Andrew
Burak

From Office Tables to Local Taxes: How Offshore Software Development Price is Formed?

#Dedicated teams

How to get maximum quality and efficiency at the minimum cost? That’s the question that bothers many business owners. You want to bring your idea to life before someone else comes up with something similar, but you need to do it right. 

One way is to assemble an in-house team. This would include recruitment, onboarding, planning, management, accounting, and all that jazz. You may need a bigger office with a few more workstations. In other words, it’s going to require more money and more time, which you don’t necessarily have.

The other way is to outsource the development team. Here’s how it works. You partner up with a foreign contractor and they do all the work for you. Many companies go for this option because it’s thought to be faster and more cost-effective compared to having more employees locally. But is it as cheap as it seems? 

In this article, we’re going to explain what factors make up the cost of software development outsourcing. You’ll see why your invoice might not be as small as you expect and why it’s still worth it. 

The Factors that Makeup Software Development Cost

Imagine that you’ve partnered up with a Ukrainian software development team. What exactly are you going to pay for? 

Office 

The first and most obvious factor that makes up the price of offshore software development is the cost of office space and related expenses. This includes rent, furniture, technical equipment, office supplies, food, and drinks (water, coffee, tea, cookies/fruits). 

Even if the company assembles remote teams, they still need the office to do it. For example, here at Relevant, we have specialists working with us in-house, but we also have access to a large talent pool of freelancers in case our clients need extra brains.

Hiring 

Every client has unique needs, and when it comes to gathering development teams, it’s always a process with multiple stages. From figuring out how many specialists the client needs to conducting multiple levels of interviews, there has to be someone to take care of it all. 

That’s why software development outsourcers usually have several recruiters working with the team full time and getting paid for their expertise. Without them, it would be impossible to assemble a qualified team so fast and integrate into the clients’ projects smoothly. 

Vacations 

Let’s not forget that we’re working with real people. And even though some of them are super motivated to work tirelessly 365 days per year, it’s not a healthy story. The developers are working with the clients overseas, but they are treated like regular full-time employees with all the perks and days off.

The company is legally required to provide time off to employees, which includes state holidays and annual vacations. Also, whenever someone is not feeling well, it covers a certain amount of seak leaves. 

Education 

Software development is a skill. The new technologies and solutions emerge all the time, so it’s super important to keep it sharp. Also, since Ukraine is not an English speaking-country, ensuring that the team speaks the language at a decent level is a must. That’s why many IT companies pay for their employees’ language courses. 

Every respectful offshore software development firm invests in the education of their employees. Otherwise, they won’t be able to compete on the market. Here at Relevant, for example, we make sure our specialists get access to the latest knowledge. We arrange mentorship programs for new hires, hold internal lectures, and have a full-time English teacher in-house. 

Taxes 

If we are talking about Ukraine, the cost of living here is much lower than in other European countries, not to mention the United States. That said, the taxation system here is generally favorable for the IT-sphere. You’ll find our local corporate taxes pretty comfortable compared with yours, so it won’t be as much of a financial burden for you as it would if you had an in-house team of the same size. 

Non-tech employees 

We’ve already mentioned HR managers and recruiters, but they are not the only not-tech employees working in the organization. There are also project managers, accounting staff, cleaning, and other office maintenance services. All these people ensure the smooth work of the entire office.  

Accounting work

One of the best things about working with an offshore software development company is simplicity. When you have an in-house team, you are the one dealing with employee salaries and accounting. But if you are working with an outside contractor, you don’t have to worry about anything. As a client, you will simply receive an invoice. All the behind the scenes work will be done for you. 

Why cost shouldn’t be your primary driver  

What do you mean, you may ask? Why else would I need to outsource if it won’t save me any money? 

First of all, outsourcing software development is going to cost you less anyway. It’s just that the price shouldn’t be the most important factor in choosing a contractor among several alternatives. 

The vendor that offers the lowest cost on the market cannot provide the best quality by definition. From what you can tell after learning about all those pricing factors, software development outsourcing is a complex service. Therefore, every aspect plays an important role in the outcome.

Lowering the overall rate would require significant trade-offs in certain aspects, and it’s a sure way to end up with poorly qualified developers who can’t seem to get on a call with you in real-time, have difficulties communicating in English, and have nothing in common with your company culture. 

We don’t need to mention that as the result of such collaboration, you’ll lose more than you gain, so be wise about it. 

Summary 

Outsourcing a software development team can become one of the best business decisions you’ve ever made. However, for this move to work out as good as expected, you need to be willing to invest. Now that you understand how offshore development cost is formed, it’s going to be much easier for you to find a reliable partner overseas. Feel free to contact us to learn more about how you can hire an offshore development team.

Ihor
Feoktistov

Top 7 Tips to Speed Up Your Software Development

#Dedicated teams

Have you ever seen a business that doesn’t care about the development speed? Or a client that couldn’t care less about the release date? Neither do we, and it’s not surprising. 

Every organization we’ve ever worked with was under pressure to reduce time-to-market and maintain their market share. Unless you have a significant market dominance like Microsoft or Apple, you’ve got to move faster than your competitors. 

Unfortunately, very few teams can handle overwhelming task loads and tight deadlines. Regular burnouts and high turnover rates become a norm for many software development companies, but it surely is not the way to go. 

In this article, we’re sharing actionable tips on how to speed up software development and optimize overall workflow in a tech company. These simple changes can make a day and night difference for your team.

What software development speed depends on? 

The speed of software development depends on a few key factors:

  • development process complexities;
  • quality of code;
  • team size;
  • human factor. 

Let’s discuss each. 

Development process complexities

Every developer faces numerous challenges during the working process. These complexities may be associated with: 

  • the technical side of the project (such as complex software architecture, third-party integrations, innovation, and so on);
  • project requirements (unclear goals and objectives);
  • unreasonable deadlines (e.g. when the estimated project length does not match with the actual scope of work);
  • structural mismatches and internal issues within the company, etc.

