How to build a successful offshore software development team?

How to build a successful offshore software development team

Businesses today understand the importance of staying ahead of the competition and being on top of their game. Especially when more and more businesses are warming up to cloud-based services and the SaaS industry is booming – or as Marc Andreessen would say, “is eating up the world”. Here, we will understand how an offshore software development team can help you stay ahead and how to build one.


As software-based products and services are becoming the go-to for any industry, businesses are in need of constant support and dependable tie-ups which can not only execute but take the journey of building and evolving their products with them. 

In 2021, thanks to the pandemic, we’ve seen a surge in demand for quality talent and teams, regardless of where they work from. For instance, companies like Spotify have gone completely remote and are welcoming fresh talent to join them from anywhere around the world! A remote workforce is now a reality.

But what about companies who are just starting out?  Most of these funded startups can’t spend the time only on hiring and building an engineering team. A wiser approach is to outsource the project to experienced product development companies that can manage the project remotely. This helps them access quality talent, cut down on hiring costs, expedite their time to market while culturing a relationship with a dependable and long-term offshore software development team. 

benefits of offshore software development

While the benefits are lucrative, the onboarding of such teams can be a tricky affair. Which is why we broke it all down. These steps should help you navigate through the process seamlessly.

Step #1: Search for the right company

This is the most critical step for every organization or entrepreneur looking to build a successful offshore software development team. One misstep can result in a huge loss of your valuable time and money. The key to building and driving an efficient team is to pick one that: 

  • Can understand your product;
  • Can understand your industry and has relevant experience;
  • Can pool in ideas rather than just being an executioner;
  • Is disciplined and reliable in terms of consistency and support;
  • Can help you save time to focus on other business macros.

The cornerstone of successfully building an offshore software development team is to first understand the domain knowledge and skills you need your partnering firm to fulfill. Outline your product, break it down into milestones, set up phase-wise feature lists, build tentative timelines against them then list down the skill-sets you need for your product’s development. Pace through your options based on the above list and go for the one that ticks off all the checkboxes.

Step #2: Evaluate and lock commercials

The first step should help you narrow down the best options. Now, to further trim the fat, look for the companies that are giving you the best return on your investment. This doesn’t mean going for the cheapest or the quickest but the one with the most to offer in terms of – business modeling, quality, talent, and other core areas that are a must for you. Typical outsourcing firms end up dedicating resources at an hourly rate. While this is a valid option, it’s not necessarily a fit for your product. In fact, when it comes to the financials around an offshore software development team, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.

Commercial models and communication have come out to be the biggest barriers for the majority of our offshore clients in their past. Our team has realized this over the years while working on projects across continents. And based on this experience, we believe one of the following 3 commercial models will come closest to what you need:

  1. Pay by the hour – This is the standard way of how your offshore team bills you. You are charged by the hour based on the number of developers deployed on the project. While this seems practical, entrepreneurs and companies often witness a lack of efficiency from their offshore partners or at least live in the paranoia of it. It happens because sometimes you risk getting overbilled or more hours being exhausted on tasks that otherwise would take a lesser time. This adds to the stress of micromanaging each task and resource in the team.
  1. Retain a team – This comes out to be a more efficient solution for most businesses since you end up employing the offshore team on a monthly basis with periodic reviews. This solution also helps you anticipate if you will end up needing more or less infra and support in your product’s development in the future and tailor the scope accordingly.
  1. Opt for a fixed cost  – Having a one-time cost attached to a clear-cut scope helps entrepreneurs or businesses who look for a managed solution – costs, approach, and milestones around all things from inception to completion. This comes out to be a leading option for the more dynamic and intricate projects that span over years.

Step #3: Start with a pilot project

By now you should be comfortable and confident with that one firm you want to shake hands with and get the ball rolling. While you do that, it’s always a good idea to run a pilot project before kicking off work on the main product. A few reasons as to why this comes in handy:

  • Helps you understand and build comfortable communication with them
  • Gives you a taste of how much they can actually contribute in the longer run 
  • Allows both of you to familiarise yourselves with the regime and working styles
  • Lets you foresee the practical quality, efficiency, and flexibility they have to offer

Communication-wise, in addition to the possible language barrier, there can also be varying cultural, environmental, as well as behavioral norms that can lead to the disparity. Luckily, the upside to having a dedicated team is that you don’t have to coordinate with or manage each resource, you just need an experienced project manager. 

