Which is better? Domestic versus Overseas Team

Using domestic or overseas teams really depends on your budget, timeline, and how excellent your communication is. There is no one right answer here, but for Bixly we have found that there are fewer problems with communication, turnover, and burnout with our California based team.

Full Transcript Below

Andrew:

Welcome to another Bixly Tech Tuesday. On this Tech Tuesday, I’m joined by Bixly CEO, Cris Venegas, and we’re going to be talking about working with overseas teams versus domestic teams. And when I say domestic teams, those are just people in your local region, it doesn’t necessarily mean US-based. And overseas, meaning someone far away and very remote from you. So I just wanted to frame that.

Andrew:

So Cris.

Cris:

That’s a good definition.

Andrew:

It’s a good definition.

Andrew:

So Cris, for our first question, what are the differences between working with overseas and domestic teams?

Cris:

Sure. So you kind of touched on it already with the idea of defining them. So the biggest thing probably is going to be a time difference because you’re dealing with someone that either is in your city potentially. And again, domestic also is — I’m not counting in-office employees — I’m talking about someone that may still be in the same city, but again, they’re co-located or they’re potentially even in a different state. We’re a California based company so for us a domestic team will be anyone kind of in the United States or in California.

Andrew:

Kind of that two to three hour?

Cris:

Right, two to three hour time difference.

Andrew:

Yeah.

Cris:

Exactly. Whereas with an overseas team, you could be dealing with working in the Ukraine or working in India or Australia. Name a country, I don’t need to name all of them. But basically you’re dealing with potentially five, six, seven, 10, maybe even 14 hour time differences. If you’re working with a team in Australia, it is a huge time difference. So that’s something that is going to need to be taken into account when you’re building is that you’re talking today about stuff that maybe they’re working on tomorrow. So that’s one differentiating factor of the teams.

Cris:

There could also just be a language difference. So in most countries, we have English as a kind of the international language, but that may not necessarily be the first spoken language. So you’re going to be dealing with potentially communicating with someone that may not be used to English as their primary language.

Andrew:

Right.

Cris:

Or again, if you’re in Japan working with someone from the United States, maybe Japanese is not their first language.

Andrew:

Right.

Cris:

So not that there’s necessarily going to be a language barrier, but generally I tell people to remember the main colloquialisms and things that you may use in your country that seem kind of familiar to you, that may not feel the same to someone who’s located in a different country.

Andrew:

Right.

Cris:

So the way that you communicate is very important to them. And so there is going to be differences in maybe how you use certain words.

Andrew:

Sure.

Cris:

Which it adds to basically making it work or not sometimes.

Andrew:

And the most common one we hear is cost, right?

Cris:

Sure, oh yeah.

Andrew:

Typically overseas is going to be less expensive than dealing with domestic developers.

Cris:

Yeah, yeah. Depending on, again, where you’re located and the team that you’re working with overseas, there could be a cost of living differential. And because of that, it may either be more or less expensive working with someone overseas. But generally when people say, “Let’s work with someone that is non domestic,” it’s usually for the purpose of having some sort of cost savings.

Andrew:

Yeah.

Cris:

You are going to be working somewhere with a team that has a general overall lower cost of living and therefore can be more competitive with your rates. So I think those are kind of some of the big differences, but I know projects work both ways. I know that there’s teams that have had great success working with local teams. I know that there’s projects that have great success working with teams that are maybe, again, hours away as far as time difference. So what are some benefits that you think come from actually working with someone that is overseas or not within four or five hours of your timezone?

Andrew:

Sure, so probably the biggest one is the cost savings, right? So as long as you have a very strong understanding of your project, you have great communication skills, preferably you’re technical and know how to manage the project very well, then you can take advantage of certain cost savings. So there’s that. Other advantages is oftentimes these companies have a lot of developers or they have a lot of team members. And so you have different skill sets of people that you can choose from, because perhaps they have a very large team. So those are a couple options that come to mind.

Cris:

Got you. We’ve worked with teams, Bixly in particular has worked with teams that are overseas, and we’ve been able to find some very, very high talented individuals that way. And so, yeah, it’s pretty useful I think to work overseas.

Andrew:

So another benefit of having people in different timezones is if you need 24 seven support on your app.

Cris:

Got it.

Andrew:

Perhaps you have people in one region cover a certain eight hour block, you have people in a different region cover that block.

Cris:

That makes sense, yeah.

Andrew:

So you can spread out and kind of adjust with different time zones too if your product is being used internationally.

Cris:

So you’re never dealing with downtime at that point because you always have a team that now is actually domestically located in the area of the users.

Andrew:

Exactly.

Cris:

Yeah, that makes complete sense.

Andrew:

And maybe even close proximity to your users.

Cris:

Yeah, that’s cool. I hadn’t thought of that one actually, that’s a good one.

Cris:

What about domestic teams? So what about the team that again, may not physically be in your office, but is within an hour or two, probably located in the same country or region as your team? What are some benefits of that?

Andrew:

Sure, so the big one is going to be your timezones are very similar. Having someone who’s delayed by one, two, three hours, doesn’t typically produce much issues. When you’ve got someone that’s delayed by 12 hours, it’s very easy to lose a day in the mix of things, particularly if your communication isn’t excellent. And we’ve done some other videos, Tech Tuesdays on how to have excellent communication. But when you’ve got this timezone difference, if you didn’t clearly communicate to your developers what they need, and then they misunderstand and they turn around and communicate back to you, you could easily lose a day or two in there.

Cris:

So one thing in working with domestic teams is you can actually get what I would call kind of the local buy-in. So again, there’s a lot of times there’s initiatives of “buy local”. They may be for the sake of trying to keep actual funds within the local community, giving back to the community, that sort of thing. But I think there’s also just the local buy-in of if you’re working with a team that is in a very similar region, culturally speaking, they may kind of understand the ins and outs of your project in a way, or even have a buy-in.