Software production becomes even more challenging when the team has to deal with several complexities at once. The more problems they have, the slower the development speed will be. 

Quality of code

Everybody knows that writing a high-quality code is a time-consuming process – it’s either done well or done fast. However, super tight deadlines aren’t going anywhere. Whereas cutting down some corners is inevitable, compromising the entire code quality will eventually increase project duration. You’ll have to fix the errors anyway, but it’s going to be much more difficult (and more expensive). 

Team size

The success of each project depends on the efficiency of internal communication. If there are more than seven people in the team, finding the common ground becomes more challenging. The optimal team size for the most productive cooperation is up to five people. The solution for large projects that require more people is to divide the developers into smaller groups based on the project components each of them is working on. 

Human factor 

The performance of the whole team depends on the contribution of each member. If everybody on the team is skilled, experienced, and self-motivated, the job will be done much faster. That’s not to say that less-skilled developers are a no-go. They may eventually become the most valuable asset in the entire organization, but it’s still going to take some time to get them on board and help them grow. 

How to boost your software development process without wearing your devs out 

The efficiency of the software development process is easy to hamper, but there are quite a few things you can do to make sure your team doesn’t run into these challenges. 

How to speed up your software development without compromising the product quality and wellbeing of your devs?   

1. Expand your team 

Sometimes, the project deadline doesn’t match its scope. The obvious solution to this problem is adding more resources. If you want to handle more code, hire more developers. That’s what we do for many of our clients here at Relevant. With the help of our staff augmentation services, an organization can get any desired specialist or even a whole team for the required period. We take over the entire recruitment process whereas the client’s team stays focused on software development.

2. Work with small teams and small components 

Something as simple as breaking down a big piece of work into smaller manageable chunks is also applicable to software development. A recipe for highly productive software development, according to Venkat Rangan (Clari Inc) is entrusting small components to small teams. Combined with systematic tests and integration, it brings amazing results and lets the developers accomplish their goals much faster.

3. Set clear requirements and roadmap 

You’re going to achieve much better results if you take time to plan every step on the way. If the development team is very clear on the project requirements and goals, if they know exactly what to do and when to do it, you already save a lot of time on discussing what’s next. Create a roadmap of the entire project and discuss it with the team before the beginning of the development process. While they’re still going to be some challenges along the way, at least they won’t have to rewrite the code.

4. Limit your work in progress (WIP)

One thing that helps us make the development process more efficient is limiting the amount of work in progress. When there are too many tasks, things tend to get overwhelming. Not only it hampers the development as multitasking goes up, but it also puts extra pressure on the team. Many project managers use a kanban board to manage the development process. If you use it too, try to specify the maximum number of tasks allowed on each column. It will give enough time for planning, feedback, and review. 

Source of board template

5. Leverage the Lean approach 

Taking the Lean approach to software development means optimizing development time and resources, reducing waste, and focusing only on what the product really needs. It basically means working on what truly matters. To make sure your team is moving quickly and efficiently, build your software in small increments and get user’s feedback as early in the process as possible. With this information, you’ll be able to make necessary adjustments while the development goes on.   

6. Avoid technical debt 

Technical debt is a conscious decision to choose a not-so-great solution to speed up the development process. It’s not a bad thing if you do it strategically and have a plan on how to make up for it later. Otherwise, technical debt leads to system complexity. You may cut the corners now but you’ll still have to deal with it later. Until then, the problem is going to get much worse. So whenever it’s possible to write a proper code from the get-go, do it.

7. Automate as much as you can 

Although you can’t “automate” software development in a traditional sense of this word, you can still take a lot of work off your developers’ shoulders. Here are some of your options. 

Automated testing

Automated testing is probably the best way to reach a compromise between speed and quality. Thanks to the repeating scripts, anyone can run tests in regression without the need to repeat the same steps manually. It gives more time for working on the new features as the old ones are being checked automatically. Whereas it’s much more effective than manual testing, running multiple tests across various devices and browsers still takes a lot of time. When the product quality is not as important as getting it to the market on time, you might want to leave testing for the users.

CI/CD pipeline 

Continuous Integration (CI) is a software development approach, according to which every developer in the team merges code changes in a central repository several times a day. Continuous Delivery is the practice of automating the software release process. Implementing a CI/CD pipeline can significantly increase development speed due to lots of factors. It removes manual errors, provides instant feedback, and enables fast iteration. 

CI/CD Pipeline

Workflow automation tools 

Your team needs to communicate. Such aspects of the development process as task management, project meetings, workflow discussions, and so on seem insignificant, but they tend to stack up. You can easily save at least an hour per day by implementing an automation app like Zapier, which will automate repetitive tasks. 

Summary 

Here at Relevant, we know from experience that it’s possible to speed up software development without sacrificing product quality. We’re actively using these tips to help companies extend their development teams. Check out our case studies and visit our ​service page​ for more details. 

Andrew
Burak

Recruitment Process at Relevant Software: How We Select the Best Talent

#Dedicated teams

The search for a skilled professional with the relevant experience can take months on end, but customers don’t wait. That’s why every business tries to fill in the vacant positions as soon as possible. However, the recruitment process is the wrong time to rush. If you hire from the hip, it’s going to backfire. To make sure it doesn’t happen to our clients, we’ve developed a thorough vetting mechanism for attracting and recruiting the best talent. 

In this article, we’ll take you through each stage of the candidates’ selection process at Relevant Software. 

Ukrainian IT landscape 

Over the past decade, Ukraine became known worldwide as one of the best IT outsourcing destinations. It’s even sometimes called a Silicon Valley of Europe. How come that such a common country with modest economic growth became one of the biggest IT hubs in the world? There are a couple of things about the Ukrainian tech scene you might find interesting. 

