There’s no doubt that an offshore team of developers can be as invaluable to your company as your best in-house employee. If you’re meticulous about your candidate screening process for in-house staff you should be even more meticulous when it comes to offshore staff. Why?- because there are a lot of not-so-serious providers of offshore dedicated teams. However, if you succeed in choosing the right candidates the return of investment will be truly amazing – having in mind that EUR8 / $10 an hour is a real steal for a talented web developer/designer or software engineer.
First things first – the company
At the end of the day the company behind your offshore dedicated team might be the factor that makes your project a success or failure. Even if a single offshore developer or designer fails to deliver, the company behind that developer or designer should be able to save your project. So the question one must ask oneself is whether the company has what it takes in terms of professionalism to do that.
The company should have enough experience and be big enough to be able to deftly get a replacement for you. The company should also be big enough to be able to meet your needs as you grow. You should not be too big a client for them, and they should not be too big a company for you. You should be important to the provider but not so important that they’d do anything to retain you (go bankrupt for example).
Another important aspect of your future partner firm is its management. Do you know the names of its managing director/CEO, project managers, the board of directors, owners and its executives? If you’re unhappy about something, who will you turn to? Who is your point of contact’s superior? Has the management got experience in handling clients such as your company? How long have they been in business? Have the management got plans to sell the company soon and have they got room and capital for expansion if needed?
Once you feel comfortable with your potential partner company its time to test its candidates. You might be thinking about extensive telephonic interviews and tests, but I’d recommend trying out a candidate you feel good about after a chat and after having viewed the candidate’s portfolio. A web developer will prove him or herself after a few days of working and not after long telephonic interviews – especially as the offshore developer might not have English as his or her mother tongue.
If you have a telephonic chat with a candidate, don’t get turned off if his or her level of English is not entirely fluent. There are many talented software engineers and web developers who does not speak perfect English, but who definitely understand written English very well.
Exit strategy – worst case scenario
What happens if you choose the wrong candidates? Will the partner firm offer you a free replacement to try out? Is there any contract length? Make sure you have an exit strategy in place before any contracts are signed.Project management platform
If one of your projects ever runs into problems such as missed deadlines or misconceived requirements – which most people in the web development and software engineering business experience every now and then – make sure that your partner firm has got an online platform through which requirements are being funnelled. So that you can make project managers, managing directors and other executives aware of the problems and have someone do something about it quickly. An online project management platform allows stakeholders to overlook the project in any phase and without asking developers to mail a bunch of files to concerned persons.
Don’t make the process to advanced
Be meticulous about the recruitment of an offshore team of developers, but don’t make it too complex at the same time. Sometimes it’s OK to go with your gut feeling and take chances. Action is better than inaction!