Outsourcing Development for Startups: Eastern Europe

As a former Director at Monster.com my roles had been primarily focused on business development and sales, so launching a web-based start-up posed some technical challenges. The strategy I used to overcome this hurdle was to outsource the software development to a suitably qualified vendor.


While undertaking a search for a suitable partner I looked at proposals from companies in The Philippines and India, but eventually settled upon an organisation in Eastern Europe, specifically the Ukraine. Although choosing one of the former locations would have certainly been cheaper initially, I did have some concerns about both the quality of the final product and it was essential that the resulting platform be both robust and scalable.

While I’ve been quite pleased with the final outcome in our project, there are a number of challenges that I’d particularly encourage you to avoid.

  1. Under-specifying the Solution: Leaving your requirements open to interpretation by even the most talented developers will require them to make assumptions that may not fit your business model or desired user experience. Eastern European developers are known to be details focused, just make sure you give them enough to work with.
  2. Communicating Only Electronically: While we didn’t encounter language difficulties as such, there were times when electronic communication suffered from messages being ‘lost in translation’. I’d suggest a regular schedule of telephone and/or Skype conference call is wise along with ideally meeting the team in person if at all possible.
  3. Avoiding Visible Milestones:The best projects have staged deliverables that allow you to physically see the progress being made. One of our problems was reliance upon a large single deadline and assurances that ‘everything is fine’ when it clearly was not.

Select your Eastern European software developer carefully, avoid these pitfalls and look forward to a great outcome.

Before launching InsideTrak, Mike spent five years in the US working at the headquarters of global online employment giant Monster.com. Here he held Director level roles with responsibilities including strategy, sales and global accounts management.

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