I have to agree that the easiest way to evaluate a potential partner for nearshore software development is to get some CVs of their engineers and to look how senior those people are. But is it the best way? How important are CVs for the success of a partnership? I say less than 25%. Here’s why…
CVs of engineers are either “fine tuned” towards your individual needs by a sales guy before sending or not well maintained at all and the special skill you’re searching for (e.g. WPF) might not be listed there at all although the engineer might have those skills.
Second: Ok, you got a CV, so what? Does it mean that this particular engineer will be available for your project when you are ready to start? Realistically no. Especially today when there’s a high demand and a short supply of engineering services. No successful software services provider from CEE can afford to reserve and block some engineers for you for 3 months.
In other words, look at other characteristics first and do the CV check at a later stage in your buying process.
What other characteristics to look for when outsourcing some R&D capacity
There are far over 5000 companies in CEE that offer various different ways of custom application development services to the DACH market. Each domain (industry, vertical, etc.) has specific challenges, needs and requirements on software development and potential partners.
Here’s a list of some not-so-obvious characteristics you should look at:
- Team Extension. You are a product vendor. You want to extend your existing team with experts from that company rather than to outsource complete products, right?
- BOT Build-Operate-Transfer. There’s typically a point in 2-3 years where you would like to “buy out” the team working for you.
- Leading The Cooperation. Have you done nearshore SW development before? Can you manage a remote team or would you like to have partner that “drives” that cooperation?
- Legacy. Product vendors have legacy code. Is your partner able to willing to work on legacy code or are they specialized on from-scratch developments?
- Maintainability. Clean code and documentation are crucial for product vendors. Do they work a lot with product vendors and do they understand your special needs?
- Engineering Process and Tool Chain. Do you want to add additional complexity by changing your engineering process or switching away from your well-known development tools?
- Company Size. If you need additional 5 engineers you want to choose a partner on eye level. A company with total 10 engineers and a company with 1000 engineers might not be the best fit for you.
- Stability. Average engineers churn rate in CEE is between 10% and 15% but you’ll find companies above and below this average. Ask!
- Potential to Hire. Can they recruit and grow with your needs or do they face similar labor market problems?
Sure, there are several a few things to check and of course also the available skills and expertise. But don’t forget to check those not-so-obvious ones as well. They have most impact on the overall success of your nearshore experience.