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This article was published on February 1, 2015

8 things to know before working with an offshore dev team

8 things to know before working with an offshore dev team
Scott Gerber
Story by

Scott Gerber

Scott Gerber is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young Scott Gerber is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at

Most of us have been tempted to outsource some or all of our development work to an offshore team in order to save money. But is this the best idea for your business?

The short answer is: It depends. To better understand the pros and cons, I polled a group of entrepreneurs from YEC about what one should know before deciding not to hire an in-house team. I asked them the following:

I’m considering working with an offshore development team. What do I absolutely need to know before going this route?

Their best answers are below.

Justin Baille1. You Will Spend Extra Time Managing

Be prepared for the reality that you may need to spend extra time managing the project and maintaining quality assurance. The money yousave in hourly wages may be offset by a longer than expected development timeline. – Justin

john rampton2. There Will Be Communication Problems

If you know going into this that there will be a language barrier, you will be fine. Make sure you detail out everything very clearly, then have your mom take a look at it and see if she understands. You want multiple people (besides yourself) to be able to follow your directions.

Even then, expect a few things to fall between the cracks. Also, make sure that you‘re staying in constant communication with the development team. Get updates on a daily basis so that you know if something isn’t going as planned. This will help with the language and time barriers. –John RamptonHost

Simon Casuto3. You Must Clearly Define All Deliverables

Make sure you very clearly define roles and responsibilities. Pay by deliverables rather than by the hour. Check in with the team regularly, and if you get the feeling it won’t work out, discontinue the relationship right away. – Simon CasutoeLearning Mind

syed4. You Will Pay More Than You Expect

In my experience, often you try to outsource to cut costs; however, you end up paying for that in one way or another.

Either you pay additional fees due to unforeseen complications that arise midway through the project, or you pay by investing more than the normal amount of time in project management. – Syed BalkhiOptinMonster

doreen-bloch5. You Need to Set Up a Regular Check-In Schedule

Working with an offshore development team can be tricky due to time zone differences and physical distance. Make sure to plan ahead of time by scheduling a regular check-in cadence from day one.

Regularly scheduled check-ins will enable all stakeholders to keep momentum going from the start of the project. – Doreen BlochPoshly Inc.

Randy Rayess6. You Need a Great Screening Process

You have to pick very carefully — there are many outsourced development firms. The key is to understand what matters most to the success of your project and then closely screen the development firm accordingly.

I would speak to their past clients, review their portfolio, assess their remote work processes and examine their developer profiles before selecting a firm. –Randy RayessVenturePact

Firas Kittaneh7. Paying a Premium Can Go a Long Way

You get a bit of leverage when you are a contractor’s top source of revenue or income. There are special benefits in how you‘re treated too, which are well worth the extra cost. Let them price at a premium as long as you‘re receiving high-quality work. Penny-pinching will only cause unnecessary tension, which can quickly sour a relationship

Invest in having an offshore team long-term because the work will only get better over time as long as you treat (and pay) them well. – Firas KittanehAmerisleep

Alfredo Atanacio8. Define the Goals, Expectations and Specific Tasks Your Team Will Take Over

Defining these is crucial for keeping everyone on the same page. Your team will then receive the training they need. After you train them, make sure to be in touch with them constantly, so if they have questions you’ll be able to answer them before anything happens. – Alfredo Atanacio,Uassist.ME

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