10 Disadvantages of Offshore Development

When approaching digital product development, you may consider offshore development. Like many businesses, this may be driven by cost or you could be looking for ways to streamline your processes.

But whilst there are some advantages to offshore software development, it does come with its own risks. So before you commit to working with an offshore development firm, have a read of our list of ‘10 Disadvantages of Offshore Development’ to be sure you are making the right choice for your business.


What is Offshore Product Development?

Before we dive into the 10 disadvantages of offshore development, we will first explain the difference between offshoring and outsourcing. Although commonly seen as one in the same, there is one key difference when comparing the two:


Offshoring is the practice of relocating your work to another country, and although it is a form of outsourcing, it comes with it’s own unique challenges.

An example of this (and one we hear quite often!) is when a business engages with a offshore development firm abroad for their digital product development, anticipating their development cost will be reduced.


Outsourcing however is the practice of handing over a project (or part of it) to a third party specialist supplier in the UK to free-up internal resources or alleviate the need to increase headcount.

Outsourcing has commonly been used in industries such as accounting, but has become increasingly popular in software development in recent years.If your goal is to reduce costs, offshore development may seem like a good option, but let’s explore 10 disadvantages of offshoring your next project…

1. Failure to Understand Scope

The importance of scoping your requirements in the early stages is key to the overall success of your project. If not done properly, you risk a misaligned vision for the product and will end up pushing back your launch date until you have your desired outcome. Ever heard of the term ‘scope creep’? Without a clear definition and scope of work, you are doomed for delays and re-quotes from your offshore development firm.

2. Lack of Technical Knowledge

Your choice of partner should be based on the assumption that they know more about the tech than you do, and choosing the right technology is an important step in the software development process.

Don’t allow the wrong decision to be made based on speed or budget, it will only punish you in the long run.

3. Expectations vs. Reality

Some offshore development companies will promise you the world at a low price just to secure the deal. Of course all businesses need to make a profit, but make sure it’s not at the expense of your needs. 

They say ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’.

4. Communication Barriers

It’s safe to assume that when offshoring the majority of the team you will be working with are speaking English as their second language. This can make communication and collaboration challenging, and has the potential to result in mistakes and misunderstandings.

5. Cultural and Social Differences

Different cultural and social nuances can have a big impact on the successful delivery of your project.

Whether it’s something as simple as a religious holiday or the typical working arrangements of your chosen country. It’s vital to understand the cultural and social differences when going abroad.

6. Flexibility and Time Zones

One of the biggest challenges when offshoring is the time zone and the flexibility to work around your schedule. Unless they have agreed to working outside of their typical working hours, you will be forever waiting for responses, which will delay your project.Think about how you will communicate with your offshore development agency and how frequently you will catch-up on the progress of your project.

7. Poor Coding Practices

One of the biggest risks you face will be quality of work, and without the ability to oversee every aspect of their work, you could end up with an unusable product and no recourse.

How confident are you that the chosen supplier will not cut corners?

8. Not Built to Last

Heavy workloads and a high attrition rate is common when dealing with offshore development firms.

There will be little incentive for your offshore developer to create something ‘built to last’. 

When building a successful digital project, scalability is key. Think about who will be picking up the code for future developments and how easy it will be to maintain.

9. Poor Testing Practices

Small bugs and errors are not uncommon when releasing your product to market for the first time. But your chosen partner should minimise this risk by having a stringent QA process in place.

You should have visibility over what is included within the testing phase and who is responsible from the outset.

10. Ignoring the Expertise at Home

A UK based digital product development agency with experience in delivering successful and profitable products should not be ignored.

Take advantage of the knowledge they have gained working across multiple industry sectors and you won’t be disappointed.

Why should you outsource your next project?

Here at Code23, we offer the full support of our expert digital product development team. From project managers, UX designers, digital managers, developers and even advice from our in-house marketing team, a full support system is in place here in the UK for your business.

Having worked in a wide variety of industries, from online retail and e-commerce systems, to platforms in the financial, music, wellness, education and trade sectors, and with every sector having a set of bespoke challenges to overcome. Your project can benefit from our multi-sector experience, creating a stress tested and profit generating business from day one.

Now that you have a better understanding of the challenges of offshore development, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with our experienced team to discuss your next project.