#2: Targeting The Right Country For Your Outsourcing Needs

This is article #2 in our Outsourcing Success series.

It’s a vital early decision. Which country is going to be right for your outsourced development team? Each region has its own strengths and weaknesses that will shape the results you get. But which should you choose for which kind of software project?

India leads the world on experience but emerging markets like Eastern Europe and South East Asia are hungry to prove themselves. I’m going to help clarify the choices with a brief rundown on the major players in the outsourcing market.

Your project requirements need to be clearly defined before you select an offshore partner. If you haven’t yet read our article on defining your project requirements, go there first! Otherwise, read on.

Regional Outsourcing Comparisons


A longstanding player in the field, India boasts a large pool of highly qualified software engineers. The standard of English is good – it’s an official language. Intellectual Property (IP) is strongly protected, and prices are competitive.

Possible downsides are the bewildering array of suppliers to choose from and high levels of competition meaning employees can be headhunted. India is ten to thirteen hours ahead of the US, but just five hours ahead of the UK allowing some crossover in the working day.


China is low cost, and again, many of the engineers are extremely skilled. However the level of English is a little lower, and there can be less project management experience, meaning more hands-on oversight from the customer. It is also worth being aware of political issues, such as corruption, which may affect your project.

Most developer teams in China will be seven or eight hours ahead of the UK, and fully twelve to sixteen hours ahead of the US!


If you need a high degree of skill, Russia could be a good bet. But beware, the IP protection is lax. Assess security measures and reputation ahead of time. The time difference from the UK has a range from three hours ahead to twelve hours, while for the US it’s between eight and twenty! Most developer teams will probably be no more than five hours ahead of the UK, though; so just eight to eleven hours ahead of the US in most cases.

Eastern Europe

This can be a mixed bag. Places like Poland have been building a strong reputation over the last few years, and are very much worth a look, but others such as Croatia and Bulgaria still lack experience. Those outside the Euro zone will likely offer good prices and are only one or two hours ahead of the UK, so just six to ten hours ahead of the US.


Vietnamese developers have a strong pool of skilled developers and are very low cost. However spoken English can be a problem and IP laws are not as tight as they should be. At seven hours ahead of the UK, they are about twelve to fifteen hours ahead of the US.


This is a very low-cost area with better spoken English than Vietnam, but fewer skills in development and project management. A simple, lower risk project might work best in this laid-back country. Eight hours ahead of the UK, thirteen to sixteen ahead of the US.

A word about “nearshore” outsourcing

Places that are nearer to the customer’s country, like Ireland to the UK or Canada and Mexico to the US, have long been the choice for people who wanted to keep their partners close. But with trade agreements up in the air in recent times, and prices generally being higher, it makes sense to look further afield.

Where I have mentioned time differences, consider that larger differences can mean there may be many middle-of-the-night meetings (unless you have an outsourcing advisor in your corner!)

Once you’ve selected the country of origin, check out our article on selecting your dream team!

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