Smart CEOs know that having mediocre talent is bad for the bottom line. I’ve said many times that a CEO only has to focus on five things to be successful and hiring the best is one of them.
CEO Coaching International client, Ashley Leonard, CEO of Verismic, has to compete with behemoths like Adobe, Google and Apple for an IT company’s most valuable resource: software developers. Hiring talented engineers to drive innovation in the highly competitive SaaS industry had been a challenge.
I visited Kiev, Ukraine, to see how accessing top-tier developers overseas allowed Ashley to address widespread talent shortages – an issue that is currently plaguing companies of all sizes.
Verismic already had development teams in US, UK and Australia but needed to accelerate its software development lifecycle while controlling costs. He partnered with International Development Resources (IDR) in Kiev, Ukraine to build a team of 30 developers, creating a competitive advantage and lowering development costs by 60%.
Here are Ashley’s thoughts on how to be successful with overseas software development:
1. You Cannot Outsource It All
Many entrepreneurs think that they can hire an offshore company to develop their big idea, however, you’ll never be able to outsource your vision. It is vital that you have someone on your leadership team responsible for mapping your vision, the business’s requirements and the technical requirements. The more information you provide to the development team, the more likely you will get exactly the product you envisioned, on time and without exceeding the budget. Clear communication will ensure that what is developed meets the business requirements the first time.
2. All Teams Need a Leader
Many organizations fail when building development teams overseas because the remote team didn’t have leadership. Start with hiring a Senior Developer or Team Lead and then build a team around that core person.
3. Location, Location, Location
Verismic looked at a lot of locations for overseas development. They selected Ukraine because the competition for top talent was not as high as some other traditional outsourcing locations, like India. Kiev is easy to get to, with no VISA requirements to visit for US and European citizens and is only a one- or two-hour time difference from Western Europe. Ukraine was also more culturally similar, it’s considered a low-context culture, same as in the West. This means that facts and figures are more important than personal relationships, while in most of Asia, top priority is given to honor, reputation and ‘face.’
4. The Cheapest Is Not Always the Cheapest
India and the Philippines may offer lower cost per hour developers than Ukraine, but quality and low turnover are vital. There is an abundance of great talent in Kiev, every year more than 36,000 students graduate from local universities with degrees in IT-related fields. The offices at IDR also provide a Silicon Valley-esque environment, perfect for engaging the mostly millennial workforce. All of this has led to lower staff turnover and higher productivity.
5. You Will Still Need to Travel
The more you can do to make your offshore team feel part of your core organization, the better. Plan on having a few members of your remote team visit your home offices a couple of times a year. It’s also a good idea to have your development team lead plan on visiting the offshore team twice a year. This time and investment will pay huge results in aligning and connecting the team with the business.
CEOs will continue to compete through innovation, particularly in the world of software. The challenge businesses face is finding the right team members to implement those innovative ideas.
About Mark Moses
Mark Moses is the Founding Partner of CEO Coaching International and the Amazon Bestselling author of Make Big Happen. His firm coaches over 190 of the world’s top high-growth entrepreneurs and CEO’s on how to dramatically grow their revenues and profits, implement the most effective strategies, become better leaders, grow their people, build accountability systems, and elevate their own performance. Mark has won Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award and the Blue Chip Enterprise award for overcoming adversity. His last company ranked #1 Fastest-Growing Company in Los Angeles as well as #10 on the Inc. 500 of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. He has completed 12 full distance Ironman Triathlons including the Hawaii Ironman World Championship 5 times.
About CEO Coaching International
CEO Coaching International works with the world’s top entrepreneurs, CEOs, and companies to dramatically grow their business, develop their people, and elevate their overall performance. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 500 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 25 countries. Every coach at CEO Coaching International is a former CEO or President that has made big happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $1 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight and nine figure exits. CEOs and entrepreneurs working with CEO Coaching International for three years or more have experienced an average EBITDA CAGR of 66.4% during their time as a client, more than five times the national average. For more information, please visit: https://www.ceocoachinginternational.com