Best Practices in the IT Industry: Nearshoring

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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.