How to Optimize Communication When Nearshoring Software Development

It Is All About Good Communication

Software development and outsourcing have a long-standing and mutually beneficial relationship. If you’re part of a company that has ever tackled a software development project, chances are you at least considered outsourcing to get access to more talent, boost your productivity, or lower your costs. Today, in a world completely changed after the COVID-19 pandemic struck, outsourcing software development feels more like the default option.

There are multiple reasons for that – mainly outsourcing’s many benefits. But it’s also understandable that some companies that never outsourced development before feel nervous before embarking on such a collaboration. We know so because we see that in a lot of our first-time clients, who ask us a battery of questions to relieve their doubts. The top one? How can we ensure better communication between ourselves and their team?

Behind that question is a myriad of doubts. How can you avoid misunderstandings? How to keep expectations aligned on both sides? How to better cooperate on a daily basis? The list goes on and on. Since we’ve been doing nearshore development for more than a decade now, we know the keys to keep communication open and smooth with remote clients and teams. 

We’ll discuss some of them here but first, let’s see what nearshore development means and how it differs from offshore and onshore development. 

What Is Nearshore Development?

Nearshore software development happens when a company outsources its development work to a country or region located nearby to its headquarters. For companies in the US, nearshoring typically means collaborating with teams based in Latin America. Some of the most popular destinations for American companies include Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil.

All of those countries have compatible hours with American time zones. This means that you can expect to work simultaneously with the remote teams. Additionally, working with software providers from Latin America offers other benefits, such as a high level of programming skills and English proficiency, cultural compatibility, and competitive rates.

Let’s now see how nearshore development differs from offshore and onshore development.

What Is Offshore and Onshore in Software Development?

Offshore software development means outsourcing work to a company in a region that’s geographically far from the host country. For its part, onshore software development involves outsourcing development work to a company in the same country, state, or even city. 

In that way, American companies would be offshoring development if they partnered with teams from India or Ukraine, and would be onshoring their work if they collaborated with USA companies, regardless of their location within the country. 

So, the main difference between nearshore, offshore, and onshore software development comes from the distance between the hiring company and the software development provider. Naturally, that’s oversimplifying things, as there are other differences between those models (all of which have their strengths and weaknesses). Here’s a more in-depth comparison between them if you’re interested in learning more.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s see the things you can do to optimize your communication with that team that’s located nearby.

Establish Ground Rules

Communication can get sloppy fast, so it’s of utmost importance for you and your nearshore development services company to define a list of rules before the project even starts. You do so to clarify the needs and requirements for the project, why not do it for the workflow itself? 

Ground rules should include your preferred communication channels, the tone of the communications, the frequency of meetings, and the expected behavior depending on particular milestones. Let me make that last one more clear. Who will be responsible for the project on your side? How do you want urgent changes and unexpected issues to be communicated? When should the local team as a whole be involved? 

Of course, all of those things will vary depending on the project at hand, your own experience with software development outsourcing, and which kind of services you hire (it’s not the same to outsource your entire development than to augment your staff with a few key roles). You need to take a look at all of those before hiring nearshore developers. 

Use the Most Suitable Communication and Collaboration Tools

We’re living in the golden era of online collaboration. That means you can pick from a wide array of communication tools to keep your project running smoothly. There are two main types of communication platforms you’ll need when nearshoring. The first one is obvious – messaging tools to keep you apprised of everything that’s going on with your project. You can use Slack or Skype (or both) depending on your personal needs and preferences. 

The second type of communication tool you need is an issue tracking and project management platform. Among them, one of the best ones is Jira, which is the perfect fit for large software development projects, because it was designed with the Agile framework in mind. There’s also Trello, a good option for smaller projects. 

You’ll find other options if you explore enough but the key is to find the ones that make the most sense for you strategically and financially. If you’re feeling lost, then trust your software development provider, as nearshore software developers work remotely all the time, so we have a keen eye on detecting which tools are better suited for a particular project or client. 

Take Advantage of Nearshoring Inherent Benefits

We already said that nearshoring is defined by the location of your software development provider. That provides you with several advantages and it’s up to you to make the most of them. Sharing the same or very similar time zones means you can communicate directly with the development team during your working hours. That limits the delays and fosters a quick and efficient communication process.

On the other hand, being close to your nearshore development company means you can arrange in-person meetings to better discuss certain parts of your project. This might feel like an unneeded extra step but it can certainly pay off, especially in larger projects. Meeting your third-party developers can spark innovative ideas and improve your communication. That becomes even more true if you’re just starting your project, as it allows you to have the entire team on the same page without any misalignments in requirements and goals. 

Actively Deactivate Knowledge Silos

Knowledge silos happen when a few people within the same development team have more information than the rest. In other words, some people are more aware of changes, requirements, and information related to the project. That has a negative impact on your productivity and bottom line, as a significant part of the team is missing the big picture.

That’s why you (or the engineering manager) need to communicate proactively to deactivate those knowledge silos as you see them forming. That means that you have to keep everyone on the loop about the things that affect the project, be them changes in requirements, tests feedback, variations in the market, and any other thing that can compromise the development.

To do so, you have to be transparent about the things that happen with the project. Share your thoughts and doubts with the nearshoring team, have a meeting with the whole team to discuss unexpected issues, and send emails to document everything while making sure that all team members have the information they need to succeed. It might feel redundant sometimes, but it’s better to repeat yourself than to suffer from the actions of members unaware of important changes. Naturally, your development provider has to take a lead in this but it’s important for you to pay attention to it. 

Hire the Right Nearshore Development Company

This one is one of the most effective tips here. If you hire an appropriate partner, you’ll be relieved of most of the things we’ve listed here. How so? Because an experienced nearshore partner like BairesDev already has a solid communication process in place to ensure that there aren’t any problems between you and the development company.

Nearshoring will have you collaborating with developers that share a similar cultural background, so seasoned teams won’t have any problems understanding your requirements and accommodating your particular communication needs. In fact, they can provide you with some specific suggestions as to how to better tackle specific issues in the most diverse scenarios.

There are several things you can keep in mind when hiring a nearshore development company, and you can read the most essential in this article

Good Communication Is The Key To Success

Nowadays, resorting to nearshore development is a smart move. It can provide you with high-quality developers to take care of your whole software development lifecycle or specific professionals to fill in your talent gaps. It also grants you access to a wider talent pool, meaning you’ll always get what you’re looking for at very competitive rates. 

However, nearshoring can come with its set of challenges. Communication might be the most important one, as you’ll be collaborating with a team that’s distant from your office. That’s why it’s key to establish good communication practices from the get-go to avoid any issues from popping up down the road. 

The tips listed here will get you very far in that respect. But what will bring you the most benefits is partnering with a company with the level of experience and expertise we have at BairesDev. All those communication practices are part of how we work on a day-to-day basis and are the foundations of our clients’ satisfaction. Contact us to learn how we keep our communications efforts running smoothly!

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