How to Adopt Nearshore Agile Development in Latin America: Essential Guide

Besides its rich culture and verdant landscape, Latin America is increasingly becoming a popular destination for new-age outsourcing. In this article, we’ll explore why you should consider the region for agile development nearshoring. We’ll also explain what agile nearshoring entails and discuss why it’s steadily gaining traction.

To start us off, let’s get the basics right.

What Is Agile Development?

Agile development is a software development methodology that involves the creation of semi-autonomous, self-organized, and cross-functional teams to complete software development tasks in iterative and incremental steps. Unlike the Waterfall project management methodology (which was popular before the 90s), it doesn’t bind developers to follow rigid processes throughout a software program’s lifecycle. Instead, it grants them the freedom to stay flexible, adapt to changes, and prioritize collaboration over top-down management.

From the definition, some may argue that Agile development is not a methodology because it doesn’t outline specific tools or processes. If we think of it this way, we can say it’s a mindset or philosophy on how organizations should run their software development projects. Regardless of your preferred definition, the methodology/mindset follows the following four core principles:

  1. Interactions and Individuals over tools and processes 
  2. Responding to changes over following rigid plans
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Working software over comprehensive documentation

While defending why organizations should embrace this methodology, Jim Highsmith says in his book—Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products— that “If your goal is to deliver a product that meets a known and unchanging specification, then try a repeatable process. However, if your goal is to deliver a valuable product to a customer within some targeted boundaries when change and deadlines are significant factors, then reliable Agile processes work better.” 

It’s a no-brainer: Different projects have different requirements. That means you must adjust your project goals and timelines whenever possible to meet the ever-changing deliverables. Agile nearshore development facilitates this seamlessly.

Instead of adhering to a standard work methodology, agile development helps nearshore software development teams to scale down or size up their workload or process to meet a specific project’s needs. Not only does this guarantee faster and high-quality delivery, but it also ensures you can seamlessly roll with the punches as you take on different projects.

How Does Nearshore Agile Development Work?

As the name suggests, nearshore agile development involves outsourcing agile development processes to neighboring countries or regions (usually with time differences between 1 and 3 hours). If your business is in Canada or North America, this typically means outsourcing to companies in Latin America.

For a very long time, Canadian and American countries have been predominantly offshoring tech talent from distant countries in the Middle East and Africa. However, in recent years, nearshoring has gained considerable traction. And reasonably so—with the war in Ukraine and the heightening tensions between the East and the West, organizations in the two countries have increasingly begun looking the LATAM way. 

One of the sectors that has benefited immensely from this shift is agile development (and IT in general). Studies suggest that the region’s IT industry will grow by about 5.3% annually throughout the 2020s. These stats perfectly capture the quiet revolution unraveling in the global software development supply chain—more organizations are acknowledging LATAM’s potential in this sector.

Common tools used in nearshore agile development

If outsourcing your agile development projects to LATAM sounds like something you might be interested in, the next step is to understand the tools you need to implement this methodology. Below are a few examples:

  1. Agile Project Management Tools, such as Kanbanize, Jira, and Pivotal Tracker to enable team leaders to plan, prioritize, delegate, track, and visualize project tasks
  2. Version Control Systems  like Git and GitHub for collaborative code development, tracking changes and merging updates
  3. Instant Messaging Platforms like Slack, WhatsApp, and Telegram for quick, less formal communication between team members
  4. Collaborative Document Editing Tools like Google Docs, Dropbox, and SharePoint for in-house and nearshore team members to co-author and co-edit documents in real-time
  5. Video Conferencing Apps like Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype for virtual face-to-face meetings
  6. Project Management Software such as Jira, Trello, and Asana for documenting project information. tracking progress and managing tasks

So, What are the Perks of Nearshore Agile Software Development in Latin America?

Do you want to join the bandwagon that’s outsourcing their agile development projects to LATAM but aren’t sure if the juice will be worth the squeeze? Below are some potential benefits to help you make up your mind:

Access to larger talent pools at more pocket-friendly rates

As technology becomes more integral to business processes, the demand for software developers keeps increasing. As a result, it’s becoming more challenging to find top-tier talents within your locality, especially when operating on a tight budget. For example, the US Labor Department projects that the shortage of software engineers may reach an all-time high of 85.2 million globally by 2030. Currently, agile developers in Canada and the US make approximately $92,687 and $125,227 per year respectively.

