Devlane Blog

Advanced Guide to Nearshore Software Development in Latam: How to Choose the Right Partner?

We know that many concerns arise when choosing a Staff Augmentation company in Latam. What qualities should it have for a successful Team Extension? Let's discover the Best Practices together.

Adrian Sanchez & Matias Acuña
June 13, 2024

Now that you have the ABCs for scaling your software team with developers in Latin America, it's time to ensure a lasting team extension. There are many factors that can prevent you from quickly reaching the frustration of needing new developers... or a new Nearshoring partner! In our extensive experience in the Nearshore Software Development sector, we've found that success isn't just about technical talent, but also about many other aspects that contribute to excellence. Then, let's discover them:

Choosing a Reliable and Efficient Partner

First and foremost, it's important to separate the wheat from the chaff: a Staff Augmentation company is not the same as a staffing agency. The former acts as a contractor company that frees you from legal hiring risks, while the latter is merely a recruitment agency that does not reduce other burdens. Therefore, the partner you evaluate should not only facilitate the search for candidates but also relieve you of administrative overload by taking care of:

  • Onboarding
  • Purchase, setup, delivery, and repair of hardware
  • Tax and hiring cost management
  • Payroll according to each country's regulations
  • PTO and sick leave management
  • Benefits and rewards
  • Travel-related paperwork for your developers
  • Offboarding

Any bureaucratic headache your partner can avoid for you will be one less concern on your way to achieving your business objectives. Additionally, several aspects indicate the seriousness of your Nearshoring partner and their good business practices:

  • Not charging a fee to start a Talent Acquisition process.
  • Having their own bench, which can speed up your selection process.
  • Not promising to find candidates ASAP, but rather taking the time to deeply understand your needs and commit to quality.
  • The timelines reflect the size of your partner: if they estimate a hiring time of more than 40 days, they probably have a very small Talent Acquisition team or haven't optimized their processes properly. They should stay below that timeline.
  • A transparent and stable hourly rate without cost surprises. Rates should clearly reflect the seniority of the candidates, the demand for the technologies they work with, and a salary expectation appropriate to their country of origin.
  • Continuous Support: Make sure they assign people who are fully dedicated to support the developers you hire and your team, to make sure the Team Extension reaches its full potential.

Another aspect to evaluate is your partner's selection process, as a slow hiring flow can cause valuable candidates to be lost. Therefore, look for these qualities:

  • Balanced timing: Is the process too long? Too short?
  • Agility: Are there repetitive or unnecessary steps?
  • Autonomy: Does the process require your constant participation?
  • Communication: Are there feedback instances with your company? Do they consider possible adjustments in the requirements or search parameters?
  • Active listening: Are you considered when defining technical interviews or other evaluations?
  • Expertise in evaluation: How do they verify English proficiency? Do they have expert engineers to conduct technical evaluations? Do they have methods or personnel with psychological expertise to assess soft skills?
  • Follow-up: Do you receive updates on your searches' progress? Do they share their insights or reasons for recommending candidates?

Once You've Chosen a Partner, Keep Things Neat on Your End

Set clear expectations from the beginning regarding communication, collaboration, and workflow. This proactive approach minimizes potential misunderstandings and ensures a smoother working relationship with your remote team.

Communication Protocols

  • Preferred channels: Specify which tools will be used for daily updates (e.g., Slack), video conferences (e.g., Zoom), and urgent issues (e.g., email or phone).
  • Expected response times: Be realistic about time zone differences but establish guidelines on when developers should acknowledge messages and generally be online.
  • Precise points of contact: Have primary and secondary contacts on your side and request the same from your partner.

Working Hours

  • Overlap: If certain hours are crucial for real-time collaboration, agree on this in advance. Flexibility is important with remote work, but it will be beneficial to have some overlap hours with your internal team.
  • Availability for urgent matters: Discuss how to handle urgent issues that may occur outside standard working hours and establish compensation policies if applicable.

Project Management

  • Tools: Choose a project management tool that allows easy task assignment, tracking, and file sharing. Ensure your remote developers are familiar with the chosen system.
  • Methodology: If your company adheres to a specific methodology (Scrum, Agile, etc.), explain it and clarify how your remote team will integrate into those processes. Note that if your partner already applies the same methods as your team, the transition will be much smoother.

Code Reviews and Feedback

  • Process: Establish a clear process for code reviews (e.g., through tools like GitHub), including expectations for review response times.
  • Feedback style: Ensure a transparent approach to providing feedback, fostering a constructive and supportive environment for your remote team. Maintain your remote team's motivation: if your partner has initiatives to recognize your developers' performance, discuss the possibility of participating in them.

Additional Tips

  • Document everything: Beyond what your partner prepares, draft a shared document outlining all agreed-upon expectations. This serves as a reference point and avoids confusion later.
  • Cultural considerations: Be mindful of potential cultural differences in communication styles and feedback preferences. Clear onboarding can address this in advance.
  • Iterative approach: Be prepared to adjust and refine expectations as needed, especially in the early stages of working together.

Best Practices for a Smooth Transition

Before Going Talent Hunting, Fine-Tune Your Aim

When seeking new engineers, time is crucial. Technological talent is scarce, with many companies competing for it. Clarifying your needs upfront avoids wasted time on unsuitable candidates. We believe that you reach the right fit by investing time in a thorough needs assessment before your first interview with a nearshoring partner.

