March 27, 2015 / in Blog, / by Number8

When it comes to software development, some companies may choose to outsource projects to an offshore contractor that may promise the best quality for the lowest cost. Oftentimes outsourcing seems like the most affordable route to go, especially when it comes to obtaining custom software development on a budget. However, outsourcing software development is not without its problems. In recent years, many companies have experienced their share of challenges when choosing to work with offshore software firms. A lower price tag doesn’t always ensure a high quality product, and overall project management varies significantly between offshore contracting firms. 5 Common Problems with Offshore Contractors When a company is considering a contractor or firm to offshore its software development needs to, an assessment of potentially problematic issues should addressed before making a decision. Here are five common areas of concern that present challenges to many U.S. companies working with offshore software developers:

  1. Communication - For the majority of countries that host offshore development centers, English is not the main language. The language barrier may be problematic, especially for projects requiring regularly communication and a high level of detail.
  2. Time difference - Working with a contractor in an offshore location where there is a major difference in time zone may make email communication difficult and phone communication almost impossible. If you are in a development environment where regular, ongoing communication is important between onshore and offshore team members, working with an offshore team located within a U.S. time zone may be advisable.
  3. Differences in business practice - Developers in an offshore development center may have a completely different outlook on standard business operations due to the business culture of the country.  This may lead to different assumptions about the way a project needs to be managed which may cause confusion and frustration.
  4. High turnover rates - In many countries that host offshore development centers, the IT field is known for turnover rates as high as fifty percent.  High turnover rates result in lost project knowledge and expertise. This can have an impact on project efficiency, velocity and quality.
  5. Poor coding quality - Some offshore locations may be behind in technology and development practices that are needed for the project at hand.  Poor or sloppy coding can ultimately lead to a disappointing end product, resulting in frustration and wasted time for debugging.
When it comes to outsourcing custom software development to offshore locations, the reduction in cost may seem like the ultimate advantage. In the long run, it may be especially important to consider a variety of offshore options before settling on one. Finding an offshore partner that is located in a similar time zone and has high rates of English fluency may be important, especially if you are operating in an agile development environment. It is also helpful to ask about employee retention and technical aptitude to make sure the quality of the code you receive meets your standards and expectations.

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