Top 10 mistakes startups do when they work with nearshoring development

In the globalized, interconnected business world of today, startups increasingly turn to nearshore as a strategic option to accelerate growth and achieve scalability. By extending their development capabilities to neighboring regions, startups can benefit from cost-effectiveness, skilled talent pools, and more manageable time zone differences compared to traditional offshoring.

However, nearshoring isn’t without its challenges. We’ve compiled a list of the top ten mistakes that startups often make when working with nearshore development companies. By recognizing and avoiding these common pitfalls, startups can ensure a more seamless, effective, and successful partnership.

Contents

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1. Not Involving the Nearshore Team in the Design Phase

Engaging the nearshore team from the get-go is paramount. By overlooking their input during the design phase, startups risk missing out on crucial insights that could refine the project’s direction. Involving the nearshore team from the outset fosters a shared understanding of project requirements and expectations, ensuring everyone is aligned right from the start.

 Example

The  Startup Alpha began development on a new software tool without involving their nearshore team from Poland. The nearshore team, with their local market knowledge and technical expertise, could have pointed out some potential design flaws and feature improvements at an early stage. But their input was missed, leading to a product redesign midway through the project, causing delays and additional costs.

2. Not Freezing Scope at the Right Time

The scope of a specific version or sprint should be cemented at the optimal moment to circumvent the perils of scope creep. Frequent, unmanaged changes to the scope can lead to disruptions, delays, and cost overruns, all of which can impede the nearshore team’s productivity and workflow.

Example

Beta Inc., a tech startup, began a project with a vague scope and kept adding new features throughout the development process. This constant scope creep led to timeline disruptions, overworked developers, and ultimately, an over-budget and delayed project.

3. Inadequate Communication

In any cross-border business arrangement, clear and effective communication is the lifeblood of success. Misunderstandings stemming from language differences, cultural nuances, or simply poor management can cause misalignment and potentially lead to project failure.

Example

A health tech startup, Gamma Corp., struggled with regular communication with their nearshore team due to language barriers and different work hours. This led to misunderstanding project requirements, causing delays and rework.

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4. No Clear Expectations

Clear expectations pave the way for effective collaboration. When project expectations, roles, responsibilities, and deliverables are not clearly defined and communicated, it can lead to confusion, inefficiency, and friction among team members.

Example

Delta Tech assigned a new web development project to a nearshore team without clear deliverables or deadlines. The result was confusion among the nearshore team about the project’s objectives, leading to deliverables that didn’t meet Delta Tech’s actual needs.

5. Lack of Trust

Trust forms the foundation of any successful partnership. A lack of face-to-face interaction may lead some startups to fall into the trap of micromanaging their nearshore team, resulting in decreased productivity and rising frustration levels.

Example

The Startup Epsilon, working with a nearshore team in Mexico, started micromanaging every task due to a lack of trust, leading to frustration among the nearshore team and low productivity.

6. Insufficient Planning and Coordination

Proper planning and coordination are indispensable for meeting deadlines, maintaining quality standards, and ensuring overall project cohesion. Without these, startups risk falling into a pattern of missed targets and inconsistent output.

Example

Zeta Inc. decided to nearshore a portion of its operations without a clear coordination strategy. This lack of planning led to misalignment of priorities, missed deadlines, and a disconnect in project cohesion.

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7. Not Adapting to Time Zone Differences

While nearshoring offers fewer time zone differences compared to offshoring, ignoring these differences can still lead to communication delays and extended turnaround times. It’s crucial to factor in these variations and adapt workflows accordingly.

Example

A startup called Eta outsourced their software development to a nearshore team in Poland but failed to consider the time difference. This resulted in delays in communication, longer turnaround times, and general project inefficiency.

8. Ignoring Cultural Differences

In international business, cultural sensitivity is key. Failing to understand and respect the cultural dynamics of the nearshore team can lead to miscommunication and strained relationships. Respecting and embracing these differences can help build a more harmonious and productive working relationship.

Example 

Theta LLC did not account for cultural holidays and work practices when planning their project timeline with a nearshore team in Spain. The result was unexpected delays and a strained relationship with the nearshore team.

9. Choosing the Cheapest Option

While cost-effectiveness is a significant benefit of nearshoring, startups that select a partner based solely on cost may be making a grave error. The importance of quality, expertise, and reliability should never be underestimated and should be equally considered alongside cost.

Example

Iota Enterprises chose a nearshore development company based solely on low costs and ended up with subpar code that needed to be redeveloped by another team, costing more in the long run.

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10. Not Visiting the Nearshore Team

Establishing personal connections can greatly enhance trust and understanding. Startups that do not prioritize visiting their nearshore teams may miss out on the opportunity to build these connections. Regular in-person visits can fortify relationships, improve communication, and lead to a more rewarding partnership. 

By understanding and avoiding these common mistakes, startups can maximize the benefits and minimize the pitfalls associated with nearshoring. Remember, a successful nearshoring strategy isn’t just about outsourcing tasks; it’s about forging strong partnerships based on trust, respect, and mutual understanding.  

Example 

Kappa Tech, despite having a nearshore team in Poland for two years, never visited the team. The lack of in-person interaction caused a slow erosion of trust and reduced the sense of team cohesion. Regular visits could have strengthened the working relationship and improved project outcomes.  

In each case, the startup could have avoided the mistake by respecting the principles of clear communication, trust, cultural understanding, effective planning, and personal interaction. Each misstep serves as a reminder that a nearshoring relationship is not merely transactional; it’s a partnership that requires mutual understanding and respect.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, navigating the realm of nearshoring is like a journey, one that is often riddled with both challenges and opportunities. It’s an adventurous endeavor where the destination promises efficiency, scalability, and potentially significant cost savings. However, to arrive at that destination, startups must be wary of the potential pitfalls that could impede their journey. By recognizing and sidestepping these common mistakes, they can ensure a smooth and fruitful nearshoring experience.

Each point mentioned above – from involving the nearshore team in the design phase to recognizing the value beyond cost – contributes to building a strong foundation for a successful partnership. After all, nearshoring isn’t merely about task execution; it’s about the seamless integration of your nearshore partner into your team, nurturing trust, and forging robust, long-lasting relationships that are the cornerstones of mutual growth and success.

Embrace the principles of clear communication, trust, cultural understanding, and effective planning, and you’ll be well on your way to a flourishing nearshoring partnership. Are you ready to embark on this journey? If so, our team is ready and equipped to guide you, ensuring your path to nearshoring is as seamless and successful as possible. Reach out today and let us help you navigate the waters of nearshoring with confidence and assurance.

To further evaluate your readiness for a successful nearshoring partnership and to identify any potential pitfalls, we invite you to complete our comprehensive checklist. This tool is designed to help you gauge where you stand and which areas may need more attention. You’ll also get a better sense of how to avoid the common mistakes startups often make when working with nearshore development companies.

It’s your chance to ensure you’re well-prepared for the journey ahead, to avoid missteps, and to start building the successful nearshore partnerships your startup needs to thrive.

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About the Authors

Damian Wasilewski

Damian Wasilewski

Project Manager
Business Development Manager

Tom Soroka

Tom Soroka

Leaware Founder
Business Development Manager

Carlos Lopes

Carlos Lopes

Marketing Specialist
Business Development Manager

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