Finding out your software development is being offshored can be pretty upsetting, particularly if your local development team have been an integral part of your success.
Offshoring used to be the domain of big enterprises looking to reduce costs, but now even smaller firms are choosing to offshore or nearshore.
However, lacking the expertise to manage a remote development team increases the chance of things going wrong, and not having deep enough pockets to withstand the difficulties can be catastrophic.
Being a CTO or engineering manager isn’t enough to shield you from offshoring, as the CEO or CFO often makes the decision. I’ve even heard of PE-backed firms receiving instructions to offshore directly from investors.
Saying goodbye to local developers is especially hard when the decision has been made purely on financial grounds.
There is often an unspoken fear the new offshore team will be less productive, less responsive and less capable than the team being replaced. The fear is direct labour cost reductions will be more than offset by harder-to-see, harder-to-measure indirect costs such as longer cycle times and poorer quality.
These fears are well-founded, but they don’t have to play out. Careful planning and management of the development work will go a long way towards overcoming the unique challenges of physically separate and distanced teams.
I’ve had excellent experiences with offshore teams, particularly Eastern European developers, and on several occasions I found their expertise to far exceed what I could readily source locally.
If you are unhappy with your development team, they may need more detailed guidance.
Clear and effective software requirements can help with this.