A project manager will make your life a little easier by removing the burden of supervising your project and the team working on it. Not only that, but they also understand the software development process – in and out. They help in creating and planning the product’s architecture with the core engineering team – ensure its alignment with your core business objectives and keep you in the loop on what’s happening. Since they’ll mostly be the key point of contact, you can test them out during the pilot!

Step #4: Document everything through available tools

Documentation and communication are the lifelines for any organization working with a partner offshore firm. The market is flooded with tools and platforms that can help facilitate this between you and your offshore team. A successful software development process certainly requires some trial and error to ensure that the end product matches the initial vision. So to map and track sprints is a must. This allows you to have retro-sessions, collect data and observe trends which can further enhance the overall performance on both fronts.

Here are a few platforms and tools which are native to documentation and communication processes:


Having worked and set up offshore teams for funded startups across continents, we understand how valuable time can be for new ventures. We hope the above steps shared some perspective and will help you set up the right team you’re looking for!

We have enough experience under the belt to help you build your dream product and would love to help you set up your remote engineering team! Are you free for a quick discovery call? Get in touch with us here!

How to shortlist a suitable Web Development Company for your business?

How to shortlist a suitable web development company

So, you’re in the process to get a new website for your business and you have a certain vision for it but not the time. Being a go-getter, coding it yourself, or setting it up on platforms like Shopify or Wix isn’t a problem for you, but is it the best investment of your time? More importantly, is it a practically scalable solution for the years to come? The best option is to hand over your web development project to a trustable agency. But given today’s competition, even searching and selecting the best web development company for your website is a task in itself.

While every agency that you hear of may sound the same, it’s only when you dive deeper that you understand the true values that distinguish them from each other. Here are 5 important things you must know before you outsource your website’s development.

First, let’s understand if you should go for an agency instead of hiring professional freelancers.

Deciding between the conviction of a web development agency and the flexibility of freelancers is never easy, especially when the area lies outside your expertise. Who can be trusted with your website? Who to give this huge responsibility to? Should it be an independent software developer? Or a company that specializes in web development?

Building a website is a lot like building a home. For instance, let’s take up a house, a lot of elements go behind building it – excavation, framing, interiors, exteriors, and so on. All of this, done by a crew of skilled workers. Think about it, would you hand over something as important as your house construction to just one person who claims to fulfill all these elements? Similarly, developing a website is not a one-man job and requires a team of individuals with many different skill sets. Overlooking the importance of hiring a full crew of experts just out of the desire to get to market quickly or simply because of a lack of clarity can be harmful to your business in the long run.

But this doesn’t mean that you should completely neglect the role of a freelancer. If the required work is something like a UI upgrade with motion animation or rethinking your digital branding, then a professional freelancer can be of help. However, keep in mind that freelancers are proficient with a limited skill-set. Rare are those who are trained to work for complex and dynamic projects. It can cost you a lot of time and mental energy to find that one perfect individual.

freelancer vs web development company

Based on the comparison the first thing you should decide is what your priorities are. If freelancers better suit your requirement then go for platforms like Behance and Freelancer to seek out the best designers and developers. But if a website development agency is a better fit for you, keep on reading! Let’s break down the characteristics and qualifications of top web development companies.

5 important questions to ask the shortlisted web development agencies

1. What are you expecting from the web dev firm?

Make sure you clearly communicate your expectations from the website/platform – create a feature list and share references so the agency can share a practical approach, quote, and turnaround time. For instance, if you need a portfolio website at first and then want to translate it into an eComm website at a later phase, talk to companies who can put up suggestions and assess the approach for you rather than just executing it. Don’t ask them for all their work, ask them for their best work and base your evaluation on it. All this will answer one question for you – can this company develop the sales engine you need.

