Benefits of Doing Business in Costa Rica

Business in San Jose Costa RicaCosta Rica is a beautiful country located in Central America. The country is nearly 31,500 square miles in size, with coastlines along the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Recognized for its many beaches, diverse wildlife, dense rainforests, national parks, and volcanoes, the country is also home to a growing number of businesses.

In 2013 the population in Costa Rica was estimated by the World Bank to be about 4.87 million (compared to nearly 6.1 million in Nicaragua and 3.86 million in Panama). The literacy rate in Costa Rica is very high, with United Nations’ estimates at nearly 96%.

San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica and also the largest city, is located in the Central Valley. More than 2 million people live in or around San Jose. Characterized by a unique style of Spanish architecture, San Jose is organized into 11 separate districts, each with their own neighborhoods. The city is home to the National Theatre of Costa Rica, numerous museums including the Museum of Costa Rican Art and the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, fine restaurants and shops, top educational institutions and much more.

8 Benefits of Doing Business In Costa Rica

When it comes to doing business in Costa Rica, there are a number of reasons you should consider this location in Central America.

A report by the World Bank focusing on doing business in Latin America in 2014, details the following benefits of doing business in Costa Rica.

  1. You save time since records for tax registration in Costa Rica are now digitalized.
  2. The process of getting a sanitary permit for activities considered “low risk” has been simplified in Costa Rica.
  3. There is an online platform to create a business in Costa Rica. This cuts down on time and simplifies the entire process.
  4. Construction and building permits are now easier to get in Costa Rica, with an approval system you can access online.
  5. Property transferring is faster and simpler with a streamlined process offering certificates on a single website.
  6. Borrowers’ rights to inspect personal data are guaranteed in Costa Rica. This makes it easier to access credit information.
  7. Online payments to the country’s social security program are used by most taxpayers in Costa Rica.
  8. Companies can pay municipal taxes in Costa Rica electronically.

If you are considering doing business somewhere in Latin America, you should definitely explore the many possibilities and benefits Costa Rica has to offer. While the country may be most widely recognized as a beautiful vacation spot, it is increasingly becoming known as a great place to do business as well.

Best Costa Rica Travel Blog of 2015

best costa rica travel blogThere are so many great travel blogs out there, all trying to accomplish the same task of telling readers about memorable experiences and journeys through unchartered areas. If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica or are even considering moving to the country, find an interesting Costa Rica travel blog for insider information, great recommendations, and helpful advice. While many Costa Rica travel blogs tend to stick to the same blog format, some go beyond expectations and provide you with information you really can’t find anywhere else.

Looking for a great Costa Rica travel blog? Here’s a list of our top 5:

  1. Costa Rica Travel Blog –
    This blog is maintained by Nikki and Ricky, a young, married couple who are all about embracing the “Pura Vida” lifestyle. Their blog format is filled with informational stories and posts, along with pictures! For every category, including: travel tips, tours and activities, dining, and so much more, there are great articles and tips for every reader! Their site has earned several blog and travel awards and that is why they are at the top of our list!
  2. Two Weeks in Costa Rica –
    With a clean layout and tons of posts, this blog has become a great piece of literature for any planning an adventure. This site is run by an American couple that decided to leave their office jobs and head south for comfort and freedom! Their site shares awesome information about anything that has to do with trip planning and daily life in Costa Rica. Matthew and Jennifer keep the site very well updated and have even published two books from this concept. They love sharing their experience in Costa Rica with readers!
  3. Del La Pura Vida –
    With great interaction and timely posts, Erin, a native from the U.S., shares her move to Costa Rica with her readers. Erin has designed the site to help those interested in various Costa Rican destinations or topics. Her site is very well managed, and her blog posts have been extremely helpful for those looking to travel Costa Rica. She also offers insights for people interested in moving from the U.S. to Costa Rica. Erin spends her time blogging and also teaching children English in Costa Rica. Her blog has not only been a tool for travelers, but teachers as well!
  4. The REAL Costa Rica –
    While this blog’s appearance may be a little different, it is filled with tons of very useful information! Topics covered on this blog range anywhere from how much to tip in Costa Rica to how to rent a beach house. All of this information is extremely valuable for tourists or those wishing to make Costa Rica their new home.
  5. Costa Rica Escapes –
    “An Authentic Travel Experience,” may be the slogan of this blog, but it’s really so much more! This blog has posts covering a wide variety of topics and pictures to fulfill your sensory needs. On the side of the website, there are helpful itineraries. Whether you are a student, honeymooner or business traveler looking to spend some time wisely in Costa Rica, there is information for you. The blog posts might not be a frequent as the other sites mentioned, but it does accomplish its mission statement by providing readers with an authentic view of Costa Rican travel. This is a great excursion tool, as well as a good read!

