As an early stage startup, you have set your sights in solving a complex problem for your customers. The solution lies in a product entailing unknown man-hours of development, with great innovation necessary for its architecture (at this point of time, you are not sure exactly, but do know how). Time is of essence and you were meant to launch it yesterday. If you wait, ponder and delay, another startup, who is already running, would leave you behind forever, while you are still trying to figure out how to do it.
Your founding team is energized and looking for avenues to have the product developed. You have the passion and domain expertise and a great understanding of business. Plus you have the investor confidence and faith of your customers to try a pilot. At this juncture, you could either have the product developed under your eyes or scope it and let it be developed in a place which has the skills to turn it around in 50% of the cost and half the time! Sounds interesting?
Before we go any further, there is that ongoing churn whether you should have it developed by an “in-sight” team, who you can meet and shake hands with or engage a partner, far away. If all things remain same and only separator is geography, then relax, technology and tools made the integration seamless. Does everything else remain same? No it doesn’t – remember the 50% cost & time saving? Welcome to the world of offshoring for product development.
Big companies have been doing this for long. GE, Amex, Microsoft, Google have for long benefitted by assigning most difficult and challenging projects to offshore development centres and reaping benefits continuously. Increasingly mid-size and smaller businesses are finding that offshoring frees up their management time drastically to concentrate on product, customers and GoTo market strategy. Product development is assigned to a specialist team, which offers all the benefits of an onsite team, with added benefits of leveraging the best in class processes and methodologies.
There are many challenges for an early startup and it makes sense to collaborate with a trusted & reliant partner. Have confidence in the ability of the partner and empower them to contribute to your success. It pays to allocate energies efficiently and figure out what can be done by an expert. An early startup has the greatest challenge in finding the right tech resources, as the best minds in technology love to be in familiar waters of a tech company. Techies give their best in cultured environments and they are best cultivated in Kiev or Bangalore. To replicate that anywhere is trying to once again reinvent the wheel. Why would you want to do it?
As you scale up, the technology partner will be able to add additional resources, with alacrity. If you tried to do this yourself, then good luck – you will only be developing the product and neglecting the segment, which makes business happen!
So, focus on the core of your business. Get those investors and customers. If you are VC funded, they would like the idea of offshoring very much. It allows for much better control and offers a clear view of the delivery dates.
Offshoring enables you to think strategically and focus on Product Development (features, usability, workflow). Your 24×7 time can then be spent on partners, customers, employees, investors & strategy. That is where your leadership and intellect is needed – not for product development!