Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Best Practices in the IT Industry: Nearshoring

By: Heather Presley, Unosquare


Put yourself in this scenario: You are the CEO of a big software development company with development teams in the United States, but you have been experiencing high turnover of employees and cannot fill your open positions. This turnover is crippling your ability to deliver quality products to your clients, making your business unsuccessful. What do you do?

One of the areas to consider changing things up a bit, is location. No, not India, we are talking a lot closer, just south of the border. Your first thought is most likely, “Mexico is too dangerous”, but that is not the case. A large number of cities in Mexico are actually safer than many places in the United States. Once you finish debunking stereotypical assumptions about Mexico, we have some advice on why you should consider the practice of nearshoring. Here are some best practices to follow in the IT service industry when considering outsourcing to Latin American companies.

1.     Bilingual Employees

Hiring developers from another country is easy, but hiring developers that can actually talk to your end-users is key. This is where hiring from the vast pool of Latin American developers comes into play. The talent pool in the Latin American IT industry is huge, but not everyone has had the opportunity to learn English. Finding that talent is crucial and will pay off tenfold. Latin American consultants are also culturally proactive in expressing fresh ideas, and will chime in when a development iteration may steer off in the wrong direction.  

This openness and ability to speak the same language creates the opportunity for a personal friendship between engineer and client, strengthening the entire relationship.  

2.     Avoiding Traditional Leadership Practices

This practice applies to criteria that companies should follow in a development workspace. When considering outsourcing to Latin American companies, make sure that they have established a “Silicon Valley” type of culture. Creating an environment that encourages freedom and creativity for employees is extremely important. In order to have low attrition rates in a development culture, you have to be flexible with management techniques. Some best leadership practices for IT companies to follow are:

       ·       An anti-micromanagement culture.
·       Flexibility and allowing employees to work by goals, not hours is key.
·       Provide a nice work environment and make the office an enjoyable place to be. A game room is a great way for employees to stretch their legs and give their brains a chance to relax. Encourage break time, it will make your employees feel more at home and less in a cube farm.
·       Promotion of a healthy work-life balance.
·       Having a sense of community within a company. Weekly events such as “Beer Friday” and internal holiday parties strengthens relationships between colleagues and clients.
·       Trust your development team! (Hopefully) they know what they are doing better than you would, so lean on their knowledge and trust that they are getting the job done right.  

3.     Time Zone

Time zone is one of the most important factors to consider when outsourcing development teams to another country. At 8am in Massachusetts, it is 5:30pm in India and it is probably safe to say that no one is in the office. Hiring a development team located in Mexico does not pose a great risk when it comes down to time zone and location. Most of Mexico is on Central Standard, which is within an hour or two, if not the same time as a lot of cities in the United States.

Ease of travel between customer and provider to and from Mexico is also an important factor. Development teams can work onsite at client locations if they need to, all it takes is a quick plane ride. This travel works the same way for clients flying to Mexico, not to mention the added benefit of enjoying a margarita in the middle of the week from the country where all tequila is made.

The practice of nearshoring to Latin American companies is beneficial in more than three areas of business, but the above should be enough to get your mind flowing. If after reading this wonderfully crafted article you are still not convinced, there is a very informative book on the topic available on Amazon. “Nearshoring to Latin America” written by Mike Barrett, provides extra insight for executives that are considering this solution. 

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