Cris:

So if you’re working, for instance, McDonald’s is a bad idea because they’re everywhere internationally, but if you’re working for some local mom and pop burger joint, and you work with a team that is more international based, they’re probably going to do a fantastic job on your project. But if you get the team that actually eats at the burger joint because they live in the same community, in the neighborhood, I think there’s a certain amount of just intrinsic buy-in that that team could have. And so sometimes keeping your team more local, domestic based, actually gives them more insight into some of just —

Andrew:

Culturally, yeah.

Cris:

Yeah, some of that soft skill stuff that you can’t really even communicate.

Andrew:

Right.

Cris:

Possibly to someone that’s like, “I’ve never eaten at ma and pa’s burger joint.” So I think that’s kind of an interesting thing that can come from the domestic teams.

Andrew:

Yeah, I can see that. Also, just too in our experience working with Bixly with overseas teams, which we’ve done in the past, it definitely seems like the overseas teams tend to have more turnover. And so we’d find someone who is absolutely amazing and then maybe six months later they had been promoted and are not available to us anymore. And so then we have to vet a new person who’s not anywhere near in close proximity to us. It’s certainly not feasible that we’re going to meet them. And so, yeah, just it’s nice having more local people and just kind of minimizing that turnover so that you’ve got someone who can be part of your team for a long term. Not that overseas teams can’t do that, again it’s just kind of been in our experience there seems to be more turnover.

Cris:

Yeah. What are some benefits that you see as obviously chief of operations here? What are some of the benefits that you’re seeing from working with the domestic team?

Andrew:

The biggest one I see is just having that rapid communication. So I want to. with our developers — I mean our developers are either, some are in our office, some are California based, and there’s a few kind of on the periphery. But being able to hear from them quickly, just to have them in close proximity to us has been so practical. Because many of our clients, they’re in a hurry. I mean they’ve got a business idea, they want to get it to market. They don’t have time to burn. They don’t have money to burn either, but in many cases they especially don’t have time to burn.

Cris:

Yeah.

Andrew:

And they want to get a minimum viable product, this minimum feature set for their startup out there to start gathering that customer feedback and get investor money, get traction, and many times they’re in a hurry. And so being able to move rapidly for them to do this faster turnarounds and things like that is really beneficial.

Cris:

That makes sense. And when you’re dealing like we do with the idea of more time and materials based work, and again you’re mentioning MVPs and getting things to market quick and that sort of stuff, if you’re dealing with that time difference, it can just be so hard when you’re losing six hours, eight hours, 10 hours a day at a time. So pulling everybody just kind of more local allowed us to be able to have more of an agile development model. And again, if you’re doing more of what they call black box or even a fixed bid type contract, then as long as it’s like this thing’s done by Friday, this thing’s done by the following Friday, so on and so forth, you might have a little more leniency with how you deal with your team.

Andrew:

Yeah.

Andrew:

Another challenge too with working with people with vastly different time zone differences is just you may be communicating with them when they’re not at their sharpest. I mean just from firsthand experience, we had one client we were working with who one of their people was, when we were doing our call at 8:30 in the morning, it was like 10:00 at night for them. And so if it was us, we would be getting tired around that time.

Cris:

Yeah.

Andrew:

You’re probably not your sharpest, whereas everybody else just had their coffee and is just getting going. And they’re probably not drinking coffee at 10:00 at night. So that’s just kind of a natural disadvantage to having that big timezone difference.

Cris:

Yeah.

Andrew:

You want to work with people when they’re in their prime, not when they’re getting ready to go to sleep.

Cris:

And I think that leads into also another reason why maybe we’re seeing some of that turnaround was we worked with a couple amazing teams over kind of the formative years of Bixly out of the Philippines and out of Argentina. And these teams were so great at trying to mimic our timezone as much as possible. And so it was that, every time that we were on nine to five Pacific Standard Time, it was like 2:00 AM in the morning in the Philippines and yet they would just power through this.

Cris:

And over time, just doing a graveyard shift day in and day out and day in and day out, that became so hard I think for them to manage, and also even for us to just kind of feel comfortable doing. And so we encouraged them like, “No, no, it’s okay. Go ahead and work during your time. You don’t have to be up.” And they’re like, “No, we really want to work during your time to mirror it.” But it just kind of I think came to a place where ultimately we wanted to allow people to sleep during normal sleeping hours and work during normal work hours. And so we as a company have just kind of pivoted to going with the US domestic team.

Cris:

So if someone obviously wants to kind of get to know us a little bit better, maybe actually work with us, how do they go about doing that?

Andrew:

Sure. So you can go to our website and go ahead and contact us there. We also have the ability for you to sign up for a free consultation, and many times with Cris so he can help validate your business ideas, make sure Bixly is a good fit, and just make sure that you’re starting off on the right foot. We’re not here just to sell you something. We want to make sure that you can be successful and you have what you need so that it’s a win-win for everybody.

Andrew:

On our website, we also have a free custom software guide to help you just kind of get a feel for what it’s going to take to do your project so you can really understand the journey that you’re getting ready to go on with us. So I’d encourage you to go to our website and download that free custom software guide.

Cris:

Cool. So yeah, check out that contact page. I believe we’ve also linked to that download in the description to this video to make it easy for you. But we’d love to talk with you more. We’d love to, again, just work through exactly what you’re trying to build, give you some ideas of how to start off on the best foot and ultimately hopefully work with you long-term. So thanks everyone. We appreciate you taking some time with us on another Bixly Tech Tuesday. Cris and Andrew, signing off.

Originally published at https://blog.bixly.com on February 10, 2021.