The Value and Benefits of Having a Nearshore Software Team

How many times have you worked with development teams where you had sleepless nights since they were half way around the world? Or, wondered if they were working or not since you should be sleeping? Are they working with multiple clients or dedicated to me? This is more than you need to worry about when working on a mission critical product or trying to change the world.

There are many opportunities for software teams near and far with different levels of skill, cost, language, etc. Working with an offshore team (India, Eastern Europe, Asia) you are definitely going to be plagued with time zone challenges. You’ll be up at various hours of the night, and likely find pricing all over the board. They will tell you everything they can to win the business and make you feel comfortable. I am sure there are some good ones out there, but chances are once you start working with the offshore team, you will wish that you went elsewhere.

So, what do you do? Focus on working with a nearshore team. What is nearshore? It is defined as “relating to the transfer of a business operation to a nearby country.” Typically, in the case of the United States, this will refer to the transfer of a business operation to Canada, Central American and South American companies. Once you cross over the left and right oceans, it moves into offshore territory regardless of how it is spun.

The value in having a dedicated nearshore team

With a nearshore team, there are at least SEVEN VALUE POINTS.

  1. Proximity
  2. Timezone
  3. Language
  4. Culture
  5. Cost
  6. Skill
  7. Velocity

As an executive leading teams at a corporate, or a startup founder, I would imagine that these seven value points are extremely important for you. As part of your development strategy, these are the keys to your success with the right nearshore partner. You should not only expect but demand these things from the partner.

In the business landscape, competition is coming and biting at your heels so you only have the time and bandwidth to get this done right the first time. I’ve heard time and time again, “well, they cost less than a US team so if there are problems and we need to redo it, it will still cost less than a US-based team.” I cringe when I hear this as it is really an unacceptable approach, especially if you select the right partner the first time around. What they did not calculate in this approach is the cost of “time” in addition to the budget burn. So, in the end it really cost 2X the time and budget in addition to the opportunity cost of other things that could not have been done in parallel.

In a recent CNBC article, “Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s comments about San Francisco are a warning sign for the city’s tech scene,” Jack was quoted as saying “I do think that we need to figure out how to build a company that is distributed, that is not burdened by time zones, but is advantaged by them.” Based on his company’s needs, nearshoring is an opportunity that will bring them advantages. This is a huge statement.

Internal, external or mixed teams?

Do you need a traditional in-house team? A 100% remote team? Or mixed? These are important questions to help ensure that you are setup for success, today and tomorrow.

There is no one answer here, but rather depends on your specific needs and requirements. Here are a range of questions to ask which should help you arrive at an answer that works for your situation.

How can I maximize the output by extending the budget as far as possible?

Do I have business critical dates/milestones that I am trying to meet?

Do I need access to specific skills that I can’t find locally?

Am I not finding talent fast enough?

Do I have enough office space based on the budget allocated? Or, can I transfer some of that office budget to expanding my team?

In the world of working remote, and all the available tools, is there a business benefit to having the team in-house at the same time?

Do I value a good night’s sleep so that I can focus on my mission?

Is extending company culture across teams important to the success of the business?

Do I want the team productive or moving in and out of meetings which could reduce velocity?

Would your business benefit from long-term retention?

And the list of questions can keep going and going. I think you get the idea and hopefully the examples here help you to formulate those questions that are important for you.

Keep in mind that the intended end result is an “empowered team that can tackle challenges and provide results” that help you to move things forward. So, either a combination of in-house and nearshore, or fully nearshore, could likely be the best arrangement as a result of the answers above.

Hiring fully in-house, you expect many meetings, a lot of management, budget burn, and one on one time to align with product or company objectives. Balancing that with a nearshore team, the rules of the typical office space don’t apply and the budget is extended. Typically you communicate more and intrinsically give your team more freedom to make decisions while providing overall product direction. This really helps to drive velocity which is hugely important in the competitive landscape.

Just like an in-house team, a nearshore team is dedicated 100% to you, and if setup the right way can absorb your company’s culture and goals. On the other hand, offshore teams will take more of your precious time and effort to bring them into alignment.

If you find the right nearshore partner, that will take inventory of your needs and help you to scale swiftly with the right skill and talent. To help ensure this, transparently, you should be invited into the candidate selection process since this person will be a fully dedicated member of your team. The last thing you want is just to have butts thrown into seats to see if they fit or not. Not a good situation, and believe me, if this is offered to you…..run the other way. On the same token, if a vendor says “trust me,” well don’t unless they are providing some sort of (put your money where your mouth is) guarantee.

Nearshore teams could provide the best all worlds, but again really depends on your business goals, needs and requirements.
Lastly, here is a list of potential benefits working with a nearshore team should you find the right partner.

Benefits you get with a nearshore team

  • Collaboration: You have full visibility throughout the candidate selection process and collaborate with our recruitment team to interview and secure the best talent and skill.
  • Allocation: Your hand selected team is 100% fully dedicated to you.
  • Managed operation: Operational support and facilities for your team to do their best work.
  • Working Hours: Your nearshore team should work within your timezone. For example, for all of our US based customers, teams work within the EST (GMT-5) to PST (GMT-8) time zones to ensure overlap with their work day.
  • Proximity: Location is important. Your team should be easy to get to in a few hours. For example, the Ideaware office is only a 2 hour flight from Miami, or 5 from Dallas.
  • Transparent costs: Flat monthly rates and no hourly or hidden fees.
  • Cost savings: Potential savings of up to 60% of the costs from hiring a US-based team.
  • Culture: We encourage our partners to embrace the software design and engineering teams as their own. These teams will feel like a seamless extension of your company.

The right partner will help you understand the benefits and challenges of working with a nearshore team and advise what’s best depending on your specific situation. The team at Ideaware is always available to help you succeed by supporting you with best in class team augmentation services for software design and developers.

If you’d like to learn more on what makes a software team successful check out or post: 5 Secrets behind a succesful software team.

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