For many years I “fought the good fight” of an American web developer arguing against offshoring development projects to the lowest bidder in Pakistan, India, or Sri Lanka. I trotted out all the facts: Offshore web development projects…
- have higher failure rates
- cost more in the long term
- require a higher level of hand-holding
- result in sub-par end products
And I was right. These are true statements that I’ve seen proven over and over again in my own experience and, unfortunately, that of my clients.
But, it’s become clear in recent years that my attitude toward offshore web development was too broad and all-encompassing.
The truth is, there are a large number of highly talented, resourceful, and reliable web developers in countries outside the United States who have proven their ability to consistently produce the kind of high-quality work I would be proud to stake my reputation on.
That’s why I started hiring them.
My Double Life as an American Web Developer with Offshore Team Members.
It almost sounds scandalous put like that, and frankly that’s how it felt at the beginning.
Here I was, an outspoken advocate of keeping web development in-country because working with offshore developers was so risky, and yet I was working with offshore developers myself!
But here’s the difference, (and it’s key to my more balanced view on the subject today):
It’s a web developer’s skill and talent that matters, and an ability to communicate clearly allows that skill and talent to shine through most effectively. So, I realized if I could locate skilled and talented offshore web developers who were able to clearly communicate, I could offer my clients the best of both worlds: award-winning development quality at a lower overall price.
So that’s what I did.
Today, the majority of my development team lives outside the United States. I pay them an excellent wage because they’re among the best developers I’ve ever worked with and I want to keep them happy. But it’s still a fraction of what it would cost to have a developer from the States filling their shoes.
My small in-house team and I handle all direct communication with our clients, so language never gets in the way of clear communications, but my offshore team has proven themselves more than capable of understanding and delivering even the most complex of project requirements flawlessly.
So, in short, I’ve changed my mind when it comes to offshoring web development.
It’s still risky, sure. Of course, there are plenty of poor web developers living in the US too. But I know from my own experience that it’s not where a developer lives that determines their skill level.
My team of specially selected offshore developers allows me to offer my clients a lower cost with no reduction in value, and that’s a win-win for everyone involved.