Each Costa Rica travel blog is unique in terms of appearance and content. Whether you choose to subscribe to one page, or simply glimpse at these posts, these bloggers are definitely doing a great job sharing relevant and interesting information about traveling to Costa Rica. While there are a number of benefits to nearshore software development services, a major one is the convenience of actually being able to meet in-person with your offshore software development team. If you are thinking about visiting Costa Rica some time soon, check out a few of these travel blogs while you plan out your itinerary.

The Basics of the Agile Software Development Process

basics of agile software development processWhen it comes to software development, a company may be interested in seeking a new or different methodology to implement its standard practices. The agile software development approach has increased significantly in popularity in recent years due to its ability to produce top tier products.

Agile software development is an iterative process that enables developers to collaborate collectively across highly functional development teams in order to produce an end-product that has been tested and debugged throughout the project. This unique approach to software development facilitates flexibility, adaptive planning and rapid delivery through small incremental iterations referred to as “sprints.”

An agile approach to software development may be just the methodological switch a company needs to produce better products more efficiently.

Compared to the traditional linear development process often associated with the waterfall approach, agile developers work on small stages of the project in an incremental fashion in order to test and fix and issues that come about before moving onto the next step. When stakeholders want to change or add something to the project, working in an agile scrum approach allows the team to adapt quickly and efficiently. Compared to waterfall, agile positions development teams to save time and money when changes are needed.

Basic Concepts of Agile Software Development

It may seem a bit overwhelming at first to transition to an entirely new model of software development, yet over time the agile approach often feels intuitive to many.  There are some basic concepts associated with agile and scrum that are highly valuable in gaining a better understanding of the methodology. Here’s an overview of five basic concepts used in the agile software development approach:

  1. Team Involvement – In agile, team members work in cross-functional collaborative teams. It’s imperative to the agile approach that together, teams clearly establish requirements and prioritize efforts needed to carry out tasks effectively.
  2. Small increments – Agile developers work in small, iterative increments referred to as “sprints.” Working in sprints allows the team to develop, test and analyze before moving on to the next step. Incremental steps help to increase value, work with more flexibility, provide more accurate time estimates, and help manage overall project costs.
  3. Deliverables – Working in small incremental steps along the way also enables the team to frequently produce deliverables to stakeholders and product owners when requested. By producing deliverable material on a frequent basis, the team ultimately has a better handle on where they are on the product backlog and what tasks lay ahead. It also tends to increase overall team morale.
  4. Testing – When using an agile approach, developers will only move on to the next stage of the project when one is completed. Frequent testing during iterations allows developers to better test the quality of the product, allowing them to move on to the next stage with greater confidence.
  5. Communication – In agile, communication is vital to all members of the team and this includes product owners and external stakeholders. Communication enables the team to respond quickly and accurately to any and all request from stakeholders. Effective communication among all members of the team is at the heart of the agile approach.

When a company is considering a new methodology for product development, it is not a decision to be made lightly. Getting buy-in from team members can sometimes be a challenging process, especially if people have many years of experience using a particular approach to software development. Understanding the basics of agile is an important first step in determining whether this approach is right for you and your team. While it may not be for every software project, from our experience, implementing an agile approach has helped many companies go from producing good products to producing great ones.

Increase Team Communication at Work

Communication in the workplace is essential for any business or industry. It’s important to learn how to communicate effectively and efficiently, in order to complete the task at hand. Most workplace teams are comprised of different members with various duties. It’s important to get all of the team members on the same page. Increasing communication at work can Communication at Workgreatly impact a team’s productivity and create a strong sense of collaboration.

Communication is a key part of the agile scrum software development process, and something we’re truly passionate about for our own team and the teams we work with each and every day. Communicating clearly and effectively may seem like a simple task, yet it is not always something that comes naturally to people. Oftentimes good communication needs to be taught.

5 Tips to Increase Team Communication at Work

Here are five easy ways to increase communication at work between team members.

