Not all software development partner options are the same and not all vendors are created equal. For years, expanding in-house software development capabilities was relegated to offshore software development agencies. Offshore refers to services rendered out of countries not landlocked to the United States, the predominant offshore software development regions being India and Ukraine.
In the pre-Agile development model using what was known as the waterfall approach, where all requirements were known and defined in advance, this model was effective. But in a world where iteration is the key to gaining and maintaining a competitive advantage and improving efficacy, Agile development (breaking deliverables down into smaller time frames known as sprints) offshoring can struggle to meet the clients’ needs. And in a faster-paced development cycle waiting until morning for a delivery from a vendor can cause delays when garnering requirement clarifications and addressing blockers. Vulnerable infrastructures, unstable governments and geopolitical sensitivities are also driving companies away from certain offshore options.
Why is nearshoring software development often a better option?
Nearshore software development refers to countries with engineering talent pools closer to North America – typically not separated by an ocean and with time zones matching those of the United States. These proximities allow for distributed teams to meet via video calls daily for daily stand-ups (quick updates on progress and the opportunity to highlight escalations quickly), progress demos, pair programming sessions, live code reviews and other stakeholder meetings.
Political stability, more reliable infrastructure and a wealthier working class than many offshore options, mean that nearshoring provides more security and predictability. This means fewer business disruptions and power outages plus a greater ability for team members to work from home when little events like quarantines are imposed.
As you can imagine these benefits of nearshore software development do come at a higher price point than resources in India or the Philippines. While we all have budgets, we must weigh the cost versus benefit. Collaborating with nearshore resources feels very much like a natural extension of your team, speeding the development process and minimizing the need for more administrative efforts and costs. The education and the experience of the resources are on par with those in the United States increasing the quality and velocity output as compared to other options. The key to better outcomes from a team is finding the right fit. Nearshore software development is still extremely cost-effective compared to the high cost and scarcity of developers in the US, especially in cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Austin and Atlanta. Three main components that make up a pricing model for your outsourced development needs are location, communication and experience, and your vendor or partner of choice should be able to explain the value in these thoroughly.
There are additional benefits to location than time zone. Having your outsourced resources close in proximity to your company’s team means you can quickly fly to their site to work, and vice versa. Not every country can easily provide work visas and not every country is a place you’d feel comfortable visiting. These may be instrumental factors in your decision of where your extending team resides. Closer proximity also often translates into greater cultural similarities that improve communication, team bonds and a higher understanding of your product’s business logic and user’s needs.
What else should be considered when comparing nearshore development options?
It’s wise to research different partner options and understand their hiring practices. Find out if a particular English language level is required, and find a team that understands how you best communicate. Some of the less expensive options will have you in direct contact with a project manager and not the individual software engineers, which may be an issue for your needs. Avoid the bait and switch by ensuring that you meet with the developers that will be working for your account and that you have direct access to them regularly. Finally, consider the experience levels, not just of your software engineers but also of the company you are vetting.
First Factory has grown to be a highly trusted nearshore development partner, with our primary developer resources located in Heredia, Costa Rica. With over 20 years and dozens of partners ranging from start-ups to multinational corporations, our fully English speaking team has the experience needed to round out your team or handle any sized development project. Our First Factory client reviews speak volumes about our dedication to excellence in software development, as well as highlight why we are a top choice when it comes to choosing the right nearshore development partner.