We hear a lot of misinformation in various discussions regarding offshore custom software development. What gets brought up most often?
The steady, successful work is frequently left out of the conversation.
Carefully selected and managed well, offshore developers can be a great asset to a project. Here at Digital Mettle, we take a very pragmatic and risk-averse position. We ask: “How can we use offshore development resources to increase our ability to meet client goals?” Here are some of the questions we are asked most often, and our responses.
1Q: Should I use U.S.-based developers or offshore developers for my project?
A: Yes! You should work with the developers that are best suited for each of the many tasks needed to accomplish your project. The physical location of a developer is relatively unimportant for ensuring a successful outcome.
2Q: What is the key challenge in working with offshore developers?
A: We find the biggest issue is communications and ensuring there is a clear, shared understanding of what is needed for the project. Differences in prior experience, culture, and language contribute to this challenge. Because communicating with offshore developers is often done through email, it can reduce everyone’s ability to get visual confirmation that they are being understood.
3Q: What are some of the issues working with software developers in the U.S.?
A: The biggest issue is finding quality developers who are available. The unemployment rate of software developers in the U.S. is half that of the general population which makes finding – and keeping – good custom software developers difficult.
4Q: How can I mitigate these issues with offshore and U.S.-based software developers?
A: The best way to mitigate any issues with developers – no matter where they are based – is to engage a software firm that has a permanent, cohesive team composed of both on-shore and off-shore members. You’ll want to make sure that the strategists with whom you will be directly talking to are available on your schedule for regular status meetings. Check into and avoid any U.S. companies that are simply fronts for off-shore companies.
5Q: How does Digital Mettle use off-shore developers to maximize client ROI?
A: At Digital Mettle we believe that using offshore resources is not a risk, it’s a competitive advantage. We see the upside of hiring offshore developers far outweighs the downside. By augmenting our team with offshore developers, we exceed our clients’ expectations in quality, in faster delivery time, and at a lower total cost than that of other development firms. Because of this we can typically include additional resources – especially in the critical areas of Testing and QA – within a competitive project scope and budget.
6Q: Why is Digital Mettle successful in using offshore resources?
A: We’re successful for many reasons. We’ve spent years perfecting and slowly growing our business to ensure that we “get it right.” Here are some of the things we have learned, or do differently than the industry norm:
- Our client-facing resources – business analysts, systems architects, senior engineers, project managers, designers, etc. – are U.S.-based to facilitate a short, smooth learning curve and optimal communications. Each of these team members are experts at understanding business needs and requirements and translating them into technical requirements & tasks.
- Our offshore development team is just that, our team. The average software developer on our team has been with Digital Mettle for more than three years. We talk daily on the phone. We celebrate birthdays and other special events together.
- We invest in training. We have found that having domain knowledge and a history of our clients’ needs is a far greater asset than having a specific technology skillset. Instead of hiring ‘whiz-bang’ freelancers or temporary workers for a specific project, we invest in expanding and enhancing the skills and capabilities of our long-term team members.