To recap, those seven risks are:
Risk 1: High Hourly Cost
Risk 2: Time Zone Differences
Risk 3: Not Agile Enough
Risk 4: Language Barriers
Risk 5: Culture Barriers
Risk 6: Knowledge Transfer
Risk 7: Questionable Code Quality
Today, we’re going to discuss the 4th risk of outsourcing your software development: the language barriers.
While language differences are not a problem for onshore outsourcing, it’s a considerable obstacle for many organizations who want to make the switch to outsourcing or outstaffing. They’re afraid that too many things will be “lost in translation” to justify the costs.
The Problem With Traditional Offshore Outsourcing
While we serve clients using offshore outsourced resources, we recognize that the most agile, affordable, and culturally aligned alternative to onshore staffing is nearshore outsourcing.
That’s because there are some obstacles that are just plain difficult to overcome when using offshore outsourced developers and resources:
- Communication is delayed – literally. Asynchronous communication is part of working remotely, however that lag is considerable when you’re using offshore resources in Eastern Europe or Asia. Differences in time zone can mean days of delays back and forth by the time everyone’s messages reach everyone else.
- Communication doesn’t “translate”. Unfortunately, some things truly are lost in translation. And if your outsourced team doesn’t have a good grasp of English – and if your internal team can’t bridge the gap well or doesn’t have patience – then there’s bound to be problems.
- What does translate is affected by medium. Email, slack, and other text-based communication only goes so far. Nuance gleaned by in-person or video communication quickly disappears when replaced by text messages. Meaning and emotion can get misconstrued quickly, leaving teams feeling unnecessarily frustrated.
The result of all of this? Delays, incorrect work products, and missed deadlines and a whole bunch of frustration for everyone on the team. Not to mention a lack of documentation which is so important for project success.
Four Ways to Mitigate the Language Barriers in Outsourcing
There are a few tried-and-true ways to mitigate the language barrier between your offshore outsourced team and your internal team. Here’s how to do it:
- Get on video when possible. Written communication can be hard even for native English speakers. When possible, meet via Zoom, Teams, or other video conferencing tools to communicate “face to face”.
- Document, document, document. Clear, explicit requirements and documentation will go a long way toward improving documentation. That’s because you can be very clear in what you want achieved, when you need it done, and how the team should build.
- Invest in cultural training for your in-house team. Internal teams have more patience for cultural and linguistic barriers when they understand the people on the other side of the screen. Take some time to educate your team on where your outsourced team is from, what their part of the world is like, and what makes their culture unique.
- Learn more about your team. Your outsourced development team members are people, too. They have extensive experience, qualifications, and skills. Take some time to learn more about them, which in turn will help build rapport and ease communication difficulties.
With our nearshore development teams in Mexico City and Guadalajara, this isn’t a problem.
How Aptude Helps
Our Aptude nearshore developers…
- Work in US time zones, just like you do
- Sleep when you do – and are awake when you do
- Respond to meeting requests, answer questions, and move stories through during your daytime hours
- Respond to new work assigned the same day, rather than a day later
- Understand English and American culture, leading to better communication and less work being “lost in translation”
- Work underneath the careful eye of our in-house “Project Lead” who helps handle documentation, deadlines, expectations, and communication
As a result, your project starts agile and stays agile, because your entire team is working in a more or less synchronous fashion with you, even while being remote.
Become Your Project’s Superhero
When you use Aptude’s Nearshore Developers, you’ll be able to move forward with confidence.
You’ll get a team of experienced developers working under very experienced Project Leads and SMEs. Our Python Center of Excellence in Mexico City is filled with developers who know Data Science, Big Data, and Full Stack development very well.
Cost Savings. You’ll get development work done for as little as $38 an hour in US time zones
Agile First. You’ll get a team very adept at working within agile frameworks and timeframes
Remote Always. Our team knows how to work well remotely. Their workspace, routine, and communication patterns enable remote work with high productivity.
We flex with you. You can ramp up as needed … and ramp down just as quickly. So if you need to move faster to meet deadlines, you can ramp up with us. And if you need to scale down in response to slowdowns or budget changes, you can ramp down.
Complex is no problem. Our project team is highly experienced in running complex projects, and can support you in staying within scope and budget.