Ukrainian tech education 

Some of you may not know but Ukraine is a goldmine of tech talent. The IT Ukraine Association notes that over 20,000 tech students graduate in Ukraine each year. The local IT clusters collaborate with the best Ukrainian state universities helping them keep their curriculums up to date with the latest business innovations and tech trends.

It’s very common for many established Ukrainian IT companies to offer internship programs and professional courses. After two to four months of training, the best trainees usually receive job offers. 

Currently, Ukraine is ranking fourth in the world by the number of tech specialists, and the amount of tech experts is only growing. Based on the report by GSA​, the number of people working in IT engineering will reach 200,000 in 2020. So when it comes to hiring the most skilled IT experts, our country offers a pretty large talent pool. ​

Quality of code in Ukraine 

Quantity is awesome, it means that there is a lot of people to choose from. However, the thing that matters most is code quality. Ukrainian software developers are recognized by SkillValue as some of the world’s best professionals with an average score index of 91.26%. Also, our engineers scored an average of 88.7% across all​ ​HackerRank​ challenges. So whenever you decide to partner up with the Ukrainian team, you are sure to receive a great product. 

Relevant Software reputation on the local market 

Our company has been serving clients both locally and overseas since 2013. For all these years in business, we’ve acquired a decent reputation as a trusted and skilled IT partner. We are also a member of the Lviv IT Cluster ‒ the organization that unites the best IT companies in Lviv, the heart of Western Ukraine. Our office is located in a picturesque location in the city center and we take pride in being known as one of the best local employers with competitive salaries and a favorable working environment. Our people are our most important asset and we are super-precise when it comes to employee selection. 

So what’s our recruitment process?  

The candidate assessment at Relevant 

A promising talent is hard to find, but the result is always worth all the effort. When selecting the best candidates for a job, we take them through multiple assessment levels to determine their hard and soft skills, and in case of the remote teams ‒ to see whether they are a good fit for a particular client’s project. Here’s how we go about it. 

CV review 

The selection process starts with a review of the candidates’ CVs. This is the initial stage during which we single out the applicants with relevant experience and skills. The selected candidates are then invited to the video interview with a recruiter. Our HR specialists hop on a call with an interviewee to check their soft skills, tell them more about our company, and ask about their expectations. If it’s a match, then the person gets to the next selection stage. 

English assessment

Effective communication is an essential requirement for the success of any project. Here at Relevant, we work with clients from all over the world, and we want to make sure that our engineers understand them well and can easily answer all their questions. Clearly, a good knowledge of English is a must for working in our company. We have a full-time English teacher in-house, who helps us to evaluate the English level of candidates. 

In-person interview to check hard skills 

If the candidate successfully passed the previous stages, we proceed to a more specific technical examination. The next selection stage is the interview with our senior developers/QA engineers/project managers, during which they check the hard skills of the candidates. We always include practical tasks to see how the applicant is going to deal with the actual task. 

References check

A candidate might be the most skilled person for the job, but it’s also important how they get on with the team. That’s why those who successfully passed rounds of tests and interviews are asked to provide the names and contact details of at least two-three persons as their professional references. The recruiters contact these people and document their comments and remarks for future records.

Final interview

After the person has passed all the stages and the recruiters have done the reference check,  we conduct a final interview with our CEO to agree on terms and make a final decision. If it’s a yes, then we prepare a job offer and send it over to the candidate. 

Summary 

Having the right people on the team is a guarantee of the high quality of work and a comfortable workplace environment. We put every applicant through multiple evaluation stages to not only understand if they are good for us but also to make sure we are good for them. As a result, we build powerful teams that deliver the best results for our clients. 

Would you like to work with us? Reach out to our specialists via this ​contact form​

Ihor
Feoktistov

How To Hire DevOps Engineers ‒ A Step-by-Step Guide

#Dedicated teams

Did you ever wonder why it’s such a pain in the neck to find a qualified DevOps engineer?  There’s always some obstacle. Either the candidates aren’t qualified enough to keep up with your needs, or the rates are so crazy you’re not sure you need them anymore. 

While other companies deploy project after project, you’re still trying to figure out how to meet a single deadline with an X amount of devs (which is obviously NOT enough).

Sounds familiar?

If you’re looking for a DevOps engineer for your project, this article is for you. Keep reading to learn more about the hiring process and what are some things you might be overlooking that hamper your recruitment process

Outline Your Requirements First ‒ DevOps Engineers Responsibilities 

Before we move on to the DevOps engineering hiring process, let’s define who this person is and what DevOps actually means. The term is coined out of the two words ‒ “development” and “operations”. A DevOps engineer is a person who is skilled in both. It’s a versatile expert whose main function is to help different development teams improve specific parts of code and enable companies to improve their platforms based on what they already have. 

Interestingly, DevOps as a job title is kind of made up by the industry, which means that there is no step-by-step process on how to undertake this career. Whether or not someone can apply for DevOps position depends on their skills and experience with coding and working in different teams.

In short, DevOps engineer is someone who:

  • Understands the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
  • Has a solid grasp of different automation testing tools for developing continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines.
  • Can successfully manage the entire DevOps team.

So what are the main responsibilities of DevOps engineer? 

  • Application and Infrastructure planning, testing and development.
  • Maintaining CI/CD pipelines.
  • Automation implementation.
  • Ensuring security.
  • Ongoing monitoring.

Let’s take a closer look at each. 

Application and Infrastructure Planning, Testing and Development

DevOps engineer’s job is to fill the immediate business needs. In their day-to-day, DevOps look at the individual functions of the cloud environment and write code to scale them. To pull it off, a person needs to be able to write small snippets of code in several languages. They also must be skilled in testing, and big-picture planning (integrations and additions across many systems). 

Maintaining CI/CD Pipelines

DevOps engineers are responsible for building a CI/CD pipeline and making sure that all the processes, people, and tools work in sync. They can spot areas of improvement and optimize the pipeline on the go. When DevOps engineer does the job well, the team can continuously test without hampering overall speed.

