Outsourced Software Development: Location Doesn’t Matter


As you’re weighing your options on whether to outsource your software development, the next decision may be a question of where.

Local? Offshore? And if you choose an offshore software development outsourcing model, will time zone differences present hurdles?

In this post, we’ll explore some considerations that will factor into that decision, along with a few ways you can optimize your outsourcing partnership. 

Onshore or Offshore Development: Building the Engineering Dream Team

If you restrict your software outsourcing initiatives to only those companies that have resources in the United States, you’ll spend significantly more budget and are likely to invest a lot of time working with the organization to build the right team.

Not only that, but you may be pulling from the same candidate list you would use if you were making an internal hire – and that’s no easy feat given the current talent shortage for software engineers in the U.S.

Many times, hiring an onshore development partner typically means added expense and less flexibility.  

If you expand your search to the global labor market, you’ll have access to a much broader group of talented individuals.

But how do you navigate the time zones? Should you look for a partner with developers in a specific region? How do you work with a development team located across the globe? 

The availability of collaboration tools has changed the way companies work with their distributed teams.

For many organizations, team members in different offices, countries, and even continents work together seamlessly in a distributed deployment model to complete deliverables collaboratively.

Your ideal engineering team might have individuals based in Russia, Mexico, and Argentina. 

The right processes and technologies enable a high-performing distributed team that is effective and enjoyable.

The exciting part about today’s digital era is that working with developers across the world can be streamlined and highly efficient.  

Techniques, Technology, and Tools for Successful Offshore Software Development

Not all outsourcing models are created equal.

When you work with a company to develop your product, the engagement model matters a lot. You need to work with a group that you can trust to help you get to market faster with the product you imagined.

Critical elements that can be hard to quantify, like the softer skills of communication, adaptability, creativity, and leadership, matter a lot.

Even the most thorough product specification inevitably has questions, opportunities for improvement, and areas that need to be discussed.

With the right people on your extended development team, these interactions result in a better product. 

To maximize the partnership with your distributed development team, here are a few key considerations to think about before jumping in.

1. Is there a cultural fit?

If you were hiring an internal resource, you’d make sure they fit in your company culture. It is equally important to consider this when outsourcing and hiring offshore software developers.

2. Are the developers on your project reachable and responsive?

Your development projects are critical to your company’s success. You’ll want to be sure you can talk directly to the developers that will be working on your team.

Are the developers able to physically travel to meet you for an onboarding session?

Will someone be able to attend daily standup meetings?

3. Do they employ a flexible approach? 

The Agile Project Management approach is designed to be flexible, allowing product development teams to adapt to complex and fast-moving situations. 

For many companies, the precise applications of Agile can vary, so it’s important to find an experienced outsourcing partner whose developers are capable of adapting to your specific workflows.

Is the outsourcing company will to adapt their process to fit your needs?

Do they assign a scrum master? Can you talk to that person first?

4. Is technology used to enable real-time communications?

The ubiquity of online communications allows distributed teams to adapt and meet requests for information regardless of local time.

Online meetings and messaging tools often have video and voice features that will enable distributed team members to hear and see each other. These are terrific to build relationships and also allow team members to engage regardless of their physical location.

Be sure to determine the outsourcing company’s access to technology outside the office.

5. Are tools in place to support distributed software development?

Once you have defined the methodology to manage the product development, you want a tool to keep the team informed and organized. You don’t want outsourced developers using their systems that you have no way to access.

Before the project is agreed, be sure you’ve covered the tools your team will use for reporting.

The longer your company works with an outsourced partner, the more natural distributed development becomes – assuming you’ve established a strong foundation. The right people, processes, and perspective often matter more than the software engineer’s physical location.

Want to learn more about approaches to outsourcing development? Read our report, In-House vs Outsourcing Software Development: A Strategic Guide.