It is important to analyze and define:

  • Seniority level: When deciding whether you need a Junior, Mid, or Senior developer, be realistic based on your budget and the complexity of the tasks they will have to perform.
  • Expertise level: Consider not only the years of experience but also expertise in a specific industry, for example.
  • Most specific or essential skills: Programming languages, technologies, frameworks, databases, etc.
  • General skills or knowledge.
  • Desired soft skills: Leadership, self-sufficiency, team management, active listening, good communication, experience giving feedback, etc.
  • Specific needs of your project, such as experience in Machine Learning, knowledge of Artificial Intelligence, experience creating solutions or tools from scratch.
  • All the roles you need to expand your team.
  • The key aspects of your culture that the candidate must align with: Do you have a more autonomous or more supervised work culture? Do you need the developer to be available to travel to North America several times a year? Are you looking for professionals who adapt to a hierarchical or more horizontal leadership?

This strategic step may seem slow at first, but it will save you a significant amount of time and resources in the short and long term. Here are some of the advantages of fine-tuning your aim first:

  • Segmented search: Instead of casting a wide net and filtering irrelevant resumes, a clear needs assessment allows you to create specific job descriptions and focus your search. This attracts candidates who are truly compatible with your requirements.
  • Optimized evaluations: Knowing the exact technical skills, experience, and even desired personality traits you need allows for more effective interviews. This streamlines hiring times and avoids repeated evaluation rounds.
  • Quick onboarding: If there is a precise understanding of the position, onboarding can also be carried out with clear responsibilities and a defined workflow. This way, your developer can easily adapt and start working and adding value sooner than expected.
  • Natural cultural adaptation: Integration is much smoother if the developer understands the technical needs, the job goals, the work modality, and how their new role complements the strengths of the existing team.

By taking this crucial step, you will increase your chances of finding developers who not only excel technically but also seamlessly integrate into your team, allowing you to achieve your project goals more quickly and efficiently.

The Advantage of Having a Partner Who Understands Your Needs

Throughout our experience scaling software development teams across various industries, we've learned to support very different needs and overcome obstacles you might encounter today. Today, we put all our learnings at your service for an agile Team Extension process.

Rigorous Research Beyond Technology

Not only do we focus on high-level hard skills. We've developed a recruiting process that identifies software engineers with outstanding English proficiency, values aligned with your company's, adaptability, and interpersonal skills. Only through this approach do we achieve a successful cultural fit.

Simple and Hassle-Free Hiring

Not being a staffing agency, our service is all-inclusive, handling every aspect of the hiring process from start to finish. We provide detailed onboarding checklists, facilitate introductions with key stakeholders, and ensure that your new developer has access to the necessary technology. Additionally, we ensure they have a clear understanding of your work processes from day one.

Continuous Support, Not Just a Handoff

We create long-term partnerships, both with our clients and our Laners. That's why, unlike many other Nearshoring or Outsourcing companies, we provide you with a dedicated primary contact throughout your journey with Devlane. This is the Team Engagement Advisor, a manager in constant communication with your team who, among other things:

  • Facilitates the adaptation of your hired developers.
  • Enhances their development and learning curve, providing materials and proposing training or courses if necessary.
  • Maintains performance at the desired standards.
  • Regularly follows up on your needs and feedback.
  • Motivates and rewards your developers' work.
  • Minimizes friction and prevents future problems.

Tangible Success and Decisive Business Impact

Using one of the most disruptive companies globally as an example, Grindr achieved a 35% cost reduction after expanding their team with Devlane to over 60 engineers. This expansion involved restructuring their teams into Fullstack with Mobile, Backend, and QA specialties, and implementing comprehensive QA processes.

The improvements resulted in a reduction of system downtime from 174 hours per year to just 17, leading to decreased negative feedback and increased social approval. As a result, Grindr experienced a 158% growth in market value and became publicly listed, showcasing how technical excellence can significantly impact a business.

We know the pain points and concerns our clients face when finding tech talent: it truly is an obstacle course. That's why we invite you to take a Smart Lane towards a definitive, hassle-free Team Extension that enhances your software team and ensures its longevity.

Here are some of the reasons why the most forward-thinking companies, from startups to Fortune 500, choose us:

  • Time and resource-saving: Our talent experts, along with our extensive network in Latam, apply data-driven strategies to optimize your hiring process, freeing you to focus on your core business.
  • Risk reduction: We manage cross-border hiring complexities and ensure compliance, providing peace of mind.
  • Building collaborative teams: Our cultural fit emphasis fosters teamwork and prevents remote developers from feeling isolated.
  • Talent retention and empowerment: We prioritize the well-being and career growth of each hire, resulting in an average tenure of 1 year and 9 months for engineers at Devlane. Notably, 72% of engineers who started with us in 2020 continue to be part of our team.
  • Data security: Our ISO 27001-certified company employs cybersecurity expert engineers to safeguard your sensitive data using international standardized processes.

We hope our insights on Nearshoring are useful for choosing your next partner and starting to hire talent in Latin America. We have come a long way to become one of the Top 5 Staff Augmentation companies in the world, and we are happy to share our learnings with you. 

Would you like to change the obstacle course for a Smart Lane? Engage with our talent experts here.