Software Outsourcing

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Why are US businesses struggling to find tech talent?

The USA is at the forefront of technology in the 21st century, with the likes of Google, Microsoft and Apple powerfully representing the country, but despite this many American businesses are facing difficulties when it comes to technology development.

Companies across the states are currently struggling to find tech talent in their local area, reporting that the pool of skilled, talented candidates is far too low. As a result, the rate at which businesses can grow is limited until they can find the perfect employees to help them keep up with technological advancements.

Why is it hard to find tech talent in the USA?

There are a number of factors at play in answer to this question. Firstly, there is simply a limited pool of skilled, experienced developers in the industry. The rate at which people are graduating from university is not fast enough to meet demand. More and more businesses have to find tech talent in order to expand, but there are not enough graduates to fill the roles.

Secondly, as a result of this demand many talented developers are being poached from company to company as businesses strive to win over the best talent with generous salaries and benefits. For smaller businesses or start-ups with limited budgets, it’s very tough to compete with the big companies who have more to offer candidates both financially and in terms of progression and promotion.

Finally, many businesses struggle to find tech talent who have the passion and knowledge to fit in with their company. Although certain skills in the industry are transferable, many companies require very specific areas of expertise and this narrows the talent pool even further.

What is the solution?

An increasing number of US businesses are turning to nearshore outsourcing to enable tech development to continue without in-house staff. There is plenty of tech talent in countries outside the US, and by partnering with tech development companies or individuals, companies no longer need to go into bidding wars in terms of salaries and benefits to get the talent they need.

By outsourcing, businesses have access to the expertise they need with less hiring stress and no fear that a project will be left up in the air as it could be if an employer were to be poached by a competitor. It’s a fantastic solution that enables businesses to continue to grow despite the lack of talent in their local area.

To learn more about nearshore outsourcing we can offer a free consultancy phone call to explain how we can help to match you with the tech talent you require. Outsourcing may be daunting for companies who are new to the practice, but we can guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

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Defining Your Software Development Methodology When Outsourcing

A company’s software development methodology covers every fundamental ground rule defining the process used to create your software. This includes control over the source code, testing, the criteria for release, and of course where the responsibility for this procedure lies.

Individual programmers’ productivity has increased dramatically thanks to interactive development environments (IDEs), and with efficient new methodologies such as agile software development, the efficiency of programming teams has also been greatly improved. While of course different companies will have vastly different needs – what works for you works for you, regardless of the name it is given or the definition it falls under. We recommend agile software development.

Agile software development

In our experience, self-organised teams coordinating and collaborating to organically evolve a product-specific methodology is an ideal solution for most software development needs.

It is essential, of course, for your outsourced team to know what you want, but this will be par for the course if your chosen outsourced agile team is up to scratch, and the main benefit of that team will be their focus on continual improvements to your software, allowing you to track the development and keep the project on the course you want it to be on through repeating builds and releases. What you must ensure is that communication channels remain open at all times. Discussion, collaboration and cross-functionality will ensure you are all on the same page.

Define your management structure

The key to success in this field is effective control of your in-house engineering team. They should be in charge of management, not coding. Decide who in your management hierarchy is accountable for the daily operations of the outsourced team. That person needs to be granted the authority to freely manage your in-house engineers as well as the offshore ones. They can then keep the outsourced coders on a defined path. It will be your experienced employees’ knowledge and perspective that will make your software development a success. Remember, outsourcing is a hugely successful way of improving efficiency, not of buying vision.

If you are interested in learning more about how to successfully implement agile methodologies when outsourcing, please contact us.

Costa Rica Software Outsourcing

Successfully outsourcing software development in Costa Rica

Outsourcing software development in Costa Rica is now a normal practice in the technology industry, and it’s not just about lowering costs – outsourcing gives companies global access to highly qualified developers, while modern ways of working ensure quality and timeliness are still guaranteed.

Realizing the benefits

One of the obvious reasons for outsourcing software development is the price – differing costs of living mean a developer in Latin America will cost much less to hire than one in the US.

But as well as lowering costs, one of the main motivations for businesses to outsource software development is discovering professionals with the right skill set.