Automation Implementation

Automation is the reason why organizations hire DevOps engineers in the first place. DevOps are responsible for its implementation and their job is to boost the efficiency of both engineering and IT. Meanwhile, companies can focus on more strategic tasks. 

Ensuring Security 

DevOps engineer’s job is to support the users of the infrastructure they develop. The best way to ensure safety is to build reliable software, to begin with. Writing secure code that will be protecting the cloud against hackers and viruses is a valuable skill for a DevOps engineer. 

Ongoing Monitoring

Collecting data and understanding how to act on it effectively is crucial for every organization. That’s why DevOps engineers monitor their apps and infrastructure to detect and oversee the blind spots, observe them, and troubleshoot possible issues. 

What are the Most Important Skills for DevOps? 

Clearly, the skillset required for such professionals is far above the average. In one of the surveys conducted by DevOps Institute for their Enterprise DevOps Skills Report, C-suite executives, managers, and individual contributors were asked to rate the importance of the different skill categories for their DevOps team members.  

Take a look at the results. 

Most important skills for DevOps

The expectations are generally pretty high, but they vary slightly based on the desired experience level.

Are there any differences in job requirements for, say, junior and senior DevOps engineer? Most certainly, there are. Let’s examine them closer. 

Skills Required for Junior DevOps Engineer 

  • Understanding of Agile, Waterfall, SDLC.
  • Understanding of version control tools.
  • Knowledge of CI/ CD tools. 
  • At least one programming language. 
  • Understanding of Docker images, containers, and registries.
  • Knowledge of Infrastructure Management tools.
  • Understanding of cloud computing.
  • Good communication skills in English (written, spoken).
  • Soft skills (self-motivated, detail-oriented, strong team player).  

Skills Required for Middle DevOps Engineer

  • Solid knowledge of CI/ CD tools.
  • Good knowledge of version control tools.
  • Good experience with bash scripting/troubleshooting.
  • Knowledge of 2+ programming languages.
  • Solid understanding of cloud computing services.
  • Infrastructure Management skills.
  • Proficiency in automation tools.
  • Good communication skills in English (written, spoken).
  • Soft skills (self-motivated, detail-oriented, strong team player).

Skills Required for Senior DevOps Engineer

  • Proven expertise in using CI/ CD tools.
  • Proficient knowledge of version control tools.
  • Experience with bash scripting/troubleshooting.
  • Knowledge of 3+ programming languages.
  • Proficiency in cloud computing services.
  • Expert-level Infrastructure Management skills.
  • Proficiency in automation tools.
  • Excellent communication skills in English (written, spoken).
  • Soft skills (self-motivated, detail-oriented, strong team player).

DevOps Engineers Salaries in Various Countries

Given the number of skills required for this job, it’s no surprise that the salaries of DevOps engineers are pretty high. However, they fluctuate greatly based on many factors: 

  • individual skills 
  • professional experience on related jobs,
  • country of residence
  • the company, etc. 

To illustrate, let’s compare DevOps salaries in three different regions. 

Disclaimer: The numbers discussed further are just an estimation and may vary based on the aforementioned factors.  

RegionYearly earnings (junior)Yearly earnings (middle/senior)
Ukraine$ 7 900 $ 31 500  
United States $ 70 000  $ 178 500
Europe (e.g. Nehterlands) $ 34 000 $ 79 000 

Job Description Example for DevOps Developer 

When searching for an ideal DevOps engineer, pay special attention to crafting an appealing and to-the-point job description. It will save you the hustle of turning down the applications that don’t fit the requirements. 

Below is the example of a DevOps engineer job description you could use as a reference in your search. 

Introduction

[Your company name] is a company that specializes in […]. Right now, we are looking for [junior/ middle/ senior] level DevOps Engineer to fill in a vacant position in our team. You will work at the intersection of Development and Operations to design, code, test, and optimize great solutions for clients.

Job Role and Responsibilities

Who You Are:

  • A highly motivated person with a passion for building scalable and efficient products.
  • You have very strong communication skills in English, both written and spoken.
  • You are a great problem-solver.
  • You are [familiar with/have a solid understanding of/ expert in] operating systems such as Linux, Windows, iOS and Android.
  • You have a [basic/ solid/ expert] understanding of programming in languages, such as […].
  • You are [interested in/ understand/ the expert in] Design Thinking Methodology and Agile.

What You’ll Do:

  • Build, deploy, configure, and maintain systems in […] environment.
  • Work closely with the development team to ensure a continuous integration environment. 
  • Optimize and automate processes, using tools like […].
  • Troubleshoot and solve issues in development, testing,  and production.

Required Expertise

  • Must have [basic/ solid/ expert] knowledge in [Java, Jenkins, Puppet, Docker, Bash, Python, Ruby, etc.]

Preferred Expertise

  • Experience in […] 

Interview Questions to Ask DevOps Developer

Supposing, you’ve picked a few good-looking CVs. Now, how do you determine whether any of them are a good fit? Very simple. Asking the right questions will do the trick. After the interview, you should be able to tell whether the candidate has the necessary hard and soft skills to become a perfect addition to your team.

Hard Skills 

Below are the examples of interview questions for junior, and middle/senior developer to check their hard skills. 

  • What DevOps tools do you have experience with? Do you want to master any other tools? 
  • What is version control and why should it be used?
  • Why are Configuration Management Processes and Tools important?
  • Can you explain the concept of “Infrastructure as Code”(IaC)?
  • What is meant by Continuous Integration and how would you ensure it?
  • What is the difference between orchestration and classic automation? What are some common orchestration solutions?
  • Why proper instrumentation and measurement are important for  DevOps culture?

Soft Skills 

Many companies value personality and soft skills over technical expertise. After all, you can deepen the knowledge or sharpen the skill, but personality stays the same. Here are some questions you can ask during the interview to make sure a candidate fits in your company culture.

