Does ‘Offshore’ Give Outsourcing a Bad Name?

Offshore tech is a ‘noisy’ space.  And while there are plenty of examples of offshore software success it would be fair to say that the failure rate is high. Many projects truly do degrade into a spectacular (and expensive) train wreck. So, it’s not surprising that the term ‘offshore outsourcing’ has taken a beating over the years. But just because failures are well publicized, does not mean success is impossible. In fact, quite the opposite — most offshore projects we know of succeed. See below for some of the common traps new offshore clients can fall into.

offshore software success

There is no barrier to entry.

Anyone with an internet connection can call themselves a programmer. And if their rate is low enough, they’ll attract business. Experienced clients avoid these types of developers, but less savvy ones don’t and the results tend to be poor.

IT projects are hard to manage.

This is true of all software projects, and even more so if your team is offshore. Think of how many train wrecks occur with domestic development. It’s not easy! Add 5000 miles of distances plus some cultural issues, and more challenges arise.

It’s very hard to run and manage an offshore software company.

Clients get frustrated with things like time zones and language issues, but they sometimes forget that these things are challenges for offshore teams, too. Add in issues like attrition and infrastructure issues, and you begin to see how hard it is to succeed on an outsourced project when you’re on the other side of it.

Negative opinions of offshore developers’ skills.

Or for those of you who don’t need me to be politically correct: take a bit of “America is the best” mentality, combined with preconceived notions of offshore development quality, and some bad outcomes can become inevitable. Like it or not, US clients frequently think that overseas developers are inferior and this preconceived notion is tough to change.

Offshore software success is not impossible. It just takes some experience. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of incredible offshore software teams across the globe. The trick is separating the great teams from the average or flat-out bad teams. SourceSeek spends an incredible amount of time finding, researching, and vetting teams. We work very hard to ensure our clients get matched with only the top teams in the world. When done right, offshore software success is not only possible, it’s extremely likely. But just like with any software project, when corners are cut,  disaster is a real possibility.

Dave Meyer

Growth at SourceSeek
Dave Meyer is a data scientist, food lover, and an evangelist for offshore development.