It’s a question that our team faces often: “Why is it better to work with your team, when I could work with an offshore team?” We understand why offshore teams seem attractive for the labor and time-intensive work done at a lower cost. What should be taken into account, however, are all the advantages to using an onshore team. We often work with clients to undertake and rectify “rescue” projects that, through working with offshore teams, have not gone as expected or desired. Through launching many products over the years, we have come to find that there are 4 major areas where onshore teams prove their worth:
Leadership vs. Execution
It’s true that offshore developer teams excel at building to specification. If you deliver a project to an offshore team with details nailed down, then execution is not typically a problem. However, if your team has expectations surrounding leadership, innovation, and most importantly–strategy, it is worth connecting with an onshore team that has the bandwidth to guide you.
Timelines can be sensitive and so communication is key especially when there are dependencies or changes. When it comes to collaborating with an offshore team, there are two main aspects to consider that contribute to optimal communication. One factor is time zones, which affect the quality and frequency of feedback cycles. The other factor is language barriers. When teams are communicating about development or other important details, sensitive details may get lost in translation. As a result, companies that work with offshore teams typically spend 2-3x more time on communication and documentation.
Engineering & Design
Onshore teams are well-versed in user experience (UX) disciplines and their implementations, which go hand-in-hand with good development. While offshore teams boast great engineering, the accompanying design can be incongruous and out of line with design best practices. If you’re interested in a holistic approach, it may be best to approach an onshore team that can implement great engineering with an effective user experience design. We find the most successful products thrive with both of these elements working in tandem.
Staying up-to-date on the latest usability testing methods, best practices, and tools is a time and detail intensive task that most offshore teams don’t allocate time for. This may save money but in the end leads to a poor user experience with unnecessary functionalities. Going with an onshore team allows the dedication of the time and attention your projects deserve.
In the end, while an offshore team may save you money in the short-term, onshore teams can help save time through effective communication, provide a holistic design and development experience, and ensure usability best practices. Most importantly, onshore teams have the ability to provide strategic consulting and guidance to ensure a competitive advantage for your product and long-term impact. If you’re interested in learning what we could do to help your team gain such an advantage, get in touch!