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How to punch through the negative feedback clients keep bringing up on offshore development?

As my company approaches new US based leads, we at times face negative experiences regarding offshore resources from clients. My founding team is US based with local Project Managers and resources located in Eastern Europe. It is a shame that a few bad apples ruin it for the rest of us. Any thoughts/recommendations on best approaches to eliminate this negative stigma?

16 Replies

Zhenya Rozinskiy
2
0
Partner at Agile Fuel
What stigma are you trying to eliminate? It's true that many outsourcing projects are a disaster (regardless of the cause). Many managers and companies will not work with outsourcing.

You can try to educate why your firm is different, but be prepared to really back it up. Regardless of what you do there are will be those who have their mind set and you will just waste time.

Jens Zalzala
2
0
Jens Zalzala Entrepreneur
Founder, Head of Mobile Apps Development at Shaking Earth Digital
My guess would be to have a portfolio of successes that you can use in your marketing.
But, you've got your work cut out for you. I've had to clean up the mess of more than one outsourcing company. It's not fun.
Max Garkavtsev
1
1
Max Garkavtsev Entrepreneur
CEO at QArea, TestFort
Sure.
1. When you hire a company , interview each team member. A the end of the day your experience will mostly depand from real people you buy rather then a company which sells them.
2. Start from fixed cost, promicing dedicated team if you plan it.
3. Ask for SLA. If the company doesn't have SLA, ask them to make it for you.
If you know how to draft SLA - good. If you dont' you can get it by asking vendor what can go wrong, and where it can happen you will be not satisfied, and how would they propose to descrbe and mitigate this risk in SLA.
Or better work with a company which can do reasonable SLA, not only chanting "we need to trust each oher", "we have good references "(of course, everyone has, that's because they are still in business, but it doesn't mean much) an "just give us a chance and we will show we have best engeneirs".

Your main goal. if you selected a company to motivate them best people they have access to. As the same company can provide you different level of a team, basing on expectations of risks and rewards they expect from you as a client. You should find a way to get maximum what they can give you.

P.S. If you are on a selling side (didn't get it fist)- make these SLAs, and you will look different from those created bad reputation of offshore companies.

James Wisdom
0
1
James Wisdom Entrepreneur
Digital Marketing | Ecommerce | Omni-Channel Marketing | Consumer Decision Journey
Are the local PM resources blaming the offshore resources for missed dates? What direct exposure does the client have to the offshore? One strategy is to minimize direct client <> offshore interaction so that the local resources act as the interface to the offshore and manages them effectively.
Ilya Lipovich
0
0
Ilya Lipovich Entrepreneur
Angel Investor/Operations leader
Local PM resources are the ones that drive the project forward. There are always challenges on the dev side with estimation, etc... but PM's are the direct interface with the client... so little to no communication is necessary to be had between the client and dev team.
James Wisdom
1
1
James Wisdom Entrepreneur
Digital Marketing | Ecommerce | Omni-Channel Marketing | Consumer Decision Journey
So what are the negative experiences the client is having with offshore?
Ilya Lipovich
0
0
Ilya Lipovich Entrepreneur
Angel Investor/Operations leader
1. Cost/time estimations being completely off
2. Quality of development being poor (not vetting the studio sufficiently)
3. Communication challenges with resources in a different time zone
4. Trust issues with IP

There are other reasons and without a direct recommendation from a mutual connection, showing how you are different in many cases no longer matters.
Martin Heller
0
0
Martin Heller Advisor
Freelance at Self
As my company approaches new US based leads, we at times face negative experiences regarding offshore resources from clients. My founding team is US based with local Project Managers and resources located in Eastern Europe. It is a shame that a few bad apples ruin it for the rest of us. Any thoughts/recommendations on best approaches to eliminate this negative stigma?

First of all, acknowledge the problems they have had, and sympathize. Explain how your local PMs help mitigate the risk. Then be open to an initial trial period after which you and the client can evaluate whether the relationship is working or not, and take steps to fix any problems or end the gig cleanly.
Robert P. Moore Bernardos
1
0
International Senior Manager. Helping companies with change & transformation & overcome challenges
From ym experience with offshoring (both as supplier and as customer), there are 2 parts here.
One is that many companies have been "burned" with offshoring with companies from India (that is why some have establsihed near-shore centers in places such as Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine and, recently, in Belarus).
From an operational view, assign a Single Point of Contact for each client that will act as the only day-to-day contact with your offshore team(s). All comms with each client only goes through this SPOC.
From a sales/commercial point of view, exploit the similarities (culture, education, etc) between the US and Europe, the reduced time difference and you must "evangilise" the client, taking his hand each step of the way, being totally transparent: the point here is to go beyond the typical "cold" commercial relation to establish a fluid, firm and solid partnership.
I hope this helps.
Oleksandr Andriyanov
1
0
American Programming Company at CEO
There are 3 aspects of the listed problem:

1) Project Management. Project manager is really responsible for the destiny of the project. As it is defined in PMBoK or Agile literature - PM has to clearly communicate any problem with any issue faced. This way it's possible to get a positive feedback even on really weak and underperforming team.

2) People Management. There must be the person responsible for general quality of the team. In case, PM will be located with the team - it's easy to delegate this duty to this person as well. Otherwise it's required to define such person.

3) Public Relationships. History of Success, Case Studies, Testimonials - I can't believe that business can be still running without samples of great achievements and positive feedback from the customers.
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