Offshore Software Development Definition and Checklist

Offshore software development is synonymous with outsourcing. Essentially, “offshore” simply refers to sending business operations elsewhere, to be done remotely by others. Of course, there are pros and cons to outsourcing, one example being that outsourcing is less expensive, but that it can be riskier. However, the risk is no greater than any other business practice. If done properly, the risk is lowered, and outsourcing can become very useful for your company.

One aspect of a business that outsourcing can help with is that of developing digital products, such as websites, apps, chat bots, inventory management systems, etc. Developing these products and systems can be quite the task, in terms of time, money, having enough people, and so on. Hiring an offshore development team is a helpful solution to these issues, creating less expenses and ensuring that the team working on your product knows what they’re doing.

Now, a few questions remain. How does one go about properly hiring an offshore development team? How do you know they’re legit? What are the pros and cons of doing so? And what are the best practices of offshore development?

The following guide will answer these questions.

So, what exactly is offshore software development?

As stated before, offshore software development is essentially outsourcing. Specifically, offshore software development is outsourcing tasks (such as creating digital products) to a third-party software developing team or agency. A team that specializes in the production of websites, apps, and other digital products that are beneficial for any business.

There are various methods to outsourcing software development, such as:

-Outsourcing to an individual developer/agency

-Delegating the entire project, or only delegating certain aspects

-Hiring a team of freelance developers

Freelance developers are experts in one or several fields. Many projects involving the creation of digital products will require a team, since many aspects come into play with various products. For instance, the development of a mobile game requires a 3D model artist, a concept artist, a motion graphic designer, and more. And other products also require a plethora of talents and skills in order to be created; therefore, hiring a team or outsourcing to a company specializing in whatever software you’re developing is one of the best options.

Other forms of outsourcing: Nearshore, onshore, etc.

No need to be intimidated by the new terminology. These terms are essentially the same as offshore, but with a few key differences.

Nearshore software development differs from offshore in proximity. Outsourcing to a nearshore development company would mean sending the work to a company located in a neighboring country, or simply a country in the same time zone. This method has the key advantage of ensuring that the company you’re working with has similar demands for work ethic. Cultural similarities are also useful in this case.

Check this offshore software outsourcing countries list:

Onshore software development also differs from offshore in proximity. It refers to partnering with a company or team that is within your own country. This can make the process easier via the same or similar time zones, plus less distance.

There are a few more important terms relating to outsourcing that you should know. The term “dedicated team model” refers to control and ownership, not geographic location. The business owner or the company hires the team they require for the project, and said business owner or company has full control over it.

Another approach, called smart sourcing, refers to dividing the tasks. Instead of the hiring company having complete control, non-core operations are placed under the delegation of the third-party team. This method is usually best for companies that have significant experience outsourcing projects.

The final example is typically used in the construction and engineering industries. Build-Operate-Transfer, or BOT, is the process of hiring a team to install a facility, and then, at a later time, handling it back.

A brief summary of pros and cons

Pros: Less costly, assurance that the team is skilled for the task they’re hired for, no training, shared responsibility, development boost.

Cons: Communication issues, cultural differences relating to work ethic, less guarantee of quality, a risk of faulty data security.

Finally, how to reduce the risks when it comes to offshore development

In order to reduce the risk of being scammed or hiring the wrong team for your task, it is best to follow these guidelines:

-Make sure you study the marketplace, find out what customers will want via data and speaking with potential customers. Learn about the competition as well; what are they doing, and what are they not doing?

-Create a “roadmap” with your priorities, and do your research to ensure that your project does not violate any legal regulations.

-Think of who would be using the product, and what they’d be able to do with it; then, prepare sketches or mockups of your future product.

-Analyze the technologies, skills, and tools you’ll need.

-Prepare a detailed documentation of the requirements and expectations of quality for your product.

From there, you will be able to make a smart decision on what company or team you should outsource to. But then what?

-Set the quality standards.

-Negotiate the rates, and set deadlines.

-Make sure to communicate with one another and keep a good track of the progress.

-Protect yourself with NDA’s and by making intellectual property rights clear.

As long as you follow these guidelines and make careful decisions, offshore outsourcing will be a successful move for your business.