December 29, 2023

Why offshore development is hurting the tech industry… we should know, we acquired an offshore development company

Moonward is a 100% in-house app design and development team. That means every individual who works for Moonward, works in our office in the Brisbane CBD. We do not have any contractors who help us with our projects, we do not employ anyone offshore, and our team are all full-time employees of Moonward.

But how big of a difference is an offshore development team from an inhouse development team really?

Well, in September of 2023, Moonward acquired an offshore app design and development agency, App Boxer. We got to see how things work under the hood. We got to see their projects — including how they were progressing and how they were left. We got to speak to their existing client base and get a gauge on their experience so far. Plus, when Moonward first started six years ago, we used to leverage offshore developers. So, we would say that we have some experience and understanding of the matter of how in-house teams compare to offshore teams.

Poor delivery

I understand when you are just starting on your app development journey, the quality of the code is probably the last thing on your mind. Who cares if the quality of the code is bad? As long as it runs, right?

Well, that’s the thing. If the code is of a compromised quality, it might not run. It may even mean you can’t build new features on top of it because you don’t know what snippet of code affects another part and how the entire ecosystem works as a whole.  It might mean you can’t debug the app. There might be an irritating bug that occurs frequently and for the life of you, you cannot find out where it is and how to fix it. These issues are all real and can hurt the product which you might have already invested a lot into.

Now, it’s not to say that code quality is an exclusively in-house thing, but it is easier to manage as they can communicate with each other and internally set a system on how they will write, review and deploy code. A good app development team should have a portfolio of clients, many they retain long term, so they understand the importance of clean code which is easy to read, add to and if need be diagnose any issues.

No delivery

Sadly, this is one we hear all too often. The metaphorical crickets, the agonising silence and the no delivery of the project… You may invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in offshore developers with no accountability and no way to recoup the loss (seriously, Australian Lawyers cannot chase down and demand retribution from many of these offshore development companies).

I’m sorry to say that not getting any delivery at all does happen, and unfortunately, it happens more than you think. Here could be a few reasons why:

Developers have multiple jobs

The offshore company that we acquired had one of their team members do a survey on the offshore developers who were working on their projects and discovered that each developer had an average of 2-3 jobs with one company at any one time. Imagine working 8 AM-5 PM with one company and then 5 PM-1 AM with another. It happens.

High demand

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. You heard that one right? Well when the project gets tough in the offshore development world, the demand is so high they can simply drop your project and move straight on to the next one. Again, it happens.

Bad reputation for estimating timeframes and budgets

At Moonward, we have always said that if someone can give you an exact day estimate for how long your software development project is going to take they are either a magician or a liar. Again if the budget and timeframes are out of line, offshore developers will either requote you, hold you for ransom, or delete your project and move straight on to the next one. Believe us, it happens.

Communication and cultural breakdown

“Effective communication helps to keep the team working on the right projects with the right attitude.” — Alex Langer

It’s the glue that keeps everyone on track and excited, no matter how difficult or far away the goal is. This sort of company magic and spark cannot be replicated offshore when you are in one place and the team you are working with are in another.

It is important to note that all the stories we have shared with you above are 100% true and we have heard directly from either people who have fallen victim to the industry or our personal experience in the early years of Moonward.

If you or anyone you know has been impacted by any of these negative factors involving the offshore development industry, please reach out to our team for a free strategy call. We are here to help.

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