Developers · Software

Outsourced Development

David Albert

February 7th, 2014

Anyone know of any high quality dev shops in countries with cheap labour? I am looking to have a CTO in north america manage technology, but outsource a lot of the dev work. Any recommendations?

Michael Brill Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products

February 7th, 2014

I'm sort of looking for the opposite. I've got a great engineering team and just looking to outsource a cheap CEO that's good.

David Crooke Serial entrepreneur and CTO

February 7th, 2014

Some thoughts: 1. If you find a big believer in outsourcing / offshoring, they are not a techie, they have an MBA and a job title like CFO. Like government software contracts, outsourcing is usually a failure. But paying $15/hr for skills that cost $75/hr in he USA looks great on paper, but software engineering is not ditch digging and labor is not fungible. There is no free lunch here. 2. "Cheap labor" is not desirable for Intellectual Property - unless you plan to throw the software away in 12 months and replace it with something solid, to be blunt I think you're going at it wrong. 3. The ONLY way development in India / Bangladesh / China / Vietnam works is to send the entire project there long term, with product managers, etc. and have fairly slow and long term interactions with the USA. Trying to manage a dev team there from here on a daily basis will fail or cost you extra compared to doing things in house. Not suitable for a startup. 4. OTOH, India is great for low skill "click the mouse" QA performed overnight on daily software builds created here, and the time difference is an asset. 5. Eastern Europe works pretty well if you get the right people, but you're at the $35-$40/hr mark. I've worked with teams in Kiev (not bad) and Brno (excellent). In addition to much less of a culture and language gap, you get some workday overlap. I'd imagine Krakow to be similar, but I've only been there on vacation :) 6. By far the best outsource experience I've had was getting high end QA (test automation development) done in Costa Rica. They're in Central time, they have great Comp Sci educations from US professors, speak American English with American accents and idioms, etc. with pricing comparable to Eastern Europe. 7. When looking at other people's stories, be careful of the distinction between outsource (project based) and offshore (dedicated team). The latter has much more buy in and commitment from the staff. 8. Allow for a much longer ramp up time than if using people in the USA. Cheers Dave

Michael Brill Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products

February 7th, 2014

BTW, my previous post was a tongue-in-cheek slightly passive-aggressive response to what I consider a pretty insensitive post. Keep in mind that half of the members of FD are engineers. Although I have no issue with your goal per se (I also offshore some development), you probably want to be aware that it won't be well-received by the members that are probably in the best position to provide valuable advice. Sorry for being preachy but for some reason this one irked me more than most.
 

Anonymous

February 7th, 2014

Check out Koombea - they are a great outsourced development firm with resources in Colombia, which is on east coast time, so the time difference is manageable.

Joanan Hernandez CEO & Founder at Mollejuo

February 7th, 2014

Hello David,

We've been approached by two different companies who offer these types of services. Both of them have programmers in Ukraine, which is not doing very well at the moment, as you might know.

As an example, there's one popular AR app called Layar, which in turn is our current AR engine. Well, Layar is an start-up from the Netherlands, but some of the programming of it happens in Ukraine. A similar history happened with Skype. The business (idea) leads were from Denmark and Sweden, but the coding happened in Estonia, still is today! Even after Microsoft bought it.

In our case, sometimes it have been difficult to find developers (for many reasons), we haven't used the services offered by these outsourcing companies, thus we can't say weather they're good or not. I can say the prices they offered were very competitive, almost half for a senior programmer, or so they say is senior :-P

Check them out, Daxx is located in the Netherlands, and Ciklum is located in London. Both have their assembly lines in Ukraine.

If you wish, you can contact me directly and I can redirect you.

Cheers!

Mike Stankavich

February 7th, 2014

The other thing you could do is look for a CTO who has an interest in traveling and/or expat work to colocate with your dev team. I'd be up for that, but unless there's a chunk of cash involved I would need to defer until next year.

Brian McConnell

February 7th, 2014

You get what you pay for. If you want poorly written and poorly tested software, combined with midnight conference calls made worse by language barrier issues, then you can't go wrong by offshoring development to a low cost foreign country. There are plenty of skilled developers in low cost parts of the US and Canada. So if you're outsourcing, I'd look first for development shops and freelancers in the US. Interesting software jobs are hard to find outside of major tech centers, so if what you're working on is interesting, you should be able to find people who can help you build it. My $0.02

Travis Workman Founder/President at Cognisoft

February 7th, 2014

David - I specialize in this. I would be happy to discuss this with you along with giving you. My honest recommendation is to hire them yourself rather than use a firm out there. Have the CTO manage them you will save a bundle of money doing it this way. Thanks

David Albert

February 7th, 2014

Thanks the reply. I would be happy to chat and learn more. Do you have any time now? Alternatively, I am fairly flexible on Monday. Cheers, Dave

Dhruv Vasishtha Product Management at Medidata Solutions

February 7th, 2014

Check out funkitech on elance, they were helpful and with a CTO managing them they should be good.