I recently read a great article written by Artyom Avanesov at fireclam.  In this article he lists the pros and cons of outsourcing software development.

Pros:
It’s cheap
It’s more convenient
It’s easily accessible

Cons:
There is a cultural gap
There is the language barrier
Poor on design

I would agree with his Pros, however, these cons can be mitigated by outsourcing software development to Eastern Europe.

There is a cultural gap

There will always be a cultural gap even if all employees for a company are local.  When I worked at Microsoft we had many differences cultures on my teams.  The impact is reduced by them working locally and everyone’s expectation was Northwest US Culture.  What I have learned about helping reduce this culture gap for most US companies is that the cultures in Eastern Europe are very similar to the culture in the US.  Most US citizens are descendants of Europeans and many from the east.  We celebrate most of the same holidays and have a very similar work ethic.  They also are not prone to the “Yes” culture.

There is the language barrier

I would agree there are major differences in the native languages, however, there are many great English speakers in Eastern Europe.  It is the norm for them to learn American accents when they learn English.  I have used many European Engineers and I always make it a requirement that they speak well enough to work with me and my teams.  I have had teams where some team members did not speak as well, but their team leads and project managers spoke perfectly, so I did not have to have direct contact with theml.  In all cases, I require that they can read and write English perfectly.

Poor on design

This may have been the case in the past, but I have been using top notch, world-class engineers from Eastern Europe for years now.   The average education is a Master’s degree and many have doctorates.  We have teams who have built some of the most complex low level security products as well as super scalable web applications.

 

Conclusion

So my conclusion is that, though there are cons with outsourcing, the gap is getting so much closer that the pros are definitely out-weighting the cons if you can find the right outsourced software developers.

 

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