More Cautionary Tales of Offshoring

4 Jul ’05

The June 6-19 issue of Canadian Business (print only) features a column by Andrew Wald on the offshoring experience of ARsystems International of Toronto. AR systems outsourced software development, on a few occasions, to Shinetech in China. Generally, ARsystems was happy with the work, but for various reasons will likely not repeat the experience except in special circumstances. Key takeaways from the article:

  • The price was US$10-12 per hour
  • Shinetech hit deadlines reliably – typically, work would be ready in the morning when ARsystems opened for the day – and the quality was good
  • The tight integration of the outsourced projects with ARsystems’ other systems meant that coordination was complicated and time consuming
  • Coordination meant that Toronto staff sometimes had to stay late to liaise with offshore developers – this sapped the team’s motivation and energy
  • Coordination needs also meant more time spent developing clear requirements and specifications documentation
  • ARsystems will likely never again use a domestic third-party developer, and would certainly consider offshoring again, though most likely for standalone projects not requiring tight coordination with other company projects
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