For the last several years, there has been an increase in the amount of American organizations working with offshore companies. Whether for customer service or some kind of development project, offshore teams are often able to do more with less. Unfortunately, along with this increase in outsourcing there has been a slew of articles fighting against offshore software development.

As a global mobile app and software development company, we find that while there are some fair points made in these critiques, most often they end up spreading myths that lead consumers to have less faith in the offshoring process. In an effort to help clear the air, we have decided to take a look at 5 common misconceptions and see if they hold their weight. Let’s get started.

offshore software development

What is offshore software development?

However, before we dive into the Mythbusting, we should review exactly what we mean when we talk about offshore software development. Simply put, offshoring is the practice of supplementing or replacing an in-house development team with an overseas one. And while you may have heard of outsourced app developers, offshoring is slightly different in that you often enter into a long-term contract beyond the initial project.

Some benefits of choosing offshore software development are obvious, such as reduced costs and flexibility. Others are less apparent, like working with experts in the field and allowing your staff to focus on core business functions. Along with this, there are some clear disadvantages of offshore software development which we will cover in more detail next.

Common misconceptions

Now, with that out of the way we can take a closer look at myths you may have seen online in the last few years. Like all myths, there is truth to each of the following misconceptions. That being said, unless you know the full story, they can be very misleading. Our hope here is to clear things up by providing a large picture so that you can make the best decision for your company.

Myth #1: Offshoring development takes away jobs

The first myth that you will often see talked about online is that offshore software development takes jobs away from U.S. based developers. While it is technically true that offshoring adds jobs in other countries, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Often these positions are supplementary in nature and rather than replacing jobs, they allow the core part of your team to focus on more pressing issues.

For example, imagine that a team of developers is working on a mobile application that has a set list of tasks they need to accomplish. Initially, a lot of these tasks will be laying the groundwork for the app and getting an MVP built, with items like UI/UX design coming later.

Consider how much more efficient this same project would be if the offshore team were able to focus on the menial tasks, allowing the core team to devote their time to fully building out the design. Not only will this save time, but the end product will be higher quality. Instead of taking jobs, offshore projects are equally capable in creating them.

Myth #2: Outsourced projects are prone to poor results

The next common myth about offshore development is that outsourced projects are prone to poor results. While we obviously can’t speak for everyone, there is no defining feature of outsourcing that would lead more projects to fail. Often what this translates to is a breakdown in communication between teams more than anything. Thankfully, this is something we can address.

Since offshore teams are potentially in other time zones, speak other languages, and come from different cultures, communication needs to be your main priority. The breakdown typically occurs due to resistance from the client, rather than a failing on the part of the development team. Make sure you are ready for this by reviewing our guide to outsourcing best practices.

Myth #3: The cost of an offshore team doesn’t make long-term sense

While many see the lower costs of offshore software development as a plus, some believe that outsourcing doesn’t make long-term financial sense. Although it may be true that delayed or extended development projects might take a larger budget than expected, often the alternatives options require even more significant investment.

For example, say that you decided against outsourcing your software development project and choose to work with an inside team. Now, unless you already have a development staff, this would require hiring employees, paying them a salary, and all that comes with it. When you compare this with working with an offshore team that has a set budget and timeline, you can begin to better understand the cost breakdown.

Ultimately, unless you plan on developing multiple software platforms underneath your own company, it doesn’t make much sense to hire an entire development staff. A good middle ground would be having someone to handle software maintenance and projects, while offshoring the rest of the team as you need them.

Myth #4: Outsourced software development is less secure

In today’s technology market, security and discretion are main priorities, both for the protection of the users as well as the development company. Thankfully, there are already several tools on the market focused on attacking this challenge, making it easier for people like us to do our jobs. However, there is still a prevalent myth that working with offshore software developers is somehow less secure than other alternatives.

Again, while there is a bit of truth in this statement and you can never be too careful when it comes to security, working with an offshore team is just as secure as any other form of development. In fact, one could make the argument that since offshore developers are more concerned with taking steps to keep their work under lock and key that they are even more secure.

Myth #5: Offshore projects end upon software release

The last myth we will attempt to bust this time is that offshore projects end upon the release of the software. While it is true that some companies will enter into a contract with you until the completion of your project, this is by no means that standard. In fact, we would not recommend working with any team that tells you they won’t work longer than the initial release, as that is often only the middle of the work that will be done.

Instead, if you know that you will want to work with a team beyond the release of the product, tell them upfront. Offshore teams want your product to be as successful as possible, considering it is their work, and any effort to help them see the process through should be welcomed. Simply put: if you don’t want someone to leave you with your product, tell them right away.

Taking offshore development to the next level

As you can see, with any complex process like offshore software development, there are plenty of chances for things to be lost in translation and falsehoods to be spread. However, if you are able to be transparent with your team and honest about your expectations, most of these so called ‘barrier’s will fall away.

In order to truly take your offshore development to the next level, make sure you are working with a team that values the same things you do. Be upfront about your needs and unless they are being met, you should find someone else. On the other hand, once you find a team that will, you should hold onto them and see what they can do.