Technology is a global industry, and the ongoing tech boom taking place in countries like Costa Rica has created a pool of high-quality talent working for established developers to produce software for leading, multinational technology companies like IBM, Microsoft and Apple.

Outsourcing software development also saves time, as companies can confidently outsource aspects of a project that would normally require hiring more home staff, or be put off until later.

Overcoming challenges

Handing over an important part of a business to a company on another continent may sound risky, but qualified professionals using proven business practices can easily overcome any challenges.

For example, the rapid development of communication technology may have made outsourcing software development feasible, but there is more to communication than conference calling.

Teamwork and testing on the side of the software developers are vital to ensure meaningful, timely feedback and provide quality assurance.

Companies in Costa Rica like FusionHit use an agile software development approach, where face-to-face collaboration, ongoing testing and daily meetings between team members put communication and feedback at the heart of project management.

Cultural differences can sometimes cause concern, as countries often have different work cultures and differing expectations of employees.

That’s why so many companies in the US choose to outsource software development to Costa Rica, where US business practices are the norm, the time never differs by more than an hour or two, and there are experienced developers with a proven record of delivering success for American companies.

Analyst firm Gartner made Costa Rica one of eight Latin American countries in its top 30 countries for outsourcing services.

Outsourcing software development can bring real benefits, beyond a mere cutting of costs. Instead, it means being able to find the right developer for the best price, wherever in the world they may be.

Would you like more information on how to outsource software development from Costa Rica, please contact us.

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How to successfully manage a nearshore dedicated development team

With rising labour costs and a relative scarcity of high quality .Net developers in the US, nearshore software outsourcing is becoming an increasingly popular option for businesses throughout the country. Combining the economic advantages of outsourcing whilst being situated within a short journey from your base in the US, nearshore development provides the happy medium between the ability to stay in regular communication with a development team and a cost-effective, efficient workforce. Provided you are able to set up a nearshore team that runs smoothly and efficiently, your company can experience substantial gains, both in the cost and performance of running a .Net development team.

But the reason many are unwilling to consider this option stems from often unfounded fears regarding their ability to manage it from a distance and the ability to communicate business needs across cultural and linguistic barriers. None of this, however, should be a barrier to your business entering this area, provided you stick to the following general guidelines when forming and managing your nearshore dedicated development team. After all, the .Net coding language was designed to be a universal language transcending all linguistic and national barriers.

Become acquainted with your team leader 

It is vital to know your team leader as he or she will be your mediator with the rest of the team. If you know that you can trust your team leader to understand and carry out your instructions, as well as to act in an ethical and responsible manner, you can be reasonably certain that they will ensure the entire .Net development team works efficiently as well.

Become aware of any linguistic or cultural barriers that might exist

This might be as simple as understanding which language or languages are spoken in the region and the level of English comprehension, or making a conscious effort to communicate clearly and repeating yourself when necessary. But it is also important to understand any cultural differences that might affect business practices; observing correct etiquette will ensure a better relationship with your team.

Combine written and verbal forms of communication

In order to ensure that misunderstanding and confusion is kept to a minimum, it is highly advisable to combine both written and verbal forms of communication when interfacing with your team. In this way, any misunderstanding that might arise from one form of communication is likely to be cleared up by reference to the other and your team is likely to advance more smoothly and rapidly towards their goals

Visit your team

Finally, one of the big advantages of nearshore outsourcing as opposed to traditional offshore practices is that your .Net development team will be located within a relatively short journey from your place of business. Make sure to take advantage of this and to regularly visit your .Net coders in their home country. This allows you to clear up any communication problems that might persist on the spot, as well as to observe how your developers function as a team. You can also liaise with your team leaders and your visit will ensure your team feels connected to your business as a whole.

Looking to build a nearshore dedicated development team, we would welcome the opportunity to help, contact us now!

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Key Problems of Distributed Agile Development and How You Can Solve Them

It’s no secret that Agile software is fast becoming the dominant force in the software development community, with more companies adopting the Agile philosophy every day. If, however, you are a company that outsources development duties to programmers overseas, Agile’s core tenets (face-to-face communication, understanding, trust) can be tricky to enforce. As a result, many companies who rely on outsourcing may believe Agile software development is something that they can’t take advantage of.

