How to Use an Offshore Java Team

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As a Java programmer with over 14 years of experience, I have some helpful advice for those looking for programmers, ESPECIALLY offshore firms.  Hiring an offshore team may appear less expensive in the short term, but you can pay dearly if not managed correctly.

My advice if you need a programming team:

  1. Just like you would not buy a car before you take it to a mechanic, I strongly suggest hiring a US architect as your advocate, to review what they are doing for you as you go.   Without the technical skill here in the US that can represent you, there are too many things that can go wrong without some representative.
  2. If the project is longer then a few days, insist the programmer give you a working demo at least every week to ensure they are on the right track.
  3. Just because they are a programmer, don’t assume they know what want. There are a hundred ways of doing each anything, so give them very detailed instructions (a napkin drawing is fine, but be very detailed).
  4. Agree up front that they won’t be paid until the code has been tested thoroughly and they show you it works, preferably in your environment.
  5. Agree that they must provide the code to you in the end, and again, have a trusted US programmer review it, (and please DON’T wait until the project is over.
  6. Never, ever let the offshore team make technical decisions without onshore architectural oversight.  When developing software, decisions are made on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis.  A wrong choice will cost you in the future.

Again, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to hire a US programmer/architect to assist you along this process to avoid these pitfalls.

Software development can be very expensive, especially if you build it twice.

Unfortunately, I have seen some people succeed using offshore contractors, but you must do it the right way.

By the way we follow these principles and are experts at:

  • Java Architecture oversight.
  • Daily stand up meetings.
  • Accountability and Weekly Code Reviews.

If you follow these techniques, I know you will see benefit from them!


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