  • How would you describe the functions of an ideal DevOps team?
  • What skills have you learned to help you get better in a DevOps role?
  • What does the perfect release look like? Who is involved, and what is your role?
  • How would you go about diagnosing and fixing problems in production?
  • A deployment just failed. What steps will you take to remediate the situation?
  • How would you improve DevOps strategy in our company?

Hiring DevOps Engineers: 3 Ways to Go 

When it comes to hiring DevOps engineers, there are three popular options: freelance websites, recruiting agencies, and outsourcing companies. Let’s review all three in detail.

Hiring Freelancers 

Freelancer platforms like Upwork, Freelancer.com, YouTeam, Toptal are very popular when it comes to finding specialists in the IT sector. The principle behind these platforms is the same. You set up an account, create a job post, choose a freelancer (or a team of freelancers), and start a contract. 

Client interface on Upwork

Pros of hiring a freelancer:

  • Much cheaper rates;
  • Reviews from previous clients; 
  • Wide range of specialists;
  • Great for minor changes and short-term projects.  

Cons of hiring a freelancer:

  • No guarantees;
  • No formal contract signed;
  • Possible language barrier;
  • Different time zones;
  • Management complexities causing more harm than good. 

Working with Recruiting Agencies 

Another widely used option is partnering with recruitment agencies. Here’s how it works. You let the agency know what positions you’d like to fill and they provide the recruitment services to the extent that you prefer, from identifying qualified people to conducting interviews and candidates selection. The cost of their assistance may vary based on their service model:

  • Executive search ‒ the employer pays an up-front fee for assistance filling a role
  • On-demand recruitment ‒ flexible support at an hourly rate
  • Recruitment process outsourcing ‒ the employer entrusts the entire recruiting function to the agency.

Pros of working with recruitment agencies 

  • More time for important strategic tasks; 
  • Access to more qualified candidates.

Cons of working with recruitment agencies 

  • The cost of recruiting;
  • Lack of control;
  • Indirect candidate access;
  • Potential communication issues.

Hiring DevOps Engineers through IT Companies 

This is probably the best option for projects of any size and budget. It’s less expensive than hiring in-house employees, but just as reliable.

Pros of hiring DevOps engineers through IT companies

  • Cost-effectiveness; 
  • Guaranteed expertise and reliability; 
  • Dedicated manager for each project; 
  • General team experience and quality work.

Cons of hiring DevOps engineers through IT companies

  • Different time zones;
  • Possible language barrier. 

Outsourcing individual experts or even the entire teams through IT companies is super convenient. They are not only qualified but have all the necessary technology in place. All you need is to share the details of your project and cooperate along the process. Sounds like a plan, isn’t it? But make no mistake, there are still some pitfalls to beware. 

The truth is, finding the right outsourcing company can be a challenge. You’ve probably heard all these urban legends about the worst outsourcing experience. However, if you take this process seriously, your project will end up in good hands. To find a reliable IT company, go beyond Google search. Places like Clutch will help you find accurate information about each team and referrals from colleagues will encourage you to make the best choice.  

Our company also provides team extension services. Here’s how it works in Relevant Software. 

Our Dedicated Team Set-Up Process 

It’s super simple. First, we gather the client’s project requirements, agree on the desired workflow, team size, deadlines, and deliverables. Next, we assemble the team, select the best-suited experts, show you CVs, invite you to perform the final interview, and smoothly integrate into your ongoing project. As a result, you complement your team with needed experts and finalize all the work successfully without any recruitment hustle.  

How We Help Companies to Get DevOps Engineers on Board 

We enjoy helping startups, mid-sized businesses and digitalizing enterprises transform the future with actionable solutions. Take a look at some of the projects we provided engineers to:

  • 24Onoff ‒ Efficient time-tracking and project-management SaaS platform for the construction industry. 
  • Biderator ‒ An auction platform for construction work that connects contractors and clients and provides them with a transparent bidding process.  
  • FirstHomeCoach ‒ A platform for a UK-based fintech company for navigating buyers through the property purchasing process. It connects them with trusted advisors, who in turn, help buyers secure a mortgage, get insurance, and handle all the legal paperwork. 

Summary 

Hopefully, this article will help you become more strategic about the hiring process. Now that you’re armed with these insights, you should fill in the vacant position in no time. And if you liked the idea of outsourcing and partnering with an IT company, Relevant Software will eagerly provide you with junior, middle, and senior DevOps engineers. Contact us for details.  

Ihor
Feoktistov

Top 10 Reasons Why your Startup should Outsource Software Product Development

#On startups

To outsource or not to outsource… that is the big question. Why do companies outsource software development? Should a startup outsource their software development? There must be a good reason for this, as the number of outsourced projects and outsourcing agencies grows steadily.

The available statistical data shows that, despite certain dips, the overall trend to outsource services continues to climb.

Outsourcing trend - Top 10 reasons why your startup should outsource software product development
Image credit: Statista

For startups, outsourcing their product development may be a great solution to jump in the market at the minimum cost and within the shortest time possible.
Indeed, with in-house development, the time between the idea and the finished product is much longer, as it involves renting an office space and setting up the entire development infrastructure, as well as putting together a professional team. Naturally, the cost of the in-house development will increase the initial investment greatly and can affect the company’s capital requirements and its overall starting position.

While outsourcing definitely does not mean the absence of investment, it is a much more cost-effective solution. Besides, both for startups and established companies, outsourcing brings other benefits that allow them to develop, promote and market their product more successfully.

Apart from the direct benefit of cost- and time-saving, there are also other advantages of product development outsourcing.

#1 Access to deep knowledge and experience

One of the main reasons startups outsource software product development is that by engaging an outsourcing agency you are getting much more than just the software development.
In fact, you can come to such agency with only a product idea that only exists in your head, and you will get a complete package of consulting, analytical, marketing, design, and development services. Outsourcing agencies will work with you from the very first phase of your project – the discovery including market research and user interviews resulting in building the product prototype.