Approached with a little forethought and careful planning, however, Agile software development can transcend different time zones, language barriers, and cultural differences, and bring your teams together.

Below we’ve outlined some of the difficulties you may face, as well as advice on how to overcome them.

Differences in Distance and Time Can Sabotage Your Communications

One of the key benefits of Agile is the flexibility it grants developers, giving them the resources to complete their work faster and with more efficiency. Normal development is often hampered by bureaucracy; messaging becomes confused, and costly mistakes are made. Agile software, on the other hand, skips all that red-tape and places a focus on face-to-face interactions. Regular meetings are important, especially to ensure all team members are working from the same page, and are aware of any changes or updates. This also gives team members a chance to air their concerns, seek clarification or find the answers to important questions.

Keeping all your teams working in harmony can be difficult. This is especially true if you have multiple offices working from different locations around the globe. In most cases, communication is handled exclusively via email or chat, with little to no face-to-face interaction; something that can quickly cause problems. This is particularly true if you have offices in different parts of the globe, as the teams’ working hours will rarely sync with one another.

How Can You Solve This Problem?

To solve this issue, ensure each of your teams is outfitted with a suite of video conferencing tools, as well as the capabilities to share Sprint plans and other information over the internet. Email and chat may be useful in a pinch, but they lack that personal touch a video conference, or face-to-face meeting confers. What is more, video meetings feel easier, more natural, and help foster a sense of trust. They also help avoid costly misunderstandings.

Cultural Differences May Stall Discussion

One of the key benefits of internet communications is that they give businesses the power to interact with people and companies from all over the globe. Sometimes, however, this can lead to misunderstandings. Organisations in the Far East, for example, conduct their business in a very formal, structured fashion, and don’t appreciate criticism or feedback during a discussion, unlike their Western counterparts who are encouraged to be vociferous and give voice to their concerns. Agile development thrives on the free exchange of opinions, though, so cultural obstacles are something you have to overcome.

How Can You Solve This Problem?

Actively encourage their participation, ask them for ideas and feedback, explaining to your various coding teams how important their suggestions are. Take the time and effort to address their concerns, carefully responding to each question and criticism.

Lack of Trust Between Teams In-House and Offshore

If you have teams on opposite ends of the globe who have never met, getting them to place their trust in one another is going to be difficult. This can be a stumbling block for Agile development, which thrives on trust between teams. As a result of this lack of communication, teams often feel isolated and left out of the bigger picture.

How Can You Solve This Problem?

In order to build trust and a sense of camaraderie between far flung teams, concentrate on bringing them together. Institute an exchange program, so that team members can spend time in their colleague’s shoes, getting to know their remote partners and discovering how their offices operate. Foster a sense of belonging and community by encouraging them to socialise, explore each others’ interests and cultural differences outside of normal hours.

Do you need help in Agile Development or Scrum, Contact Us.

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How to implement scrum in 5 easy steps

Let the Scrum team revolutionize your development management.

Scrum is an agile software solution that provides a flexible, holistic framework that leverages teamwork in order to reach common development goals, whilst offering the ability to make changes and respond to customer needs at any point in the process. But how do you implement Scrum into your work flow? Here are five easy steps to show you how:

1. Backlogs

This is perhaps the most important step in the process, so read carefully!

Before any project begins, you need to create a product backlog. This is essentially a list of the goals that need to be achieved in order to create a finished or near-finished product. List them in order of priority.

The Scrum Master (the person in charge of implementing Scrum and creating the Scrum team – you!) should nominate one person to be the head of the product, also known as the product owner, who will oversee the product backlog as their first action.

Include anything and everything: bug fixes, patches, risks. Just make sure they are focused on the finished product.

2. Plan your Sprint

The Sprint is the time period in which tasks have to be completed and all goals achieved, and is the essence of Scrum. Select some or all of your important product backlog goals and discuss them with the entire team; everyone in the Scrum team should know the overall goals of the project and what you hope to achieve.

