The decision to take advantage of the benefits offered by offshore software development seems easy, right? So why are many small to medium sized businesses still hesitant to give it a try? Probably because while the benefits are real, the challenges are also real. But with the right tools, these challenges can easily be overcome.
One of the most obvious challenges is the language barrier. Most offshore software developers are located in countries where English is not the common language. Take complicated technological terminology and overlay it with language and cultural differences and communication becomes overwhelming at best. The good news is that most reputable offshore developers employ Project Managers who are proficient in English as well as code. This person is critical to keeping your project on track. We recommend assigning someone from your internal team to communicate with this person on a daily basis. Emails and texts are great, but with so many communication variables in the mix, frequent live conversations keep everyone on the same page. A few of the tools Labs8 uses are Slack and Stride. Both offer live video conferencing and Slack can be linked to most project management software to provide automatic status updates.
The timezone differences present another communication challenge. Your offshore team is just starting their work day as you are finishing up. Just when you get the schedules aligned, daylight savings can throw it off again. These divergent work hours can lead to frustration and inefficiencies. Using project management software will allow you to stay on top of all the moving parts, easily check progress and make updates throughout your day. When your offshore team begins their day, they have immediate access to this information so both teams are in sync. Labs8 uses Pivotal Tracker and JIRA project management software when working with our offshore development teams. These tools are critical in keeping everyone focused on the same priorities and moving forward.
Probably the greatest challenge IT managers face when considering offshore development relates to consistency of quality standards. Will the offshore team deliver the quality of work they want and expect? The last thing you want your internal IT team spending their time on is de-bugging work done by offshore developers. This is why we recommend thoroughly researching the multiple offshore options available. During this process be sure to ask for client references and then check them! If you don’t have time to research offshore options, it’s worth hiring a consultant familiar with the offshore development landscape to help out. A consultant can do as little as pointing you in the right direction based on your development needs to full project management including quality control. In the end, total costs will be lower than hiring internal developers. Most importantly, your business will get the quality development work you want and expect.
Labs8 has extensive experience in successfully working with offshore software developers to get projects launched. If you have questions about how offshore development might be a solution for your IT needs, we’d like to talk to you.