How to Build a Software Engineering Team Offshore

We saw in the past 12 months a rise in digital initiatives unprecedented in recent years. Whether it was ‘uberised’ food delivery networks cooperating with local cafes serving loyal customers their favourite food to their door, or fitness instructors swapping the studio for the living room with virtual classes — nothing, it seemed, was off limits for transformation.

But, the talent shortage in Europe and North America makes things difficult. The UK alone has over 600,000 vacancies in digital technology, and 69% of US employers are struggling to find the digitally skilled workers they need. The reality is that local talent is scarce and expensive, and businesses have to look elsewhere to innovate at the speed they need. So, what to do?

A fork in the road

There are two routes businesses take when looking to innovate with global talent in development centres abroad. Outsourcing and offshoring. What’s the difference? Good question. Outsourcing involves hiring contractors to increase capacity short term and complete projects. This is often done via a third-party software house and the engineers are external support, independent from your organisation.

Offshoring is when you build a dedicated software development team in another country — including procuring office space, handling administration, and navigating local legalities. While both routes provide the benefit of cost arbitrage, the engineers in the offshore model are 100% dedicated and fully integrated within your existing team, giving you direct management of the daily workflow. So, let’s say you’ve decided to go offshore. What next?

Collaboration begins with the right partner

There are local legalities to understand in order to establish your development center abroad, which an offshoring partner can help to navigate — and should you go that route, choosing the right partner is an area where discernment is key. A history of building successful teams, alongside their approach to people, are the most important parameters. Likewise, do they have a requirement-based recruitment process in place to help you source the specific skills — and cultural fit — you need to optimally augment your existing setup at home?

Their approach should be looked at holistically, alongside the results they’ve achieved are key factors. Not forgetting the speed and quality of their delivery.

Understanding what kind of team you’re building

While there are different approaches to non-localised development as discussed above, our focus is on dedicated offshore development teams. That means teams built to custom requirements and developers completely dedicated to your business. Unlike what you might see with a software house, where work is outsourced on a project basis, the key to understanding how to build a software engineering team offshore is understanding full integration.

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Emilien Coquard

Emilien Coquard

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