Outsourcing Helps Overcome the Challenges of Hiring Remote Development Teams: Here’s How

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COVID-19 accelerated the need for digital transformation. 

We know – we’re tired of hearing this sentence, too. But it’s impossible to begin a conversation on any topic without touching upon the effect of the pandemic on… Well, anything, including hiring in the IT sector. 

With an increasing number of people working from home, employees have a uniquely broad range of workplaces to choose from. In 2022, more than 70% of tech organizations struggled to find the right people to fill the open positions, and without the right team, businesses fail to fully embrace digital transformation and the latest tech. In fact, more than 50% of global organizations reported the skill shortage held them back. Their overall growth and development is slowed, making it challenging to remain competitive. 

Finally, with high employee churn, a ton of money is invested in hiring; money that would otherwise be used to fund more innovative ideas and ventures. 

What causes tech talent shortage?

We took a sneak peek at several major job platforms and noticed a growing demand for software engineers, project managers, QA engineers, and information security analysts. Apparently, it’s an employees’ market, and they are the ones who get to choose their employers, not the other way around.

So what’s turning the tables?

Employees are no longer limited by their location. 

It seems like there’s a plethora of career opportunities to take up everywhere they look. Job offers are flying in from all sides and all parts of the world, and to hire talent for any of the open IT positions, organizations really need to go all out. They have to be open to negotiating and need to get creative when it comes to benefits. In this ecosystem, salaries are taking a back seat, and what often affects a candidate’s final decision is the company culture and commitment to flexible working. 

But it doesn’t end here. Retention, too, has become more difficult, and employers are expected to make extra effort to keep employees who can jump to a more lucrative position much more quickly. 

Cutting-edge technologies replaced positions that required certain low-to-mid-level skills. 

Technological advancements helped companies increase efficiency while lowering overall costs. However, this created a new need for people who know how to work with the new technologies. Unfortunately, the tech education system doesn’t keep pace, and graduates are usually unfamiliar with the latest technologies.  

Employers have high expectations. 

There’s a mismatch between the employer’s expectations and the employee’s level of expertise. Many are still not so eager to hire entry-level employees and would rather work with someone with more years of experience under their belt.

On the other hand, we’re seeing a trend in hiring outside the traditional pool of candidates, that is, candidates who don’t necessarily hold a university degree. They are typically employed in apprenticeship positions from which they get a chance to master the art. Organizations invest in their practical education and, in turn, get a more loyal employee who values the efforts to build them into experts. Such candidates often show greater appreciation for the opportunity they received, feel more valued, and take their roles more seriously.

How to deal with shortages of tech talent

The biggest question on everyone’s mind right now is: How do I find, attract, and then retain new talent?

An organization's approach to bringing in new people is as essential as training and incentivizing existing employees. So before you send out your best headhunter, discuss budgeting limitations with your internal teamsters and partners, the status of ongoing projects, and plans for future ones. This will help evaluate your options and go with the one that delivers the best return on investment.

Ultimately, you can take one of the two roads: 

Hire an in-house team

As one of your potential software development outsourcing partners, we admit to being a bit biased. But that doesn’t mean we’re blind to the advantages of hiring in-house engineers: 

  • you remain in complete control of the team and project at hand
  • day-to-day communication is streamlined
  • in-house developers better comprehend company values, and 
  • they are typically a lot more involved than any external contractor.

So when do you get to the downsides? When you see the amount of resources that go into hiring a new in-house team member – not to mention when you need an entire team!     

You are the one who provides the space, tools, and equipment, the one who deals with the tedious accounting and employment activities, resolves disputes, and so much more. And for what – only to fire some (or all) team members once they complete their tasks? Sure, you can keep them benched until new opportunities arise, but it is still going to take a toll on the company budget. 

Outsource to a dedicated team

For many organizations, outsourcing was the answer to those questions and challenges.

Hiring a remote dedicated software development team means finding an entire group of professionals to work on your project full-time and remain available for updates and maintenance. A dedicated team can include any role: front and back-end software developer, UX/UI designers, PMs, business analysis, and anyone else necessary to complete the project.

Outsourcing to a dedicated team is also a lot simpler than looking for an in-house one. There’s no need to interview multiple candidates, or handle HR compliance issues, payroll, taxes, and benefits; you don’t have to deal with potential firing or managing everyone’s day-to-day activities. It also comes with added flexibility since you can scale up or down based on project needs. 

What is more, unlike several individuals you brought in a week ago, dedicated teams work like well-oiled machines. They’ve collaborated on multiple projects before and know the dynamic necessary to deliver high-quality digital products.

Outsourcing gained popularity on a global scale

In recent years, software development outsourcing has proved to be a much more efficient and cost-effective way of supplementing talent shortages. There’s an array of possibilities, but know that choosing the outsourcing destination is the game of balancing the costs, available skills, local laws, and regulations. It would help if you also thought about the possible language and cultural barriers and whether real-time collaboration is crucial for project completion. 

