With the price of software development talent skyrocketing and the shortage of skilled developers only getting worse, many companies are looking to outsource software development as a cost-savings or talent solution. The question that used to come up was, “Can we afford the potential downsides of outsourcing?” As the median salary for software developers in the USA climbs to $95,510, maybe the question is: can you afford not to? When outsourcing software development, there are many ways to limit your risk and keep your effective hourly much lower. Here are the steps to success both from a financial and process perspective.
Step 1: Consider Language, Culture, and Time Zone when you Outsource
All three of the factors listed above are essential qualifiers for your outsourced talent and not something to ignore. Organizing a team with English fluency, excellent communication skills, and an accommodating time zone will prevent unnecessary headaches for your entire team. Communication is the key to any successful relationship, so when you’re searching for talent, make it a requirement that they have English fluency for both speaking and coding. Dealing with translation, broken English or code comments in a foreign language is a burden that you do not have to bear given the vast global talent pool.
It’s not just language that you have to worry about. Working with overseas talent often means you’re operating in different time zones. How long will your team put up with late night phone calls before they start to get frustrated? How can you have an effective agile process when your team is not able to work in real-time? Avoid time burdens by working with outsourced talent that is no more than four hours or a major ocean difference from your location in either direction. This ensures that you have at least half of the day for meetings with your outsourced team members. At Gorilla Logic, we chose to nearshore our development team in Costa Rica so that you don’t have to worry about any of these factors. Our team is in the same time zone as our Boulder, CO office and all our developers are fluent in English. To read more about successful nearshore partnerships, please see my previous blog post here.
Step 2: Check the Credibility of the Outsourced Team’s Education/ Skill Level
When working with onshore talent, it’s much easier to gauge education level and experience using tools like GitHub. However, when working with overseas talent, these factors are not as transparent. It’s imperative that you do your research on comparable education and coding skills. Many offshore provider’s portfolios only display their best developer’s work and listed education may not be comparable to American universities. To understand equivalent education overseas, take a look at the Overseas Degree Equivalency Table and Methodology to see where your target country falls in comparison with Western universities.
Step 3: Research the Cost of Living and Lifestyle in your Target Country
By understanding the cost of living in your target country, you can provide your outsourced talent with a suitable salary. To recruit a reliable, talented team, you must pay a decent wage to avoid developer turnover. Chances are, if you decide to pay the lowest price possible, your developer may pick up and leave for a higher paying job at any point in time. Stack Overflow provides a great resource in understanding developer wages worldwide compared to purchasing price to help you understand appropriate living wages by country.
Step 4: Don’t Lower your Standards for a Slightly Smaller Rate
The saying, “you get what you pay for,” also applies to engineers. During your search for an outsourced software developer, you’ll find talent for an extremely low price. Don’t be deceived. Most organizations would not lower their standards for onshore, in-house talent, so do not lower those standards to hire a cheaper contractor abroad. The goal should always be to find the intersection of skill and price that matches your needs. The adage of getting the best people on the bus still applies, so don’t compromise. To read more about why we chose Costa Rica as the best intersection of talent and cost, see Mario Merino’s post here.
Step 5: Align the Outsource Strategy and Commitment with the Entire Executive Team
Any misalignment from the executive team increases the potential risk of failure. Avoid conflicts by developing a comprehensive strategy with your entire team to ensure a successful venture. Determine the challenges and goals by collaborating with your team before you start searching for outsourced talent. As explained in my previous blog post, utilizing a pragmatic agile approach to define clear goals and expectations should guide this process.
Step 6: Consider Partners with a Domestic Presence
Working with a partner that has a local presence can provide your company with numerous benefits, including local project management, transparency and already established relationships. This is why, at Gorilla Logic, we have an office in San Juan, Costa Rica for your nearshore needs. Our development team in Costa Rica attracts only the best agile senior talent ready to embed directly into your team. Mario Merino, our Managing Director, explains “We incent our team members to refer engineers they know and trust- we know that our team will refer only people they will work side-by-side, and succeed in our multi-step vetting process led from our Boulder, Colorado headquarters recruiting team”.
Step 7: Remember the Cost Savings, but also Remember your Needs
Nearly 90% of firms surveyed in “The Outsourcing Revolution” cited outsourcing as crucial to their growth strategies. It not only opens up endless possibilities for global talent, but it also saves organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Not only is money saved in initial baseline salary, but in employer contributions as well. To read about the cost savings involved in both offshoring and nearshoring in more detail, please see my previous blog post here. However, sometimes cost savings aren’t the most important value-add you need. Sometimes a mix of an onshore and nearshore/offshore team is desired or needed to meet a goal. Maybe you need an American outsourced developer on-site or an expert in a particular field that can only be found onshore. To read more about how to choose between onshore and nearshore outsourcing please read Jay Wallingford’s post here.
Outsourcing is no longer just a purely financial decision, but a critical business strategy to maximize broader goals and promote success. At Gorilla Logic we help you find only the best developers in Costa Rica and the United States. Costa Rica has the perfect balance of education, language skills, cost, agile skills and time zone to work effectively with your team onshore. We only present you with fully vetted, technically sound candidates, so you don’t ever have to worry about how skilled your developers will be. To see how talented our developers are subscribe to our blog and check out some of their blog posts here and here. Feel free to contact us anytime with any questions you may have.