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Offshoring? No way! How to prevent your company from running into pitfalls

business growth
(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Peshkova)

1. Offshoring today: main approaches when choosing this model (a brief introduction)

What comes to your mind when speaking about offshoring? Have you ever made a decision about cooperation with an offshoring partner? What pitfalls does this process have? How can you get around them? All of this will be discussed in this column.

When it comes to offshoring, there are usually several main benefits: cost-saving and speed of hiring. In fact, there are many more of them, such as transparency, 100 percent control over the team, ease of scaling up/down, and hiring tech talents while there’s a lack of high-skilled specialists at the local market.

But at the same time, there are many nuances that need to be negotiated on the shore and many misconceptions that, unfortunately, do not contribute to the fact that companies fully understand all the features of this model and can benefit from it. Let's try to debunk the well-established myths.

2. Myths about choosing an offshoring partner and how they affect the further quality of cooperation.

The first myth is about control. Clients often feel like they are losing control because a remote development team is far away. The truth is miscommunication, or bad communication can occur with the in-house teams too. And often it depends on the corporate culture within the company, its speed of reaction to certain changes.

A solution that may be suitable in this case: set up a permanent reporting system for each stage of work.

The second myth concerns the role duties. Some companies fear that not all the team members will perform the tasks in due course and in accordance with the objectives. The truth is, there is a little brick building on the wall. The better each member of the team carries out their role, the more quickly the team will get the defined result. And in turn, the quality of the team's work depends on the company's own corporate culture and the degree of interaction.

The third myth is that remote programmers work slower than in-house ones. This problem has been resolved very simply. Either the company controls the team fully or allocates it to the seller and receives reporting of the work done on a regular basis. Based on your technical experience, I would recommend making this decision. You can control yourself and the team with it, otherwise, your offshoring partner is better to entrust it.

The fourth myth is perhaps one of the most popular: barriers (cultural, time-zone related, language).

Cultural differences can indeed affect how remote teams work. According to our statistics, due to negligence to cultural borders, 69 percent of outsourcing clients overcome failures.

This issue can be improved through language courses for developers, improving relationships between the client and developers with the help of the vendor.

The fifth myth is high staff turnover. Some clients find that when working with remote teams, it is very difficult to track the moment someone leaving. The truth is, there are always weak points that are in the workflow. A retention mechanism is needed on the part of the offshoring partner to keep the developers motivated.

The sixth myth is that is hard to resolve the obstacles without consequences. Troublesome situations occasionally occur. However, compared to full-time employees, where you can easily schedule a live meeting to discuss pitfalls, you need another decision for the remote developer's team. Creating a roadmap for project development, breaking tasks into smaller ones, using Agile methodologies - this and much more will help you cope with this problem.

The seventh myth goes like this: high workload and complex tasks lead the remote team to failure. A large number of daily tasks, tight deadlines, regular testing and maintenance problems are all the realities of daily work, which can certainly lead to a breakdown. This issue can be resolved at the vendor level: it is very important to take care of maintaining the overall project workflow.

The last myth is practically related to fear and doubts: low quality of services to be delivered by a remote team. Perhaps this is one of the most common stereotypes that a company gets a poor quality of work by hiring a remote team. Here everything rests on the one hand in the hiring profile of each employee that the company provides. On the other hand, a thorough analysis of each candidate is needed, including his experience, skills, education in accordance with the requirements of the candidate's profile on the part of the vendor.

3. Main mistakes businesses make when choosing an offshore partner. What questions should the business ask themselves before choosing this model? 

The price of a contractor error is always high. But there are crucial mistakes that your CTO can make when choosing an offshoring partner. Watch out if your CTO takes the following steps:

Your CTO does not have definite employees’ profiles. This can lead to the fact that a team with inappropriate specialists will be hired, or they will leave the project earlier than both sides expect them to.

There’s a lack of communication and transparency between your CTO and the vendor. Don't you get any recommendations from your offshoring partner? Or your CTO does not share them with you? Do you get updates on task statuses? What about reports from your offshoring partner? The lack of transparency and miscommunication is very dangerous because you do not see any pitfalls or dynamics, which means that you cannot completely control and manage the process.  

No time investments will be made by your CTO in seller's communication. Working with a partner is first and foremost a dialog and communication which will help you to manage a remote team effectively. But you can only understand all the problems and problems by communicating with the seller and take appropriate decisions promptly.

4. 5 points you shouldn't choose offshoring. 

Working with an offshoring partner is the responsibility of both parties. You must be willing to spend your time listening to recommendations, if any, and implementing them. Otherwise, you will not be successful.

Do not choose offshoring as a model of work if you:

Have very limited financial resources to solve the IT tasks. Offshoring is not about money-saving by hiring a remote team at less cost. There will be additional expenses, like travel costs for your CTO to meet the team, extra tools for communication, software and hardware expenses etc.

Don't have time to work with your team or desire to work. If you don't communicate correctly and the remote team on the same page and are unable to stay tuned, just don't go into it!

Do not have a  CTO/PM/TM to manage the team from your company. If you don't have a  person who is responsible for setting goals and performing in a  remote team, hire or not offshoring him!

Don’t understand the need to motivate the remote team. It is not always a financial reward to determine the team’s motivation. If you do not want to motivate your remote team in other ways, listening to the vendor's recommendation, do not go offshoring!

Don't know if or not a remote team is needed. Can't give you a reason why you want to hire a remote team? It is not an easy task to work with a dedicated team. You have to cooperate long-term with these people and run programs without everybody meeting each other every day. If you are unable to do so, don't go offshoring!

Cyril Samovskiy, Mobilunity