Duration is important; 2 week is recommended, but you will need to tailor the Sprint to suit each individual product. This will also affect your budget, so it needs to be considered early on in the process.

When first implementing a Sprint, it’s best to overestimate how much time you will need; you can’t run before you can walk!

3. Delegate tasks

So, you’ve decided what you want to achieve and in what time frame you want to achieve it; how do you split up the tasks?

The beauty of agile software like Scrum is that the linear approach to development is no longer necessary, and changes in one area of development need not affect all the others.

It will take some time to organise the Sprint, so schedule a few workshops so that the whole Scrum team can contribute to the discussion. An open-plan, collaborative work space will aid the process; bring in some big whiteboards and hold regular meetings to lay the foundation for a smooth running Sprint.

Now it’s time to break down the product backlog. How far you break each component down is really up to you, but smaller tasks increase the efficiency of the Sprint by keeping individual tasks manageable. Then, once you’re ready…

4. SPRINT!

The duration of your Sprint is fixed – changing it will compromise the project. The essence of Sprint relies in the control and autonomy of individual groups, intervening will compromise the project. Individual groups still need to be able to collaborate, so ensure they can do this.

Hold daily meetings to make sure everyone is informed of the latest developments. If all the planning ahead of this stage has been done correctly, the Sprint shouldn’t actually be that taxing for the Scrum Master. The only time for heavy-handedness is when making sure the Sprint duration is honored!

5. Review

At the end of the Sprint, hold a Sprint review. Again, everyone should be involved. This gives the Scrum Master the chance to present the product as a finished or near-finished article. It will allow for feedback and the planning of any changes that need to be made.

As important is a review of the Scrum team and Sprint itself; make sure to point out positives, but also ensure that you take on board any feedback or comments that could help improve your Sprint.

The implementation of Scrum provides fantastic results; look into optimizing your development now! Contact Us!

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How to build a dedicated development team

Creating great software starts with great people, but finding them is the tricky part. Given the hotly competitive nature of the tech sector, it’s more essential than ever to form a highly skilled team to develop incredible software – and one whose members get on with each other so there’s no disrupting friction. Here are some ways you can build a dedicated software team:

In deciding who to hire for a dedicated development team, you may be tempted to go for the reliable “team player” – that all-rounder who gets on with everyone and works not as an individual but together, with the aim of reaching the end goal in software development. That’s all well and good, but team players can have their downfalls too. Many like to play it safe and may not be overly creative or inventive; traits you really need for great programs.

By all means, keep the concept of team players in mind – you certainly want everyone to have your company’s goals and ambitions in mind, after all – but don’t be overly reliant on this trait as a guiding factor in deciding who to take on. Creating software is all about translating new ideas into great programs, so consider outsourcing to nearshore software developers, for instance – experts in nearby countries who will be able to help create what you need.

Such people contributing to a software development team can often give valuable input from a different perspective, looking at the project from afar and coming up with ingenious solutions that will give the final product an edge in the marketplace. It could also have the advantage of fostering greater creativity and debate among other team members, and enhancing the software’s development overall.

Don’t forget about the old hands during your selection process, though. Any team will be comprised of all kinds of people, with differing attitudes and temperaments. While some relatively green members might be prone to problematic outbursts or general unhelpful behaviour – because, for instance, they don’t particularly like or agree with a certain proposal or direction and are unable to keep themselves in check – having seasoned industry personnel on board can provide a concrete base as the project moves forward.

You might also want to consider elite candidates for your software development team. These are the people at the top of their game – the leading minds in the industry – so naturally you’re going to want some in your squad. If you’re having problems finding any in your country, again you might want to outsource to nearshore developers; a practice many firms are now adopting. It’s an affordable way to get the top-level expertise you need to develop high-performance software.

When you have your team selected and formed, it’s then a matter of management. You want the members working well together, and to prevent disruptions from happening. Problems will inevitably arise, however – especially with creative minds, which run the risk of clashing – and when they do, don’t be afraid to step in and mediate so that all sides to an argument are heard and a mutually acceptable solution is worked out.

Always ensure you give your team ample support along the way, so that stresses are relived and deadlines met – and that you end up with a totally brilliant software product.