Nearshoring allows you to outsource talent from a wider pool, enabling you to compare prices and expertise levels and settle on high-quality developers without overstretching your budget. LATAM specifically boasts a deep bench of tech professionals, thanks to the region’s increased investment in IT-related educational programs over the last few years. The best part is that outsourcing to this region enables you to enjoy this perk at almost half the regular price—you’ll only need to pay each developer an average of $60,000 per month.

You are probably thinking—what about offshoring to Asia, Africa, or Eastern Europe? Don’t these regions offer even lower rates? Well, while they charge slightly lower, they also come with several inconveniences like time and cultural differences that may overshadow the cost savings. Comparatively, LATAM enables you to cut costs without compromising on quality and convenience.

Language and cultural alignment

The agile methodology requires developers to create software programs that provide optimum value to clients. For this to happen, they must have a firm grasp of clients’ cultures, languages, interests, and pain points. Unfortunately, offshore talent might not have this level of familiarity with your organization’s needs because of geographical and cultural differences.

Even if you were to train them, they might not understand your culture and business model as well as LATAM talents would. That’s because developers from Latin America have almost similar cultures and languages to Canada and most parts of the US.

Aligned time zone benefits

Of course the most crucial benefit of nearshore outsourcing is time zone alignment. Nearshoring agile development professionals from LATAM means you can access them at your convenience. In fact, most countries in this region operate under UTC-4 and UTC-3 time zones, which means they have at least a four-hour overlap with most US states.

Some jurisdictions like Panama, Colombia, Mexico, and Cuba fall under UTC-5 and UTC-6 time zones, making them even closer. As such, nearshore teams from these regions can interact in real-time and complete projects simultaneously.

Efficient collaboration

One of the core tenets of agile development is interactions and individuals over tools and processes. The methodology requires executives to create collaborative workspaces that give developers semi-autonomy. This type of arrangement typically requires teams from similar time zones and with little to no cultural and language barriers—the kind of teams that you can only access through nearshoring. 

Should You Consider Nearshore Agile Development?

Do you want to address the talent shortage in your tech team without overstretching your budget or compromising on the quality of expertise and convenience? In that case, nearshore agile development in LATAM  is your best shot. But a little more goes into deciding whether this is the right solution for your company. Other vital considerations include:

  1. Are you looking for specialized talent to join your team? Is the agile software development skill your project needs is unavailable or too expensive in your local market? If so, nearshoring to Latin America can be an ideal solution. 
  2. Do you frequently experience seasonal workloads? Sometimes, you might require agile developers for specific short-term projects. In such cases, maintaining these specialists as in-house salaried employees might not be financially prudent. You can instead enter short-term or project-specific contracts with developers from LATAM. Doing so allows you to scale your team effectively while facilitating seamless flexibility during long-term projects.
  3. Are you struggling with excessive costs and reduced efficiency? Compared to traditional onboarding processes, nearshore onboarding saves on expenditure by giving companies access to top talent at reduced rates.
  4. Looking to boost your global presence and gain market insights? IT professionals from LATAM typically work with several companies from diverse industries globally. Therefore, contracting them enables your in-house team to gain global market and cultural insights through collaboration.

Nearshore Agile Development: The DevEngine Way!

Let’s face it: while integrating nearshore agile development methodologies sounds promising, it can still be complex if you don’t know what you’re doing. Common concerns include privacy and data security issues, different development techniques, coordination problems, and skepticism between in-house and nearshore teams, among many others. Fortunately, DevEngine is here to help. 

DevEngine is a nearshore agile development outsourcing company focused on bridging the talent gap between North American and Canadian organizations and first-class IT experts from Latin American countries. We’ve been doing this for a while, so we know exactly where to look and what to look for. Their impressive track record, evidenced by their Clutch reviews precedes them. 

Whether you’re interested in trying nearshore agile development with one hire or jumping straight in by recruiting a whole team, DevEngine can help you. 

Author Bio:

Dinesh Lakhwani

Dinesh Lakhwani, the entrepreneurial brain behind “TechCommuters,” achieved big things in the tech world. He started the company to make smart and user-friendly tech solutions. Thanks to his sharp thinking, focus on quality and the motto of never giving up, TechCommuters became a top player in the industry. His commitment to excellence has propelled the company to a leading position in the industry.

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