Depending on your product type, project specifics and budget, you can proceed to the development or can start with creating an MVP, or minimum viable product, to validate your idea and make certain changes if necessary. In this case, the marketing and design experts of the outsourcing company will help you design the most optimal MVP and then interpret the analytical data it yields.

Project planning, cost estimation, wireframing, UI/UX design, software development – outsourcing companies can do it all, and in all cases, they can put together the most optimal project plan.

Of course, you can only outsource the services for which you lack own resources, for example, assign the development to an agency while doing your own marketing. In this case, you will not have to worry about the development and can focus on your tasks.

#2 Access to great tech talents worldwide

When you decide to outsource your product development, you are not limited by your geographical location. Your primary choice criteria are the team’s skills and professionalism.

Browse the company’s portfolio, look up the customers’ feedback, check the reviews, try the products that the company has delivered, and you will be able to find the team that is perfect for your project’s purposes. No matter where they are located, whether they work together or remotely, their development talent will contribute to the creation of your product.

Software developers worldwide map USA, UK, Eastern Europe

However, while contemplating collaboration with a team that is half a world away or distributed over many countries, we recommend considering the considering the cultural differences and taking steps to minimize their influence on the project development process.

#3 Optimal balance of skills and rates

With outsourcing, you can find the perfect balance between the team’s development skills and their rates. The outsourcing geography is rather broad, India and Eastern Europe being among the best-known outsourcing hubs.

The countries of Eastern Europe, such as Ukraine or Belarus, are quickly rising in the outsourcing rankings. The software development companies operating in these countries provide quality service with the optimal balance of expertise and creativity.
At the same time, the development rates in Ukraine are lower than, for example, in the US or Western Europe. Therefore, by outsourcing to Eastern Europe, you are going to get a professionally delivered product at a considerably lower cost.

#4 Ability to gather the best professional team for the project

If you start your project with putting together your own startup development team, this process is going to throw you off schedule quite considerably. For a successful product launch, you need not only the developers to write the code and the DevOps to deploy the product. In order to ensure a smooth product release, you also need to engage the following professionals:

  • Business analysts to identify the requirements to the project functionality and translate them into features
  • UI/UX designers to plan the user experience, create wireframes, design user flows, arrange UI components and, finally, create the UI mockups for the UI developers
  • QA engineers to test the product during and after the development
  • Copywriters to create UI texts and product documentation

Subject to your project specifics, there may be a need in some highly specialized skills. For example, your idea may include some advanced technology, such as virtual reality or AI. Finding such experts may take quite some time.

Usually, outsourcing companies have a complete team on board or can quickly recruit freelancers to fill the positions that they have no experts for. Already at the project planning stage, the project manager proposes the team that is capable of delivering the project stating the approximate time required from each team member.

#5 No need of micromanagement

When you assign your project to an outsourcing agency, the project is coordinated by a project manager whose job is to take care of all matters related to product development and launch. The project manager will be your main point of contact in all issues that may arise.

You will meet the PM at the first stage of your project development and will work with them on its plan. Once you have approved the project plan and estimate, it will be the responsibility of the project manager to keep to the agreed schedule and budget. Usually, the PM already has the tried and tested methodologies for managing remote teams, as well as in-house teams.

It will be the job of the PM to plan the sprints, set the deadlines, control the delivery, schedule and prepare feature demos. Any changes, suggestions, comments, complaints – you can always address them to the project manager and be sure that the required actions will be taken.

#6 Effective communication within the team

The importance of communication goes without saying.
Naturally, in a team where people know each other and have more than one project under their belt, the communication is next to telepathic. The roles, responsibilities, skills, and subordination are known in advance, and no time is spent on team-building.

An outsourcing agency has all tools and platforms for effective communication and collaboration properly set up and functioning. Preparing a collaboration environment for your project will take minimum time and effort – a workspace in Slack, a project on GitHub, a board in Jira or Trello – and you are mostly all set.

When a team is used to working together, all issues, big or small, will be handled in the quickest and the most effective manner.
Besides, in a well-established team, the project manager will have little problem with finding replacements in case of illness or other emergencies, as all primary and secondary skills of the team members are well known.

#7 Application of the Agile methodology

For a startup, keeping to the principle of lean development is often critical, as it allows delivering a product in the most effective way. Lean development minimizes the share of unnecessary tasks resulting from incorrect management, poor communication, excessive complexity, and other issues related to the project coordination.

The Agile methodology organizing the development as an iterative process favors the lean approach. In the most common model, the product creation process is broken down into sprints that are usually two weeks long. The tasks to be performed within each sprint lead to the completion of a feature or functional component that can be tested and then demonstrated at the end of the sprint.

Agile allows making changes on the go and adapt the development process to the changed requirements. With Agile, the necessity to redo a finished component reduces to the minimum.

Many development agencies adopt Agile recognizing the startups’ need to keep to the lean development approach. This way, the customer is always informed of the current status of their project and can suggest changes quickly.

#8 Easy scalability

In the course of project development, it may happen that the scope either grows or reduces with some changes that need to be implemented. In this case, the initially selected team should be scaled up or down which is extremely difficult to do with in-house development.

If you are doing your own development, it is not easy to quickly find another team member with the required skills, especially, if these skills are needed for one project only. If you need to reduce the team, you will either have to dismiss people or continue paying their salaries to keep them for future projects. Either way, the solution is far from optimal.

With outsourcing, you are likely not to see such problems at all, because the agency usually has enough staff to cover the project needs and, when very special skills are required, they can contract a freelancer or a part-time member on the hourly basis.

Image Credit: Medium Eightshapes

Similarly, reducing the team is no problem for an outsourcing agency, as they may be running more than one project at the same time and transfer the colleague to another assignment.

#9 Minimum risk

Of course, when you assign your project to a new team, you are always running a certain risk. Despite good reviews and positive first contacts, there is still a chance of miscommunications, delays, features developed differently from what you expected, as well as many other unpleasant situations.