Contact Us, to learn how we could help you to setup a dedicated team for your needs.

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The benefits of nearshore outsourcing

Many companies considering the pros and cons of outsourcing their software development will weigh up whether nearshore or offshore outsourcing is best. Here we take a look at both, and examine which offers the best services to clients.

As the terms imply, nearshore outsourcing is when work is outsourced to companies or individuals who are in nearby countries, whereas offshore is outsourced much further away, even across whole continents; to India, for example. There can be big differences between the two beyond the issue of distance, such as differences in culture and cost. So how do you know what’s best?

Clearly, companies considering outsourcing their software needs want the best in talent as well as technology. You don’t want a slap-dash approach using yesterday’s methods, as the end product just won’t square up. It’s a fairly safe bet that you’ll find both expertise as well as the latest technologies in both locations, so this key element won’t be much of a deciding factor.

What will be, however, is the cultural environment in which your software developer is in. With nearshore outsourcing, your developer will be from a Western culture that’s the same or similar to your own. That means you’re going to be working with the developer in a Western business climate that’s professional, clear and orientated towards deadlines and goals, as well as providing high levels of client satisfaction. Basically, it’s easier to get things done, and to communicate what it is you want with your software – and that’s a critical factor in ensuring success.

On the other hand, offshore development will almost certainly be in a vastly different culture to your own, and therefore there will always be inherent risks in communicating – they may have trouble understanding what you mean in a Western context, and there will possibly be vastly differing comprehensions of what’s required. Even if English is the business language being used, it can often happen that nuances are not understood. This could snowball into complex difficulties with the software later on.

Time is another main consideration, as you’re going to want to be able to contact your developer with relative ease. With nearshore development you’ll be working with developers in the same or similar time zone, whereas it will be across many with offshore, which decreases the speed with which you can get things done. Not being able to communicate instantly could cause problems; after all, software development must be agile so that it can be continually accessed and adapted at will, if needs be.

As with many things in business life, the nearer you are to things, the better.

Contact Us, to learn how nearshore outsourcing could benefit your business.

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How to find the right software developer for your new business

You understand what you want from your software – more or less. What you don’t understand is that mysterious coding thing developers do that makes it work. So how are you going to choose the software developer who’s going to help you make your new business fly? Won’t the charlatans run rings around you? You know it’s a fiercely competitive market out there, so how will you even know when you’re looking at the answer?

We’ve put together a handy step-by-step guide to software outsourcing to help you make possibly the most crucial business decision you’ll ever make.

1. Clarify your needs

A good developer is not going to blind you with .net or c#, but you’ll make the communication between you much more effective if you’re able to accurately articulate what your business needs. Sit down, think it through, and talk it over with someone else if it helps. The two basic questions to ask yourself at this stage are “Do I want an interactive site?” and “Will there be a mobile aspect?”. If you need your site to interact with users, rather than passively presenting information, you should at least consider involving a developer. If you’re planning to target smartphones and tablets, make sure you find one with demonstrable mobile experience too.

2. Get a second opinion

Background research will help you to sort the wheat from the chaff. If you know someone whose job is to hire coders, ask them to help you to vet any applicants. Network, whether that means in the bar after work or online. Word of mouth recommendations are so much more reliable than an overblown CV. If there’s really no-one, try attending a developers’ meetup in Costa Rica and you should soon get a feel for who genuinely knows their stuff.

3. Speak their language

Good software developers are coders because they love both the puzzle of the code and the creative potential in mastering it. This is what gets them out of bed in the morning. If you want to really communicate with a developer, try to avoid sounding too obsessed with business and your bottom line. Present them with your ideas and ask them how they would go about making them work, improving on them, and pursuing related ideas you hadn’t even considered. Once you have them inspired by and thinking practically about your project, they’re almost certainly hooked.

4. Treat them as professionals

Be realistic about what you can offer in terms of both remuneration and career development. If you can demonstrate the potential of your new venture, through evidence like a prototype, secured venture capital or good industry connections, share this information. If they’re any good, they’ll have options too.

Contact Us, we would be happy to hear about your project and provide advice.