  1. Listen: It may seem funny that the first tip on increasing communication begins with listening, but this is a very important piece of communicating. In a group setting, or with any dialogue, it’s important to really hear what your team members are saying. Sometimes we think we hear what a person is saying, but we are actually using selective hearing and choosing the parts that sound good to us. Active listening can improve your ability to understand the task more fully and keep the group on track. Communication involves not only speaking clearly, but listening as well.
  2. Create an “open-door” policy: This policy is established to allow every group member the right to speak up or ask questions. Team members should not be afraid to chime in and offer their two cents. The saying, “There are no stupid questions,” should always apply in the workplace. Allowing any and all communication between team members will greatly reduce the amount of errors made and help the team stay organized as well.
  3. Establish standardized communication procedures: Step number three is a fancy way of scheduling regular meetings between group members. In the world of agile software development, we look forward to daily scrum meetings as a time to touch base, discuss problems, and plan for the day ahead. Whether a group wants to meet every day, every other day, or every week, meetings should be planned in advance. Team members should expect when to be ready for a team meeting. Creating regular meeting times will improve communication between team members. A schedule provides structure and accountability to the team, allowing for preparation between meetings.
  4. Be specific in your objectives: While holding a team meeting, it’s important to be direct and open with dialogue. This is the time for the group to openly discuss objectives and make sure that everyone understands the team’s goals. Avoid using confusing language or diverting from the purpose of the meeting.
  5. Choose appropriate forms of communication: It’s important for group members to communicate daily, but to also understand when and where communication is appropriate. Sending emails, skyping, and face-to-face meetings are beneficial. Make sure to keep communication at work, and encourage fellow team members to keep work at work. Do not use social media outlets to discuss work-related information. It is unnecessary and unsuitable. Also, if you need heads down time to complete certain work tasks, it can be helpful to identify the best times of day in which you choose to communicate with other team members. If matters need to be discussed during off-work hours, plan ahead for a time that minimizes the inconvenience.

Whether you implement one of these tips or all of five, it’s essential to increase communication in the workplace. Most team members thrive on open communication and crave structure. Using helpful methods to increase communication like scheduling daily meetings, listening, and creating direct goals, will certainly help a team become better connected and complete the tasks at hand more efficiently. Communication is necessary for every team to function effectively.

What It Takes To Be A Successful Scrum Master

Prosoft Nearshore Software Developers use the Scrum methodologyWhen it comes to agile software development, the methodology of scrum relies heavily on the scrum master in order to produce a great end product. A scrum master plays the role of facilitator or coach for other members of the product development team. Scrum masters typically keep the project moving as smoothly.

A major part of role involves tackling any and all impediments that may come about to threaten the progress of a project. While a scrum master may have minimal authority over a software development team, they do have authority over the process of the project.

A scrum master plays a vital role in the success of a project and the overall quality of the end product. He or she must keep the team on track and effectively collaborate with product owners and external stakeholders,  encouraging a shared vision for all of the parties involved. Being a certified scrum master doesn’t specifically mean that an individual is an effective or successful practitioner. This unique role requires a special skillset to keep a development team on track and produce the best end-product possible.

5 Qualities of a Successful Scrum Master

A successful project may ultimately rely on the ability of the scrum master to keep the team working as efficiently and effectively as possible. Many successful scrum masters share the following qualities:

  1. Knowledgeable and Always Learning – An effective scrum master needs to be knowledgeable about the scrum framework and methodology, all aspects of the project, and the different strengths and personalities of various team members. Thoroughly understanding how to implement strategies used in the scrum methodology is imperative to success. A scrum master should also have the technical expertise and product knowledge to anticipate challenges and help team members work through any unseen impediments.
  2. Sense of Responsibility – Responsibility is often times associated with increased authority. As a scrum master, authority tends to be focused on the process rather than the development team. A scrum master assumes responsibility without authority. An effective scrum master needs to be responsible for implementing best practices in the scrum framework throughout the entire project and with each individual member of the development team.
  3. Collaborative – Communication is vital to any software development project that implements the scrum methodology. A good scrum master should create an environment within the team that facilitates collaboration and open communication. When issues arise in the project, team members should be able to converse freely with the scrum master and one another to fix problems together as a collaborative unit.
  4. Committed – A scrum should be just as committed to the goals of the project as the team members are. Although a scrum master may not be a part of the team in the traditional sense, their role is integral to a project’s success.
  5. Influential – A good scrum master should be able to influence the team, product owner and external stakeholders without resorting to a command-and-control leadership style. An influential scrum master will be able to get everyone on the same page while maintaining a collaborative and collegial work environment.

When an organization implements the agile software development approach, an effective scrum master is vital to the success of the project. A scrum master should be thorough in his or her implementation of the scrum methodology. By helping the team successfully respond to project changes, stay on schedule, maintain focus, and stay motivated and excited about a project, an effective scrum master can ultimately take a product from good to great.