2. How long will it take to complete the web development project?

Once the agency understands your goal and vision for the website or platform, they should be able to give you a timeframe. A website can take anywhere from a week to 3 months and user portals take higher. It can take a longer or even shorter time depending on your goals and requirements. Check to see if the timeline fits your needs or just clearly communicate the project deadlines. It’s always a good idea to spare extra time for unexpected changes or new additions.

3. Do they offer other services than website development?

Apart from developers, if your web development company also has graphic designers, SEO experts, and marketing professionals then they will be able to create a high-performing website that exists to generate leads and not just look pretty. Sometimes web development agencies offer additional services that you may need such as branding, web copywriting, SEO, and more. It is not always necessary but can be a great advantage, especially if you’re looking for a long-term partner who can manage and support your brand in the longer run.

4. Speaking of, will they be able to provide long-term help?

When looking for a web development company, you shouldn’t just be looking for someone that provides a quick service and vanishes. The relationship between you and your chosen agency should ideally represent a lasting partnership, through which you can support other spheres of the business tomorrow and not just the website. Indeed the most important task of any web development company is to provide their clients with an attractive and functional website. But the viability of any website is proven only after 2-3 months after its launch through the collected data and depends on your marketing strategy. Therefore, when choosing a website development company make sure they are willing to form a long-term relationship with you. This way your needs are met, not just initially but for a longer period.

5. How will the communication and documentation be managed?

Communication is the key to any successful web dev project. Every agency has its preferred communication method, and it is a good idea to understand the process for your project. You can directly ask them if they will provide a project manager or one central contact, who that person will be, and how often can you expect them to contact you. On the other hand, the documentation helps you understand the phase-wise breakup of the deliverables of the website and accordingly set up reviews to avoid delays or too many iterations. Make sure you stay in touch with them throughout the process and take swift and hard calls – to make sure you don’t up the work and the project fails to meet its deadline. A quick check once a week or a round-up call after each project milestone can be a good practice to go with.

What do you think?

We hope this read helped you gain some clarity! Your hard-earned money and time deserve to be invested with someone who can help you achieve what you’re looking for.

At Spark Eighteen, we don’t make a website for you, we make it for your customers. This simple difference makes a significant impact on the lifetime sales of any startup or established business.

If you’re interested, feel free to check out some web development projects that we’ve done in the recent past or you can directly get in touch with us here. We’ll be happy to help!

When should you get your startup’s website developed? Should you outsource it?

Outsourcing web development & the right time to get a website developed

How do you know at which stage your startup needs a website? Is outsourcing web development a good option?

Be honest. What is the first place you visit when you hear about a business/startup? We’re sure at least 90% of us directly jump on the first link we get on Google.

In this digitally dominating world, a business is lost if it doesn’t have a website. You get conversions and recall when you give a simple-to-understand, hard-to-forget online experience to your customers. Till a couple of years ago, this only applied to B2C brands but today a website unlocks many doors for B2B companies too.

business is lost without a website

However, when you’re running a startup, every dollar counts. Every day is an uphill battle to figure out the right investments during this nascent stage of your business.

So let’s find the answer to this question – what is the right time for your startup to get a website?

To really know if your startup is ready for a website you first need answers to some important questions. One simple way to do that is by comparing spending on website development to any other important expense you can think of – like buying a car. What questions would you ask yourself before you make the final decision of investing in a brand new car? The answer isn’t supposed to be the same for every situation, but most of the time it boils down to a few questions:

  • Why do I need a car? (convenient and saves time, facilitates daily tasks, beneficial during emergencies, personal mobility, and independence, etc.)
  • How will I be using a car? (commuting to work, traveling, long drives, etc.)
  • What are the most important things I look for in my car? (style, reliability, comfort, space, quality, etc.)

