Entrepreneurship & Small Business

Offshore teams for software development with ...

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  • May 25th, 2018 2:35 pm
Feb 24, 2011
60 posts

Offshore teams for software development with ...

I've been talking with many different groups of people about building custom applications that require VOIP/Video Conferencing, Block Chain, AR/VR/MR with Hololens, and Tensorflow.

Out of curiosity, I wanted to see if I can find good off-shore teams that can provide entire teams that can execute on these types of technology. I did a google search, but the results that came back weren't that substantial (compared to if I googled for PHP offshore teams). Will it be difficult to find offshore teams that can do any of VOIP/Video Conferencing, Block Chain, AR/VR/MR, and Tensorflow?
4 replies
Deal Guru
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Aug 2, 2010
14973 posts
Here 'n There
Yes. Aside from the fact your project is multi-faceted, substantial in scope and complex, those claiming they can execute often cannot deliver. Also, it is very difficult to manage a project remotely, not to mention software projects of not being completed on time and going horrendously over-budget. Do you even have the skills to assess the competency of candidates and do you even know how to manage a project like this? It's your $ and no one is going to care about it as much as you. I have a colleague right now who is being held ransom by an Asian team of programmers that are 1 year delayed on a 1 year project and now are holding the code ransom unless even more $ is paid even though the budget has already been far exceeded.

It does not mean it cannot be done, it's just the risk level is high.

Your project sounds like Forrest Gump and a box of chocolates...
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Feb 24, 2011
60 posts
Thank you

Oh, it's not one project. They are a variety of projects, each requiring one of the technologies I mentioned, as opposed to one project that uses all of the technologies.

Do you think it will be difficult to find off shore teams that can do this? I've heard the usual complains about off-shore teams being difficult to manage, the code quality is suspect, and the risk of not getting the actual work after payment. I see those as constants. But specific to the technologies I mention, it seems offshore teams avoid "exotic" technologies, and instead focus on "main stream" technologies. My guess is that mainstream technologies allow them to just "pump things out" without much thinking, which is easier to do remotely.

Curious about your insights, thank you again
Last edited by rematakla on May 25th, 2018 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 23, 2008
10149 posts
Yeah, my first thought based on experiences with two companies switching to off-shore development is that it's way over-rated. Possibly good for saving money, but both experiences ended up being nightmares from a developer/team lead perspective. One company was a "small" company who wanted to add on resources as required for particular new modules of an existing application, the other was a large corporation that wanted to farm out entire projects. I was team lead on the first, and a cog in the machinery of the second.

1) If you're lucky, you get what you ask for. If your requirements are rock-sold and 100% correct, this isn't a bad thing. The problem is that many projects need adjustments over the development life-cycle, and those are where the issues come in.

2) Quality of product delivered is often suspect. The off-shore resources I've worked with were always reluctant to ask questions, and would rather build crap and deal with the fallout rather than question what's being asked for and do it right in the first place.

3) Who's going to maintain whatever is built?

4) Who's going to ensure that "best practices" are followed if you don't fully understand the technologies and architecture?

From personal experience, I'd rather go to building the new applications in-house (supplemented with consultants/experts who can introduce any required new technologies), and have an off-shore team handle the maintenance (bug fixes, new features, etc). It would be easier for them to follow an existing architecture and mature development process than it would be for them to start from scratch. Then your in-house team has the experience to properly support/monitor the off-shore team.

Plus ain't nobody local wants to do maintenance of legacy systems... Virtually everyone wants to do cool new shit. IMHO.

Deal Addict
Jul 3, 2017
3860 posts
It's easiest to use outside development teams for projects that can be well-specified. That's why things like database projects and PHP projects tend to be the norm. Basically you can specify what you want and get what you pay for.

But when the project gets more complicated, it's difficult to specify everything well enough to get the result you want, and it's difficult for the outside team to estimate it accurately. Frankly most complex systems are developed incrementally, adjusting both requirements and technical approach as you go to converge on a solution that works both from a technical and budgetary point of view. Complex projects that try the doomed approach of specifying every detail up front are called "government IT projects"xxxxxxx
sorry, I meant "IT disasters".

You could try a "time and materials" approach with an outside team, but that's not very cost-effective.

Even if you could specify what you want in sufficient detail for an accurate estimate and a reasonably close result, you'd spend so much time on it that you'd be saving very little by using cheaper development labour.