However, the central concept of outsourcing can protect you from such risks or minimize them.
Start with contracting an agency for a small task. Make a complete agreement specifying the quality, deadlines, rates, acceptance criteria. If you are satisfied with their performance, go ahead and sign a contract for a larger chunk of functionality or even for the complete project.

At the same time, if you see that the agency is not up to the task, you can cancel the cooperation at any time (just check the contract carefully not to run into legal troubles).
Under some contracts, you can keep the already developed project components. In this case, terminate the contract and start looking for a new outsourcing company to continue.

#10 You will be in a good company

The methodology of startup outsourcing has been around for quite a while with a list of successfully outsourced projects amounting to hundreds, and the outsourcing geography covering the entire planet. You may never guess that some of the world-famous products were built by outsourcing companies.

Just to name a few:

  • Slack. This convenient communication tool that many development teams love for its simple and efficient functionality is, in fact, the work of MetaLab who redesigned the messenger at the early stages of its life and happened to hit the bullseye.
  • Opera. The lightweight browser first marketed by Telenor, a telecommunication company from Norway, was built by a distributed development team. The members worked from more than 25 different locations and managed to create a browser that has earned the appreciation of many users.
  • MySQL. Believe it or not, but this database management platform that holds one of the top ranks for its popularity was also a product of a distributed team who continue to support its operation.

Agencies or freelancers?

On a final note, let’s briefly look into the matter of which outsourcing structure is better for a startup project. It seems we’ve got you convinced of the advantages of outsourcing, but now you need to decide whether you should choose an agency or hire freelancers for each specific task.

Both approaches have their pros and cons, the most obvious being the cost.
Freelancers usually have lower rates than outsourcing agencies, as they work with minimum infrastructure and management. However, this advantage has its flip side – with freelancers, you will need to provide management on your side, and coordinating a very distributed team with each person working according to their own schedule and routines is not an easy task.

Development agencies, on the contrary, do their own management which makes the process more streamlined. For this reason, if you are thinking of outsourcing a large, complex project, we recommend contacting a reputed company that can be expected to deliver the product matching your standards.

Let’s talk, for you to understand whether you need outsourcing or not. Contact us to schedule a call.

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4 Best Countries to Outsource Software Development To

#Dedicated teams

Software development outsourcing is no trend anymore, it’s a proven cost-optimization strategy and access to a wider talent pool. A qualified dedicated team can be a perfect match for both a new start-up project or a ready-to-go product. And you might be wondering, what are the best countries to outsource software development too?

Cost optimization is considered one of the main advantages of the outsourcing of software development. Among others, one can name the pool of experts, flexibility, time-saving, accessibility alongside the fact that managing outsourced software development is simplified by cloud technology, and project management tools.

Relevant Software analyzed the peculiarities of the best countries for offshore software development by the criteria that help you make the right decision based on your priorities.

By the way, Relevant is an offshore software development company that has completed 200+ software projects for the past 7 years. You can submit your request right now. We’d be glad to help you outsource successfully.

Top outsourcing destinations

The global economy and communication channels allow us to hire highly skilled offshore software engineers worldwide. According to various sources, Ukraine in Eastern Europe, Poland in Central Europe, Argentina in South America, and India in Asia are the top outsourcing countries. That’s why we will focus on those in our further comparison. Your choice, of course, will depend on a number of other factors as well, like financial implications, project requirements, etc. Many developers work either on a freelance basis or for an outsourcing agency, all varying in skills, competency and rates. There are going to take a look at the basic criteria that show the general scope of strong and weak points related to each country to help you make your initial choice one of the best destinations to outsource software development.

The best countries to outsource software development to, top outsourcing destinations

Main criteria for an outsourced team assembling:

  1. Technical education level of the resources
  2. Software developers ranking
  3. Location and time zone differences
  4. English language skills
  5. Project complexity-related experience / product development competencies
  6. Resources availability/tech competency diversity

Technical education level of the resources

Argentina

Argentina offers free education opportunities investing a lot in schooling. The government is taking measures to incorporate computer education throughout all school programs. Stats says that 70% of university students combine studies with work and it is relatively easy to find competent staff in any field.

Outsourcing companies in Argentina are experienced with Software and Mobile Development, Cloud Computing and DevOps.

Ukraine

In Ukraine, though offering a vast educational opportunities, a prominent part of the IT education is focused on extracurricular junior and advanced training courses. Some companies offer free education with further employment opportunities. In total, more and more IT specialists graduate from the universities and private schools every year. Just is 2017 there were 40,000 IT graduates, compared to 30K the year before.

Ukrainian software and IT companies follow the global trends and tend to focus on science-based technology advancements exhibiting a lot of interest in Big Data & AI, mobile development, blockchain and cryptocurrency projects. One more peculiarity of the destination is the prevailing number of Senior developers over Middle and Junior software specialists. The expertise level of the specialists allow outsourcing companies to contribute to the success of the projects for leading fintech companies. Ukraine is also considered one of the best countries to outsource web development. Front-end  skills along with Java, Ruby and PHP programming are well-established areas with numerous successful web products.

India

Due to historic implications, India offers western approach to education. Although the level of literacy here is relatively low, there is a growing focus on math-associated studies which facilitates the development of technology.

It is considered of the best countries for app development initiatives, both native and hybrid. Companies are also involved in Microsoft and related technologies and open source projects. It is new to but actively incorporating machine learning, AI, GIS, blockchain technologies.

Poland

IT education in Poland is in high demand attracting students from all over Europe. It topped the popularity rank in 2013 with the number of graduates reaching 15,000.

Poland excels at high QA and usability standards. PHP is stated to be the most used programming language here, while Java and .NET are also widespread.  According to clients’ reviews, software engineers there demonstrate a good work ethic and minimum cultural differences.

Software developers ranking

India has been the leading outsourcing destination for quite some time but according to the latest rankings of developers there is a vivid shift towards Eastern and Central Europe. HackerRank, a platform scoring  engineering skills according to their coding skills, showed that Poland and Ukraine are closer to the top positions.

