Below are Key Takeaways Extracted from the Webinar

In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, companies are faced with tough decisions when it comes to building their development teams. The economy, technological advancements, and the demand for efficient software solutions have led to the emergence of various staffing strategies. One crucial question that arises is whether to hire onshore, offshore or adopt a blended approach. In this article, we will delve into the pros and cons of each option and explore the best strategies to create a successful development team in a down economy.

Onshore, Offshore, or Both: Finding the Right Fit

In a down economy, cost efficiency becomes paramount for businesses. Onshore hiring is characterized by recruiting local talent within the same country as the company’s headquarters. It offers advantages such as easier communication, cultural alignment, and real-time collaboration. However, onshore talent tends to be more expensive due to higher labor costs.

On the other hand, offshore hiring involves sourcing talent from other countries, often where labor costs are lower. There can be significant cost savings associated with this approach. Offshore teams can be valuable for non-time-critical tasks, as they operate in different time zones and can provide round-the-clock productivity. However, challenges related to language barriers, cultural differences, and communication complexities may arise.

A blended approach combines both onshore and offshore resources to maximize benefits. It enables companies to leverage the strengths of each strategy while mitigating their respective drawbacks. For instance, having an onshore team can facilitate seamless communication and understanding of project objectives, while an offshore team can handle less critical tasks, providing cost-effectiveness.

What Stage of Development are you at?

The biggest factor in making such decisions should always be “the stage you are at (in the product life cycle)”, as it would heavily influence your staffing decisions based on the needs, budget, etc. for the variety of different resources you’ll need in that particular product stage.

The Creative Stage: Creating the Foundation

The team’s composition, roles, and responsibilities play a significant role in shaping the project’s success. During the initial creative stage of product development, critical decisions need to be made that are more abstract and/or creative such as decisions about the tech stack required, the path that should be pursued for the envisioned product, UX design-related ideations, and major business decisions regarding the Product, etc. And thus, this is the phase where solution architects, product owner(s), UX strategists, designers, a Business Analyst, and a Project Manager (PM) or Scrum Master come into play. These roles are best suited to remain onshore, as they require a deep understanding of the company’s objectives, culture, and vision.

V1 Development: Assembling the Team

Once the creative stage is complete, it’s time to assemble the development team for V1. The number of developers required depends on the complexity of the project, the platforms involved, and, most importantly, the budget. For a multi-platform V1, a team of at least three developers is suggested, consisting of a backend or a full-stack developer and two front-end developers (web and mobile).

The budget considerations may lead to the allocation of backend development to an onshore developer since they will be the most involved resources from hereon, while front-end tasks such as iOS and Android development can be assigned to offshore teams. At this stage, moving PM offshore as well as hiring DevOps remotely can also be good ideas since their involvement on this stage is going to be minimal. The key is to basically find the right balance that maximizes efficiency and cost-effectiveness based on your particular needs, and thus, a blended approach is recommended from the initial development stages of the product.

Ongoing Product Development: Maintaining Momentum

After the V1 development, the project enters the ongoing product development stage. At this point, stability and steady processes become crucial. Companies may consider increasing offshore resources to scale the team effectively while maintaining control and efficiency. The onshore team can now be reduced to just “governance” – basically including the product owner, solution architect, design strategist, etc. to continue providing guidance and direction to the other teams, such as the developers based offshore.

A critical aspect of ongoing product development is Live Production Support. Companies need to establish a plan to handle potential production outages effectively. One approach is to have a fractionally allocated onshore resource (such as a freelancer), well-versed in backend and infrastructure, to provide real-time assistance during your business hours. Another option is to have offshore resources working on a flipped schedule, aligning with the business hours (them working the night shift to match with your day hours, for example). This approach can extend coverage and provide a cost-effective solution for addressing production support needs.

Overlapping hours of offshore and onshore teams is another best practice to keep things running round-the-clock with constant development, collaboration, and support with the least communication gaps!

Communication and Process: Key to Success

Regardless of the staffing strategy, effective communication and robust processes are essential for successful team collaboration. Regular daily stand-ups, backlog grooming, and sprint planning should be consistently followed. These ceremonies foster better understanding, alignment, and accountability among team members.

A critical element in onshore-offshore collaboration is having experienced team members who are well-versed in managing blended teams. Their expertise ensures efficient communication, seamless workflow, and effective problem-solving. Consider leveraging services from companies experienced in building remote teams for more extensive projects.

Conclusion: Building an Agile and Efficient Development Team

In a down economy, building the right development team is critical to achieving long-term success. The decision to hire onshore, offshore, or adopt a blended approach depends on various factors, including budget, project complexity, and time sensitivity. Companies can optimize their development process by combining the strengths of onshore and offshore teams while mitigating the challenges.

During the creative stage, onshore roles like solution architects and product owners provide valuable insights and direction. For V1 development, finding the right balance between onshore and offshore developers is key to optimizing costs and efficiency. As the project progresses into ongoing product development, maintaining steady processes and addressing production support becomes crucial.

By following robust communication practices and established processes, companies can effectively manage their development teams, whether onshore, offshore, or a blend of both, and achieve agile and efficient software development even in challenging economic conditions. Contact us for your offshore hiring and team-building needs today!

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