Choosing an offshore Engineering provider is tough, but it is getting easier. Twenty years ago having an engineering team located in a far away country was reserved for only the largest corporations. The cost of setting up the needed infrastructure to build and manage teams was very high. More importantly, there was a shortage of people that were appropriately qualified to manage cross-border teams considering all the communication challenges.
These days there are many different options when it comes to Choosing an offshore Engineering provider. I think I receive 20 emails a week from offshoring engineering teams that claim to be able to reduce costs or provide exceptional service.
If you are an entrepreneur, and you are looking for the best offshore engineering provider, here are some tips on how you can choose the top team:
Tips for Choosing an Offshore Engineering Provider
- Talk to your personal network. Chances are you know a couple of people that are now or have previously worked with an offshore engineering provider.
- Talk to at least five separate teams and ask them to explain what makes them different. It is likely they will all be a little different so it will be good for you to see which provider best matches what you are looking for.
- Ask for references on at least three of the vendors and make the calls yourself. Do does not delegate this task to one of your teams. You will be trusting this group with an important function at your firm. Do not be intimidated by the project.
- Explain your project to them in detail and ask to see examples of their wok that are closest to what you are looking for. You are looking not only for fit and finish of the delivered product but for how proud of the work they are.
- Before you make a final selection, you be well served to have a member of their team come to your office and visit your team. These days many offshore engineering partners may have a presence in your local area so be sure to have them over to your office. Likewise, make sure you go and visit them.
- If you can manage it, you should try to visit them overseas to see what their office looks like. This is useful for a couple of
- First, make sure the words and the music go together. In person, you can check the address, the facilities, the names, and faces, etc.
- Secondly, if this group is going to be your new partner, it will help you to visit them and meet the team. You will build relationships, and possibly learn a bit about their culture. This will be a big part of your company so make sure to start building bridges as soon as possible.
- Do not get too greedy on the compensation rates but make sure you are not getting hustled at the same time. If possible, fight for a low initial wage for the employees but bake in some compensation raises based on milestones. Most reputable Offshoring partners will understand this, and they will accommodate. Think about total compensation. Stock is appreciated.
- When choosing an offshore engineering provider, you should have a clear understanding of how and when you will communicate. Many of these providers will work in different time zones. You will want to know the who, what and when of communication. Also, ask for remediation escalation protocols and customer service escalation paths.
- Insist on getting an organization chart based on all of the people that are assigned to your project. Ask for names, titles, contact information and pictures.
When choosing an offshore engineering provider, you should be meticulous about interviewing each member of their organization that will work on your project. Unless you are an engineer yourself, you might want to get help screening the candidates. Bring an advisor or a team member but make sure to get the candidates that best fit your project and your company culture. The future of the product will depend on the offshore engineering team’s performance.
You should always treat the team with respect and be generous with your time. They will love to hear from the founder and the visionary of the product they are building. In this case, a little effort on your part will go a long way.
Try your best to retain the best engineers. Give them a reason to stay with you. Retraining an engineer in an offshore environment is tough and expensive.