We’re sure there are other questions you’d ask, but you get the point. Unless you have a lot of cash to burn, you wouldn’t buy a car without a reason or a plan. The formula is the same for websites. Let’s ask the same questions, but this time let’s replace the car with a website:

  • Why do you need a website? (increase brand visibility and awareness, generate sales, get leads, increase customer base, build credibility, increase accessibility, etc.)
  • How will you be using a website? (showcase and market your products, build relationships with existing customers, inform and educate potential customers, deliver excellent customer service, etc.)
  • What are the most important things you look for on your website? (appealing visual design, easy navigation, contact information, security, etc.)

Developing a website for your business without structuring a plan is more likely to fail in achieving your goals if they are anything beyond just having a website.

Once you know what you need, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to get it. This means deciding whether you should build your website on your own or outsource it to a company you trust.

Building Your Website vs Outsourcing Web Development

Building a website on your own totally depends upon the type of business and the level of knowledge you have within the area of technology. You obviously wouldn’t fix an underground water line without having any idea about what you should be doing. Or perform a LASIK surgery without having any proper training.

We rely on expertise only when we require things that are way beyond our area of knowledge. Plus it takes away a lot of time from your hands which you could’ve spent focusing on other macros of the business.

Let’s contemplate both options.

Developing Your Website

This is something that every entrepreneur, blogger, start-up owner, etc has at least thought of once in their lifetime – so yes, you’re not alone. You could be someone who doesn’t like working at someone else’s pace, wants to do the best for your brand, maybe want to save some extra bucks, or maybe it’ll be all of these things.

That’s completely fine!

There are various resources available online that can help you get some basic knowledge about web development. But remember that even after signing up and spending big bucks on courses online, not all of us end up having a good relationship with coding! In that case, numerous CMS (Content Management System) platforms are at your service. Following just a few simple steps, these platforms can easily help you create and build your own website.

Does that mean CMS is a sure-shot winner for developing a website? Um, not really. While CMS can be a champion in getting a cost-effective website made without taking too much time, it often loses the battle with SEO and core user experience. Visual design and search engine ranking are two important factors that, when done right, help in generating quality leads for a business. In this case, it is a wise option to outsource web development services and get in touch with an experienced team of developers who have a deeper understanding of what exactly needs to be done.

If you’re bending towards hiring a team of professionals, keep reading!

But if making it on your own makes more sense for you then WordPress and Squarespace are a couple of user-friendly website-builder platforms that let you create your website without spending too much.

Outsourcing Your Website’s Development

While using a CMS may sound simple, it isn’t the best outlet in many scenarios. In some situations, these free website builders can be a perfect choice. A quick simple website for a conference or an event? CMS platforms are all you need! However, when it comes to running a full-blown online store, or leads-generating business website, it is a smarter bet to hand it over to a professional web development agency.

outsourcing web development
Source: Outsourcing Insight

A web development company comes with a varying number of professionals working under different aspects of developing a website. All with one aim – to build a high-quality, highly converting website for your business. Here is the list of professionals you join hands with when outsourcing web development:

web development company

Together, a web development company is an all-in-one package of experienced individuals. Another of the various other benefits of outsourcing website development is that it allows you to deliver something that is more aligned with your business goals without any hassle of doing it all yourself.

Cost and time are seen as important determining factors between DIY and web dev outsourcing. Indeed, outsourcing development is more expensive than building a website on your own. But when you look at the broader picture, you’ll understand why:

  • This is the cost you pay to the experts to manage your website. In this constantly shifting & changing landscape, you are hiring a team of individuals who are knowledgeable and always up to work on the latest developments.
  • Other than just designing and developing your website, they’re also working towards planning out ways on how you can achieve your business goals through it.
  • There are constant revisions before the website is finally presented. Sometimes even the smallest of change involves many layers and masks that need to be altered.
  • Outsourcing web development company also means that, even after launch, your website is maintained time-to-time for all security updates. Thus, saving you and your customers from any future problems.

Instead of seeing your website’s development as an expense, look at it as a one-time investment. After all, running a startup is no joke. There can be numerous potential risks that can come your way – don’t let a DIY website be one!

We know how crucial a role your website can play for your business in today’s time. We’ve spent the last 9 years solving problems for startups and businesses across the world through technology and design thinking. Need a little help with your website? Just drop us a message, the coffee’s on us!