Hi everyone, my name is José, and I work for an amazing Colombian-based, software development company, called Ceiba. There I work with US companies, and even though it’s been quite a challenge for many reasons, here is a quick list that you may consider if you are looking to hire your dream team in a foreign country.
- In order to grow in the North American market, you must have people speaking the language. Also, these people should have a clear technical understanding and solid development skills. We can all agree that having an informal conversation is not the same as having a deep technical conversation. So finding the right team members with solid English skills that can also write great code is the most common challenge I have observed.
- Hiring English-speaking people (developers, project managers, sales representatives, etc.) makes sense if you have a client base; but, if you don’t, do you go out there and hire an English-speaking team from a foreign country? The chicken or the egg problem.
- Trying to get into a market where you do not have a lot of experience or the presence is also a big challenge.
At Ceiba, we have been working hard to expand into the North American market for a while now, and I feel lucky to be working directly with our North American clients as a tech lead, helping them grow their business across the country, and, certainly, contributing to increasing their cultural mindset.
Now that we have some traction in the US market, and have a portfolio of active US-based clients, I want to share my experience with you.
We got you!
- The language: We are capable of understanding the requirements being handled to you. The jokes or clues in a conversation are something really important to us.
- Fulfill deadlines: We know that for some non-US clients, project deadlines can be moved at the last minute, and usually, it does not represent an issue. But, for most foreign clients, this is a no-go. Deadlines are often tied to launches and should not be moved.
- Being on time: This is something our clients value, and that we accomplish without effort. In the experience I’ve had in some other companies, being late is quite common, and we could also say “folkloric” or expected. Not for us!
- We improve on the go!: If you are looking to hire a team in a foreign company, you may face that the team doesn’t have all the skills required to perform. In those cases, we take some time to train the developers in the selected tech stack, and if you, as a company, have templates, we take some time to learn them too. Also, for us, it’s very important to have every requirement in place to guarantee an easy project start up. We are talking about :
- Credentials to access repositories and tools, i.e: Jira, CI/CD Tools, etc.
- Environments: usually dev, stage, production.
- Architecture guides or designs
- Tooling : SDK, IDE, etc.
- Coding standards: we do have those, but if at your end, there’s a different set; we can always follow or suggest
You may also be interested in: Ceiba continues to grow and receives the Great Place to Work and Great Culture to Innovate …
Hire down the road
While you look to expand and to hire the best team from a foreign country, we know you also expect them to participate actively. It means: being an active part of discussion, decision-making, design process, etc. You want an ally to help you design and build solutions, and not just “a team augmentation”.
We take pride in leveraging Scrum methodology (after all, we are an Agile Company). Ceremonies like, daily, planning, tasking, review, retro, or backlog refinement; are required for us to be with your business, to grab a more understanding of what we’re designing or building, keep everybody aligned, and for transparency purposes as well.
What I’ve learned
I’m always open to learning new technologies, and it is a highly valued skill. Just working for a couple of clients, I’ve picked up a few technologies in quite a short time.
Businesses can take a great advantage when they decide to hire our agile teams. The DevOps’ skills we’ve put to test because some clients are not mature enough in that area, are allowing us to level up several IT processes and the company’s objectives.
Teamwork is one of the most important things. We know how and when to reach our teammates in order to get help to fulfill commitments. Our teams are multidisciplinary, meaning team members specialize in very specific areas, and if you need help in that area, then you will always get support. In our company, our teams consist of developers, tech leads and project managers. Besides them, we have a specialized team (Swat Team) whose function is to get in, solve issues and get out. Of course, our client base can make use of them too.
Be prepared: we could agree on this, right ? But what does it mean ? It means having a clear understanding of the project/product/process your company is trying to create/improve; having a clear scope of what you are trying to achieve. With that being said, every member of the team should have the same clarity of every aspect of the work to be done. Don’t let the knowledge and valuable information be limited by the old “hierarchy of roles”, you’d be surprised how much, ideas can grow within a multidisciplinary and now even more so, a multicultural team.
Let’s communicate: Slack, teams, hangouts, email, or phone. Use any channel to communicate your needs, and it’s important to use more than one, making sure you deliver the message.
Be an active part of the crew: let people see you, participate, express your ideas. Don’t be afraid of being wrong, but try always to be right. In the end, when you hire a dream team from a foreign company, you may want to be their dream job, too.
If you have had the opportunity to hire a foreign team, let me know what you think are the perks involved. Comments are greatly appreciated.
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