Tech Leaders’ Lunch: Can Nearshore, Offshore and Onshore Teams All Play Nice Together?

At our recent Tech Leaders’ Lunch at the delicious Medlock Canteen, we delved into the challenges and opportunities of integrating nearshore, offshore, and onshore teams and asked, can they truly play nice together? The session, led by Amul Batra, Managing Director at Counter, brought together a group of CTOs who shared their experiences and valuable insights.

Here are the five key takeaways from the day.

5 Key Takeaways:

1. Context is King

If you’ve got mature engineering practices or a clear and specific project need, then you’re well placed to take full advantage of offshore, nearshore and onshore teams. If you’re lacking internal clarity though, you’re going to struggle to get a mix of partners all pulling in the same direction.

2. Treat Your Partners Like Your Team

If you want to get the most out of a dynamic team resource, you need a true partner relationship. From investing time in the getting to know you phase, to taking the opportunity to visit people in different regions or inviting partner resources to off-site team building. If you want to embed and integrate different teams, you need to build a cohesive team culture.
As one CTO noted “you’ve got to have a true partner relationship” if you want to see long-term success with your approach.

3. What’s Cheap Now Might Cost You Later

Too often decisions are made based on a budget line without considering the full implication. It’s essential to be realistic about expectations, understand that what seems like a cost-saving endeavour has the risk of becoming a future headache and be smart about where you spend. Changes in how R&D Tax Credits can be spent, ramp-up time, and management overheads often negate the apparent cost benefits of offshoring. A participant shared a common dilemma, “The cost savings that someone had written down on a spreadsheet weren’t actually being realised in the team.”

4. Meet People Where They’re At

If you decide to pursue offshore or nearshore teams, be mindful about the ways of working in the region you’re now tied to. Make sure you’re aware of how timelines for projects may differ, take the time to consider what will attract or retain staff in these regions, and always be cautious about how communications land. The key is to understand your partners’ cultural norms before imposing your own. This could require spending time in their countries to truly understand their motivations and achieve the best results. “It’s very similar to building a culture within your own team; it takes work,” one CTO noted.

5. Get Clear on What You Want and What You Need

In an ideal world, we all want a highly engaged team who can work autonomously without communication barriers. However, when you factor in budget constraints, staff changes, demands from the top and the ever-growing to-do list, you’re going to have to make some unforeseen choices. The clearer you are about your mission-critical projects, what drives your revenue and what connects with your customers, the better you’ll be able to decide when to invest in external resource or where you need to build up your own team.

What Comes Next?

Thank you to Medlock Canteen for the use of your private dining room, delicious food and exceptional service! Final thanks to our MD, Amul Batra and Technical Director, James Heggs for leading the discussions on the day. We look forward to continuing these conversations! If you’re interested in attending our next Tech Leaders’ Lunch, get in touch or sign up to our newsletter for updates.  

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