Just pick a destination 10 time zones away, and you’re in for a real treat. Fortunately, outsourcing is spread across all continents today, and you can take your pick of the litter. It boils down to weighing the pros and cons of each location; just make sure you set your priorities upfront and then go with the one that’s the best match. 

We’ve already covered some of the best offshoring destinations for software development, which should help you narrow down your decision. Once you get a clearer picture of where you want to drop your anchor, the search for available talent can begin. 

Things to keep in mind when choosing an outsourcing partner

Look for a team that will understand your vision and translate it into the software you’re building. 

But before you start: we’ve seen from first-hand experience what happens with projects that lack precisely defined business goals. Think about all the features you want and need to build, as this will indicate the level of seniority and specific skill set you should seek. When your goals are outlined, and you flesh out the idea to the best of your abilities, create a Request for Proposal (RFP) to help a potential partner provide a more accurate quote for their services.

With this, you can start listing potential partners, reviewing their websites, references, portfolios, and studying reviews on 3rd-party sites like Clutch or G2.

What kind of expectations should you set for the outsourcing partner?

Streamlined communication

Agreeing on the conditions and work dynamics from the get-go is crucial. Every individual’s role on the team has to be clearly defined so that they understand what is expected of them and how they are contributing to the project.

You should also establish guidelines to cover coding standards, data security practices, storage options, and ways to protect vulnerable data. To ensure everyone is on board with project specifications, we recommend laying it all out in an official partnership agreement and sharing it with everyone involved, or at least team leads. But to guarantee all goes as planned long-term, the best practice is to schedule regular daily, weekly, and monthly meetings to discuss individual progress.  

Legal documentation 

As we mentioned in the previous paragraph, an outsourcing partnership agreement is the best way to legally specify the organization's and outsourcing partner’s rights, roles, and responsibilities. It summarizes project details, like deadlines, features, risks, remedies, price, payment methods, and other critical information necessary to complete the project and protect the interests of both parties.

Each party's legal team can draw up any agreement you deem necessary; however, the following are commonly put in place to ensure a transparent and trustworthy outsourcing business relationship:

  • A Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) protects information from being disclosed to a 3rd party not covered by the agreement. 
  • Master Service Agreement (MSA) covers the provision of services, intellectual property rights, definition of confidential information, liability, warranties, compensation rules in case of breach, and severability clause. 
  • Statement of Work (SOW) describes project details, stages, criteria, features, risks, a list of devices to use, and a schedule of development procedures. 
  • Service-Level Agreement (SLA) specifies the services the outsourcing partner is expected to provide.  

Live onboarding

If you’re searching for someone to commit to you long-term, we recommend you ask them if they would be interested in committing to live onboarding. 

Sure, asynchronous onboarding processes are better suited when starting with a remote team, especially one working in a different time zone. They receive live training videos and a checklist of activities to complete in their own time. But if they have any questions, they have to wait for the response.

That is why we believe live onboarding produces much better results. It is synchronous, real-time communication with the organization’s managers, training facilitators, and in-house team members. It allows us to connect with new peers and remote leaders in person, build stronger relationships, and better understand their mission. Live onboarding also delivers prompt feedback regarding anything – processes, job priorities, concerns, growth opportunities, and more.  

Trial period 

The screening process is the most challenging part of hiring remote developers, as they are often unable to pay a visit to your offices.  

When that is the case, a live (online) interview is a good way to meet a potential partner. You get to ask key questions and not just evaluate their responses but the way they respond to those questions. Assess their communication skills, rapport, conversation flow, their big-picture understanding of what you wish to accomplish, and the methodologies they practice.  

This is followed by a tech interview, which includes an exam that helps you test the candidate's technical knowledge. Still, there’s only so much you can learn about a person from just a few interviews, especially when conducted online. 

A trial period is the best way to see whether you made a good judgment call, as their analytical skills and code quality will become apparent in the first 3 months (sometimes even after a few weeks). It enables both parties to see whether this partnership works for them. 

Just ensure the project pipeline and workflows are organized so additional team members can be included during the trial period. Because it is one of the most significant benefits of hiring a remote development team, we advise you to put the ease of scaling to the test in the earliest stages, before making official long-term commitments.

Bottom line

The best outsourcing partner is someone who is ready to guarantee for their team. This ensures that the outsourced team possesses the necessary skills and expertise to meet the desired objectives.

Outsourcing can also take the hiring and firing off your plate, as the outsourcing partner deals with the intricacies of the unavoidable process. This approach reduces risks and expenses associated with recruitment, as the partner assumes responsibility for assembling a qualified team. This becomes especially significant in the current landscape, where massive layoffs are prevalent. By partnering with an outsourcing provider, the process of downsizing becomes more manageable and streamlined.

Photo by Surface on Unsplash

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