Should we take our software development off shore?

We get this question asked in one form or another at least twice a month. The perception and idea is that you can have your software app developed for less money.  Great idea, right? We all want to save money. However, is off shoring your software development a viable option?

Some of our customers have tried off shore development.  The typical experience has followed along these lines:

  • A client comes to us to a bid a project
  • At the same time they bid the same project with an off shore company
  • Due to price differences of going off shore they opt to go with the cheaper option
  • A year to a year and half later that same client comes back to us to help them finish the project, revamp the project or completely rebuild the project.

When we first launched Zenware we even undertook software projects with three different off shore development companies at the requests of two customers.

We found, like our now customers, that off shoring development did not work.  Why didn’t it work?  We observed and experienced the following:

  • Any costs savings were off set by additional project management time
  • Developers were usually swapped out on projects with no notice
  • Junior developers were usually put on projects not seasoned more experienced programmers
  • The quality of the code was not up to par.
  • Code was not documented so that other developers could come in behind them or work with them.
  • Some of our customers reported they had a challenge communicating effectively.
  • One customer reported, “With offshoring, we couldn’t seem to gel as a team to really build momentum on our project. It always seemed to be us and them”

Now the question then becomes can and should you outsource your development work. That depends. Can you find a development partner that can become an extension of your team? This model tends to be more costly in the short-term but significantly more effective and cost efficient over the long term.

Outsourcing – the difference and advantage

  • As an extension of you, an outsourcing team understands the big picture of how the software fits your strategic goals. They can make recommendations and help you build the best roadmap for your software
  • Weekly meetings and releases to demonstrate and review progress.  This is critically important to keep everyone on tasks and ensure your software is progressing.
  • Set Priorities weekly meetings provide a measure of accountability to keep the project on track and allows you to set priorities based on weekly reviews or a strategic need.
  • Dedicated resources that are assigned to your project.  Yes they may work on other projects but schedules are planned to ensure they can move in and out of projects effectively without losing momentum.  Obviously if you are more sporadic in development cycles “staying fresh” on your project can be more challenging.
  • Always two people on a project. We find that having a minimum of two people on a project prevents developers from going down a rabbit hole.  Working together developers can bounce ideas off each other. They can challenge each other’s ideas to ensure they are developing the right solution.

In essence that is exactly what we strive to do at Zenware. If you’d like to explore the difference give us a shout at

Jody Sedrick, CEO
Follow me on Twitter: @jodysedrick and @zenwareinc
LinkedIn Profile: Jodysedrick

Zenware Inc. is a Boise Idaho based company that specializes In custom mobile software development, custom iOS development, custom Android development, iPad software development, iPhone software development, custom web development, web hosting and SaaS based work order management software. We also have a powerful line up of off-the-shelf mobile cloud solutions; RoadFS, Harvest Bin™ and ZWarehouse