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Considering the offshoring option for software development

I'm trying to develop a software prototype on a bootstrap budget. Given the rates that hourly developers charge stateside, I'm considering an offshore development option. However, every (domestic) developer I run into advises me against it, and commences to tell me horror stories about cultural disconnects, sloppy coding practicesand potential extortion risks. Does anyone have any:a) happy endings related to offshoring software development; and b) recommended approaches that I should take in the event that I do go the offshoring route?

23 Replies

Brian McConnell
4
0
Brian McConnell Entrepreneur
Head of Localization at Medium.com
Unless you have technical management to oversee the developers (who is OK with being awake in the middle of the night for conference calls, and is experienced enough to detect bullshit and/or sloppy work), you might as well throw the money in the fireplace. You get what you pay for.
Nicole Donnelly
1
0
Nicole Donnelly Entrepreneur
Creating HappyCampers Every Day
Hi James, It really depends where you go to outsource and how you work with them. I have an outsourcing company in the Philippines and I'd never do dev in India and I have worked with developers there. I've also worked with the Ukraine and other countries. It totally depends on you and how you test them and work with them. Or if you go with a company like ours, how we test and how you train them. Let me know if you want any best practices on hiring your outsourced person. Happy to share. ?
Michael Brill
3
0
Michael Brill Entrepreneur
Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products
This topic has been covered extensively in previous FD threads. Do a quick search as there's tons of great advice in there that probably doesn't need repeating.
Mike Moyer
1
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Mike Moyer Entrepreneur • Advisor
Managing Director at Lake Shark Ventures, LLC
I've been doing offshore technology for about 10 years and have spent thousands (maybe millions) overseas. I am not a developer myself and I have plenty of horror stories as you mentioned. Now that I have experience I can tell sh*t from shinola, but I didn't start out that way.

The best thing to do is start dabbling now with design and front-end marketing-type development that's not mission critical. You have to be very specific about what you want done and communicate constantly. I have my guys to a daily report of what they are working on. If your communication drops off so will their activity.

Next, move into light development projects for proof of concept work. Most of the stuff I do overseas is basic. I wouldn't do enterprise-level development unless I had a stateside technology cofounder.

Today I have full and part time development staff in the Philippines, Serbia and Canada.
Lawrence I Lerner
0
0
Lawrence I Lerner Entrepreneur • Advisor
Digitalization and Transformation Coach
A lot depends on the company and practices. I've run very large offshore consulting companies (UST Global, Cognizant) and small ones. I can give you some practical questions to ask depending on the type of development. There are some things that are more economical with domestic outsourcers or developers.

Feel free to ping me off list [removed to protect privacy]
Guillermo Schwartz
0
0
Guillermo Schwartz Entrepreneur
Founder of the Diveling web platform
Hi,
I have been working with an company in Canada that outsources their work to India. They have managers in India so they can control the technical level and the culture. They do really good work and they are fast. They can scale up and down and they also have technical people in this continent. The only problem I have had, only at the beginning, is to get them to own the project so that they would risk proposing innovative solutions. But after a few months of pushing everything is working well. You pay around a third of what you would pay in Canada for a good developer. So it is not the same price as going direct but you do save some money.
Bon Franklin
0
0
Bon Franklin Entrepreneur
Co-Founder of Morphid
There are some places that have a hybrid model. For example, http://prologic-corp.com/services/outsour.html They have offices in China and Europe and have a near continuous development cycle, reducing development time and keeping costs low. For full disclosure, I used to work there, but do not anymore. But I would recommend them if the price is right for you.
Ken Carpenter
0
0
Ken Carpenter Entrepreneur
Software Engineer at Arista Networks
After several experiences with outsourced developers, I wrote about how to work with them in a relatively safe way: http://www.mindjuice.net/2010/09/14/outsourcing-for-fun-profit/ Ken Carpenter
John Wallace
3
0
John Wallace Entrepreneur
President at Apps Incorporated
Before we hire developers, we give them a programming test that should take 4-6 hours to complete. It's a test any competent programmer should be able to ace. Our pass rate is only 20%. Bad developers are everywhere. The challenge is weeding through them to find the good devs.
Robert Tolmach
1
0
Robert Tolmach Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur and Social Entrepreneur
I have a guy to suggest who attended Parsons, worked for them, then worked for us in NY for several years, understands the US system, and continues to do freelance work for us from his current home in India. Stronger at front end than back end. (Our sites are Ruby on Rails). $50 an hour. Glad to connect you if it is a fit. Certainly do not work with anyone overseas who you or someone you know and trust has not worked with. There is also an org that does coding in return for equity: http://www.coventure.us/ Started by a Cornell grad. US-based, I believe. Have not worked with them. Best Robert
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