What is the biggest problem of every Silicon Valley startup founder? Finding developers. What is the average annual salary for a senior engineer in Silicon Valley? Well, it is over $100K, which is pretty expensive for any young, yet promising company.
If you own a small startup and cannot compete with London, New York, or San Francisco in terms of salary, you might consider hiring globally. For many established businesses and startups alike, offsite development is the first thing that comes to their mind when getting a new business idea off the ground.
Many go for offsite development due to the cost-efficiency, flexibility, and quality it offers. However, this option isn’t always the best one, even for experienced founders who know how to manage a remote development team. It’s a great tool, but you have to use it solve the right problems.
From my huge experience working with different clients from the US and UK, I realized that there are at least four cases when hiring an offsite development team makes perfect sense and has a positive ROI. So let’s take a deep dive into the main pros and cons of each!
Case 1: When you need to hire many developers fast
Your startup has just gone through another venture round. Now, with more funding, you need to scale the team quickly. Yet, hiring 15 new local employees at a time is extremely hard.
First, you need to hunt them down, maybe even wrestle with the previous employee for them, hire and train them and only in about three months you’ll see their results. Let’s face it, the whole process can cost you a lot of time and money. There is no way your new local developers can get to work in just two weeks.
Also, don’t forget that managing a large in-house software development team might be a challenge you’re not prepared for. This is where hiring an offsite development team seems to be a perfect solution to the problem.
- Saved time on recruiting. Recruiting IT professionals can take a lot of time. But if your sourcing agency partner helps you with assembling and managing the team for your project, all you’re left to do is enjoy the results without having to bother with the process. Basically, this way you can even hire a dedicated team in a single business day.
- A quick start. A dedicated team of developers is flexible, which means they can start working on your project much faster than their in-house counterparts.
- Saved money. Staying within the budget is vital for big companies, let alone budding startups. Hiring offsite can help you save considerable sums or at least keep your expenses within limits thanks to the reasonable cost of outsourcing.
- Time zone difference. If an offsite team has to work in accordance with your other developers, the difference in time zones may be a problem. Luckily, you can overcome this challenge if your developers use time zone management tools for remote teams.
Case 2: When you need a team to complete a short-term project without further commitment
Picture this: in the middle of a sprint, your customer wants to throw in a new product feature. ASAP, as usual.
“But all the developers are busy building the critical parts of the software, and we weren’t planning on hiring more people anytime soon,” you say to the customer. “I’m sure you’ll figure something out,” she responds. And you do.
You decide to delegate this short-term job to an offsite software development team. Once their work is done, the feature is successfully delivered and the customer is happy with the result, you’re free to say goodbye to the extended team and carry on with your lives. At least for now. Chances are, if you’ve enjoyed the cooperation, you might want to do it again.
- Easy downscaling process. Or should we say, painless firing? Thanks to the short-term commitment between your company and the dedicated team, the firing process is smooth and harmless for both sides. And because the dedicated development team is scalable, you can have the exact number of people needed to work on the project at different stages.
- The in-house team is focused on the core tasks. By outsourcing even a small project to another team, you give your in-house developers time to focus on the critical assignments.
Cultural differences. The communication between in-house and offsite development teams can be somewhat spoiled if they have striking cultural differences. That’s why it’s essential you choose offsite programmers (who are often overseas) whose cultural background is similar to the core team’s one. Believe me, things can get tricky when holidays like Christmas don’t align. Of course you can work around it, but be careful to keep this in mind beforehand.
Case 3: When you are limited by time and budget
What if your company is an early-stage startup and you need to create an MVP avoiding missteps at all costs? What is there is just one month left to present it in front of the potential venture investors? What do you do then?
Clearly, it makes sense to extend the existing team with new developers. But hiring in-house is off the table because the recruitment process is cost- and time-consuming. And you’ve had your share of bad experiences when working with freelancers who were unreliable and, quite frankly, felt like a security threat.
If your startup is limited in both time and funding, working with a dedicated team is your best option. It will save you money because offsite developers usually charge less and save you time on recruitment. In the end, you’ll get highly qualified professionals to build your MVP just in time.
- Saved time. A dedicated team is super fast in terms of onboarding, which is critical if you have a strict deadline for the project. And you know that the faster your product enters the market, the better it is for your startup.
- Retained quality. Working with a dedicated team means hiring skilled workers and professionals in the domain. That’s why the quality of your final product will be spectacular. Moreover, you can quickly get help from niche experts if you need it.
- Lack of face-to-face communication. Compared to in-house developers, a remote team may suffer from the lack of face-to-face interaction. So make sure you hold regular video conferences and explore other ways to make remote teams happen to make up for it.
Case 4: When you need to implement specific technology
One day you realize that a human-like chatbot is what your web-solution needs. Too bad, your in-house software developers don’t know the first thing about chatbots. So, you’re thinking of ways to bridge this skill gap.
Hiring in-house is not an option since you probably won’t have any other work for them to do once the task is completed. Not to mention, machine learning specialists are expensive and hard to find. In this case, it makes sense to augment your IT staff.
Just surf a tech talent marketplace in search of the right candidate, contact the person you’ve selected and enjoy all the additional customers your new chatbot can handle.
- Faster and better solution. If none of your current employees wants to turn their career around and invest months in learning a new technology, let an offsite domain expert do the job. Thanks to all the experience they have, your task may turn out to be a piece of cake they can deliver in a week.
- Retained high quality. When you hire a dedicated team of professionals with a particular set of skills for the project, you don’t have to worry about the quality. Chances are, they’ve already worked on a similar problem for another customer and know how to implement the solution.
- Support. The feature developed by the domain specialist may (and most certainly will) require support in the future. This leaves you with three options.
1) You can train some of your in-house developers to work with the niche technology, and in a year or so, they’ll be able to support the feature.
2) Keep contacting the same developer who created the feature whenever it needs altering.
3) Contract another niche specialist each time you need to update the feature.
The bottom line
Offsite software development isn’t going anywhere. Companies will keep resorting to dedicated development teams whenever they need to save money, find a developer quickly or work with a niche technology. When you want talent and technology diversity as well as scalability and flexibility, hiring development teams offsite is better than altering an in-house software development team.
Your company may need to hire many tech professionals at once, scale up or down quickly, fit into tight time or budget limits (usually, both) or implement a feature that requires niche skills. In all of these use cases, hiring offsite developers is your way to go.
Once you decide that offsite development is exactly what your company needs right now, you should find out where to look for high-skilled professionals. Basically, there are three ways to go. You can either scout social hiring networks like LinkedIn, select an outsourcing partner yourself, or turn to a tech talent marketplace.
Whatever remote hiring option you choose — double-check the four use cases listed above. They will help you understand whether hiring an offsite team is the best possible option for you.
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Published April 14, 2019 — 19:30 UTC