Which country has the best developers, software developers rating

Location and time zone differences

Handling time zone differences when cooperating with the outsourcing model is an apparent question. An outsourcing company normally provides a management team facilitating your communication with developers and engineers. Regular communication proved to be the best practice in order to ensure smooth project development and successful collaboration at every particular stage.

Of course, there are some hurdles when connecting with a team in a different time zone, but in most cases, business hours overlap and flexibility of the engagement model presupposes suitable working hours.

You can find out more about managing a remote team, maintaining communication and useful collaboration tools in this article.

English language skills

English is by far a universal language of the IT industry. Babbel Magazine states that 20% of the world population speaks English including native speakers. It is also the most popular language to learn. Nonetheless, the level of the skill varies in the five global regions. It doesn’t come as a surprise that Europe ranks higher with over 90% of people outside of Great Britain learning English.

English proficiency level across the glob by region
Data source: ICEF

English proficiency also differs within the regions based on country and occupation. According to the 2017 Global EF English Proficiency Index the countries in question score as follows:

  1. Poland – #11
  2. Argentina – #25
  3. India – #27
  4. Ukraine – #47

IT professionals are more fluent in English. When working with foreign customers, English is the language of communication in most cases. Many agencies offer free language courses that undoubtedly improve the skill level. In Ukraine, for example, based on local sources, IT and Analytics are most fluent industries in terms of language proficiency. In India, English is an official language and Argentina is the most proficient region where over half of the population is bilingual.

In this sense, choosing to work with an agency, as opposed to freelancers will be in your favor, since most of the communication will be done through their management.

The majority of the software engineers working in the outsourcing have at Intermediate- and Upper-Intermediate levels, while Advanced English is a mandatory requirement for Team Lead and a PM positions.

Project complexity experience

India offers one of the biggest pools of the IT and software specialists on the market, quite diverse in their knowledge of languages and frameworks, but also limited to the most popular ones. Mobile app development is the top field outsourced there. If you decide to outsource to India, it is best that you have a well-coordinated and structured project, with strict guidelines and precise requirements. They work long hours, charge cheap, and make it work. If you strive for innovation, you should probably consider other countries.

In 2017, Ukraine has been named Offshoring Destination of the Year by the Global Sourcing Association UK. The businesses from the USA outsource approximately 80% of IT projects to Ukraine; a lot of back-end related work which identifies the developers’ capabilities to learn new technologies and frameworks. According to Crysberry report, Ukraine is #1 in C++ and Unity3d, #2 in Magento, JS, and Scala, and #3 in Ruby, Python, Node.js, and ASP.NET by the number of developers in the world.

Poland is a member of the EU and follows the same data protection laws and regulations as the Union. That is a huge benefit, especially when your project involves web development. Companies usually outsource to Poland for the UI-related jobs, front-end and back-end development.

The IT industry in Argentina started developing in the 90s during the dot-com boom. The main advantage it has over other countries is the robust telecom network, which is great for Internet startups. Clients claim that, due to certain cultural peculiarities, some people there might be hard to negotiate with.

Resources availability and tech competency diversity

In Ukraine there are approximately 100,000 IT specialists with over 60% in outsourcing, and the figures are expected to double by 2020. It is leading in the number of C++ and Unity3D software engineers. Others are highly skilled in JavaScript, Scala, Magento, PHP, Node.js, Ruby, ASP.NET, Python and Front-End development.

According to infoShare, Poland offers close to 250,000 software engineers with 20% involved in outsourcing with prevailing Java, Python and Ruby competencies.

India outsourcing market with almost 3 million developers is focused on C/C++, Java and web development. This number is expected to double by the end of 2018 due to an increasing interest in Machine Learning, AI and robotics.

Close to 100,000 tech specialists graduate from universities in Argentina annually. Most developers are proficient in C, Java, PHP, JavaScript, .NET framework and Data science.

Cultural differences. Do they matter?

There is no right or wrong when talking about culture. Yet, understanding cultural peculiarities of the country you outsource to is an invaluable element that will help you cope with the differences. Frequent communication and structured teamwork around a certain mindset are the basic points to consider.

Culture influences how people work and collaborate with others. If you think of adoption a ‘Western-style’ approach to running your business project, Argentina, Poland and Ukraine will be closer in kind to your required attitude and performance. In these countries engineering teams frequently use the Agile methodology and rely on words and facts rather than emotions and strictly defined stages, like in India.

offshore software development culture differences

It is also important to take into account some aspects of local religions and the related work routine. Argentina and Poland predominantly observe most religious holidays adding to 19 and 13 state holidays respectively. In Ukraine there are also some main religious holidays among 18 state ones. As for India, although it has numerous festivals, there are only 3 days of state holidays. But all the listed above are only recommended by the states. Offshore developers tend to work even during holidays, but it is something to keep in mind when scheduling a meeting or setting a deadline.

Offshore software development rates by country

While in North America hourly rates range between $70-180, offshore software development rates are significantly lower. India is the cheapest software development outsourcing destination, while in Argentina the rates are much higher.

Location, individual’s professional experience, company’s policy among others are the key factors defining the cost rate in every particular country. So, when thinking about costs you will have to research and explore every single opportunity to suit your needs best.

The table below shows average rates in a number of professions, according to PayScale and Glassdoor. Note that information about Argentina is limited.

IndiaUkrainePolandArgentina
Sr. Software Engineer$8$25$25$7
Web Developer$4$19$10$2
Sr. QA$8$16$20$8
Business Analyst$10$16$19$5
Graphic Designer$4$8$8$10

And finally

Allocating resources for a project isn’t just about raw data, but also communicating your needs and having them heard by a partner company that can fulfill your requirements. There are more and less appealing factors regarding every destination. The ratings and descriptions are pretty subjective and can not offer you an exhaustive picture but knowing what to expect can be the initial vital step towards your success.