcing software development company handles those costs for you. You only pay for the project. According to CreditDonkey, 30 percent of IT companies find outsourcing to be effective at reducing development costs; 55 percent report that the solution is somewhat effective; and only 15 percent said they failed to benefit from it.
Outsourcing effectiveness according to CreditDonkey
- Daily flow.Your company might not be tech-related at all but still needs a website, a mobile app, or a CRM. WIth a third-party contractor developing the project for you, the company won’t lose its focus on its core business.
- Ongoing needs. Developing software is not a one-time job. In addition to the work of creating and testing the product, a lot of time and effort goes into supporting and updating it with new features. This will keep the audience engaged and the product relevant. Continuous development and ongoing support are cheaper when performed by an outsourcing company.
What about drawbacks?
Obviously, outsourcing abroad has some disadvantages:
- Security. There is a fear that some of the company’s private information may be leaked during the development process — you are basically handing control over to a third party.
But security can be ensured with agreements: NDAs and contracts can be written to protect your company’s valuable information.
- Incomplete control. Of course, outsourcing projects instead of doing them in-house will restrict your ability to manage them, especially when the project is being developed across the globe.
But such worries may be unfounded. Outsourcing companies often have their own experienced project managers who will make sure your product is developed the way you want it. For overseas communication and collaboration, you can use countless software tools like Jira, Slack, Trello, Skype, or Hangouts. This way you will be able to keep tabs on the project while leaving the management to professionals.
Or you can retain the position of a project manager — many companies will collaborate, letting their staff work under your supervision.
- Language barrier. During the project, you will have to regularly communicate with the team to stay in the loop, offer additional features and whatnot. There may be concerns that, because you and your team are from different countries and cultures, it will be hard or even impossible to talk to each other.
That is unlikely to be the case. Outsourcing is a logical step towards a globalized economy. With more countries and companies taking this step, an increasing number of contractors are boosting their English skills so as to communicate effectively with clients. For most outsourcing companies, spoken and written English is one of the essential skills for job applicants.
Handing software development to third-party contractors may bring several benefits to your business: it saves money and time, leaving you to focus on more important projects, and it provides you with the expertise and tools essential for successful development.
How do I hire an overseas outsourcing team?
It is vital to get a dedicated development team with the experience relevant to your field of business to get the most out of the project. How can one do that?
You might have some doubts about hiring an outsourcer from abroad. There are indeed outsourcing companies that may fail to meet the necessary quality standards of a software project. Collaborating with such companies will result only in lost time and money.
It appears that different people have different ideas of a quality product
If you have never worked with an overseas contractor, here are some things to look for when choosing one:
- Check their experience.
The very first thing to do when you have stumbled upon several companies’ websites is to check how well they know your field of business. Software development for each sphere has its own peculiarities, and that is why you are better off choosing a company that is best, for instance, at developing e-commerce platforms than the average “do-it-all” contractor.
Furthermore, take your time to study the companies’ portfolios. The company that has something to boast about will have a detailed portfolio available to the public. This is perfect for learning which projects they have completed, what problems they faced and how they solved them.
If possible, look for testimonials as well. Most companies leave a couple on their website, but it wouldn’t hurt to scan the web for some more. You can find out how the outsourcing company treats its clients.
Look at the tech stack: If you have a technical background, make sure that the third-party contractor does offer solutions built on the technology you need.
Having discussed the project details, do not forget to negotiate the way you will collaborate. There are three ways to work with your contractor:
- Time and material. This is the most boiled-down approach: in this case, you pay for the time it takes the team to finish the project. The deadlines are flexible as long as you’re willing to continue perfecting the product.
- Fixed price. This approach is not particularly flexible, but the fixed price means you’ll know how much the project will cost from the get-go. It also means fixed deadlines and no chance of adding features to the product. Fixed-price projects are also completely managed by the outsourcer.
- Dedicated team. A dedicated team basically works solely for you. You can have contractors come to your office and work on your terms, or work remotely. That way you keep full control of the development team: you can select certain specialists you need for the project, rearrange the scope of the work, set deadlines and change them for yourself. When working with a dedicated team, you will have to pay a regular hourly salary to the outstaffing workers.
The bottom line
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Outsourcing offers numerous benefits that will help you deal with the lack of a particular set of skills of your in-house team. It also allows you to implement advanced technology with your project and focus on your prioritized tasks, while saving money.
To hire a dedicated team overseas successfully, you need to observe several precautions. First of all, be sure to check the experience of your potential contractor and look carefully at the portfolio and testimonials. When negotiating with the contractor, choose an appropriate method of collaboration. Make sure to sign an NDA to protect your company’s information — and then let your contractor worry about the rest.