Most small enterprises find it extremely challenging to design and build new digital products due to time, resources, financial constraints. Moreover, the idea of developing a fully-constituted in-house can be expensive especially when the recruitment costs are factored in. In such a scenario, the next best option could be finding a front end developer to build a digital product on your behalf.
But the biggest questions are…
How do you do it properly? What are the merits and demerits? And lastly, what are the best practices when nearshoring your development project?
In this article, we are going to attempt to answer all these questions. And while at it, we are going to put emphasis on the importance of communication as well as give you tips for effective communication in a nearshore working arrangement.
Basically, nearshoring means a company transferring its business operations to a nearby country. One of the biggest differentiating attributes of nearshoring from other outsourcing models is that the service provider and the outsourcing company has to be located within the same geographical region.
So, what is nearshore front-end development?
As you may have already rightly guessed, nearshore front-end development entails hiring a foreign front end development company within the same region to help align visual and interactive elements of a web app, as well as ensure that the apps’ client-side is optimized for efficiency.
Front-end developers are usually supported by back-end web developers to integrate their work on the front-end of a web application.
The growth of nearshoring has largely been driven by different dynamics including cost economics, time zone convenience and overall control of the project. However, the biggest and probably the most important aspect that has made outsourcing the new normal is the need to recruit highly qualified programmers.
Source: CIO Insight
According to a survey report by Gartner, 89% of CIOs indicated that they were facing difficulties in finding tech talent. The same report estimates that more than 1 million software development-related jobs will remain unfilled in 2020.
Worse still, the total global spending of the enterprise software market has continued to grow, creating an even higher demand for developers. According to Gartner, the global enterprise software spending grew by 8.5% to reach $453 billion in 2019, and it is forecasted to see a 10.5% growth between now and 2021.
Another report by Statista has forecasted that the entire enterprise software market will grow to reach a whopping $503 billion in 2020, with the amount expected to reach $556 billion by 2021.
The net effect of strong demand for front-end developers and increased spending on software solutions has seen companies gravitate towards nearshoring to develop innovative solutions and to sustain their growth strategies.
There are many benefits of working with a nearshore development team such as not having to go through countless front end developer resumes. However, the full potential of nearshoring can only be realized in complex and innovative development projects that call for a dedicated team with specialized skills working closely with the client.
One of the biggest advantages of nearshoring is its cost-effectiveness. For instance, a German company looking to nearshore would typically be better off working with a service provider in Eastern Europe. This would be cost-effective in terms of shared time zones, proper task management, and low senior front end developer salary to pay, considering the rates are relatively lower compared to other regions. Additionally, in case you need to conduct face-to-face meetings, flight costs within Europe are low, making it fast and cost-effective to travel.
Another big advantage of nearshoring is the shared legal environment and jurisdiction. For instance, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union applies to all member states, and nearshoring in such an environment means that conflicts can be easily resolved without having to go through intricate international legal systems.
Ultimately, even if the sole purpose of nearshoring is paying the lowest front end developer hourly rate, it also helps eliminate multiple other problems as indicated above.
If you enjoy watching Superbowl matches, it is safe to say that you’re familiar with what constitutes a great team. As a business owner, effectively creating your nearshore software development team can make or break your project.
Below are some of the factors to take into consideration when putting together a front end developer outsource team:
When building a front-end development team, it is important to keep the number of team members as small as possible. This is because a large team increases potential conflicts, which can affect overall productivity.
If you are to hit the sweet productivity spot, your Scrum team should have between 7-10 members: A Project Manager, a Visual Designer, a UI/Interaction Designer, a Front-End Developer, a Back-End Developer, and 2-3 QA engineers.
Vague roles and responsibilities can create unnecessary noise and friction between members, hence decreasing their overall productivity. To avoid this, you need to know the skills needed for the project, and then identify individuals with matching skills.
Another important aspect of building a software development team is the team’s development methodology. This is important as it can greatly affect the team’s performance and their ability to coordinate the project. For this, you need to agree on a methodology that helps to effectively manage both inter and intra-team relationships.
Without methodical, structured communication, individual team members working in small isolated silos may find it hard to paint a clear picture of the entire project. As a result, aligning the different sections of the website may prove a headache as well as takes more time for team members to understand the small moving parts of the project.
To avoid all these potential problems, you should explicitly emphasize the importance of communication from the onset to minimize the risk of miscommunication.
Below are 8 tips of effective communication with your nearshoring team:
When interacting with team members via phone, it's hard to see their faces and read their body language, which can breed mistrust. For this reason, complementing the traditional messaging apps and emails with regular video conferences allows team members to develop and nurture relationships, as well as develop trust.
Remote teams don’t have the luxury of bonding over lunch breaks. As the project owner, you need to devise creative ways to connect, inspire, and motivate team members.
One of the best disruptive kindness for building a killer nearshore team is having TGIF meetings where team members can share work-related inspirational stories.
Most remote teams use multiple, disjointed, and insecure communication tools like text, Skype and Facebook messenger, to coordinate their projects. The only problem with this is that it makes project management a nightmare, not forgetting the risk of losing information.
However, investing in a customized remote communication and project management platform ensures the security of your information, while the centralized information repository makes collaboration easy.
Having a clear guideline on how, when, and which communication tools team members use is important. Constantly sending project notifications via chat can be distracting and counterproductive. Moreover, important project information can be lost in the long chat threads.
As a general rule of thumb, emails are excellent tools for sending information, while scheduled calls can be used in brainstorming and exchanging of energetic ideas.
When communicating digitally, it can be hard to establish what particular team members are doing at that moment. They could be giving a simple “Yes” answer to a serious query without elaborating because they are occupied. Without knowing their prevailing circumstances, it could appear that they don't care, while in the real sense, they could just be running to catch a train.
To avoid build resentment and misunderstandings, always encourage your team members to avoid making assumptions.
Micromanaging your project could ultimately lead to a static end product due to monotonous ideas. If you are the project manager, try to manage your project using objectives by giving team members goals to hit and leaving them to figure out the smaller moving parts on their own. This will not only make project management easy but also allow them to exercise their creativity, which will be reflected in your end-product.
Unlike emails, having a shared calendar helps keep every team member updated on what’s on the schedule. It also helps in eliminating overlapping tasks as it shows who is doing what at a particular time.
Last but certainly not least, remember to over-communicate with your team members. Whether you are travelling out of town, need something delivered beforehand or even want a certain code amended, over-communicating helps eliminate conflicts and avoid surprises.
Today, any business looking to remain competitive needs to create web applications that are intuitive, customer-concentric, and offer excellent user experience. Unfortunately, the deeply-rooted demand-exceeds-supply argument of front-end developers has made it sourcing for qualified programmers extremely hard.
Luckily, nearshoring allows business owners to easily circumvent this problem.
With that said, if this hiring model is to be successful, the two parties need to be proactive by ensuring they are in constant communication with each other. Sustained communication helps improve productivity, efficiency, and most importantly, allows team members to work alongside each other to achieve a common goal.