Because it is not easy for many organizations to find good developers in the country, nearshoring often offers a great solution. Provide builds nearshore software development teams for Enterprise and SME organizations that have the right skills, but also fit within a certain corporate culture. A good example of this is how we did this for Pro4all, supplier of innovative software solutions for the construction and manufacturing industries.

We spoke with Wouter Coebergh and Arjan Kalfsbeek of Pro4all about their choice for nearshoring, how the collaboration went and what it will look like in the future.

Choosing nearshoring

Pro4all has had experience in the past with outsourcing development work to both Asia and Eastern Europe. “At Pro4all we have a strong corporate culture. We value certain manners and a certain culture. When I look back on the past two years with Provide in this way, I conclude that we have been able to find it best at our longitude in Europe, which is Valencia,” says Coebergh. “The further you cross the latitude, the different those manners become. This sometimes makes team integration and working together more difficult.” The ‘you ask, we turn’ attitude doesn’t fit Pro4all’s corporate culture. “We don’t really have a consultative culture, but we do like to have good discussions and make quick decisions,” Coebergh continues. The moment the developers from the Spanish development team realized that contributing ideas was not only appreciated, but even encouraged, has created a fun dynamic. “They are smart guys with smart ideas, and we want to make the best use of that.”

Because there is a lot of room for personal input at Pro4all, a Spanish developer also came up with the idea of reducing the impact of absence by increasing the size of the teams. The latter had previously worked in larger teams and noticed that the impact was much lower as a result. “It might have been obvious because of the strong staff growth over the past year, but you have to be open to it,” says Coebergh. “And this is what we are going to implement soon. We think shaping the whole team together, with the whole team, is a very logical way of working.”

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The start

“We first started with a small team in Spain consisting of 2 people,” says Coebergh. “We started with the idea that the Spanish team would be completely separate from the Dutch team and that they would mainly focus on maintaining one of the legacy products of the old packages.”

There was an enthusiastic response to this from the Dutch team, but at a certain point it was no longer feasible to keep the teams separate. Besides the fact that the
constant maintenance work became very monotonous, we also recognized that the Spanish team could be used for much more. The timing of this was perfect, because at that time Pro4all already had a plan to integrate the back-end and front-end teams and the integration of the nearshoring team could be included in that plan.

Because the cooperation with the Spanish developers went well and finding new developers in Spain was both easier and more cost-efficient, Pro4all immediately decided to expand the team in Spain. After that, things went pretty fast. The team was scaled up from 3 to about 10 people in a fairly short time, with both .Net, React and QA specialists. “And we are really satisfied with this,” says Coebergh. “Also because we were able to find the right candidates quickly.”

Integration of the teams

“At first, you didn’t have the feeling that the Spanish developers were ‘part of the team’, because our Dutch team of developers actually saw them too little. But that has really changed since the integration of the teams,” says Coebergh. The idea that the rise of remote working has made the integration easier is shared. “It was actually now as easy as adding the Spanish developers to the Teams call and a bit of expectation management. Before this, I don’t think we could have done that, and we might have had a lot more resistance,” continues Kalfsbeek.

“The team was scaled up from 3 to about 10 people in a fairly short period of time.”

Tips for companies that wan’t to start nearshoring

“Above all, you shouldn’t take it too lightly and think ‘oh, we’ll just start a team there,’” says Coebergh. “We select people who are excellent at English, because the teams have to be able to communicate well with each other. Expectation management towards your own people is also very important: explaining that they will not be replaced and explaining the reasoning behind it.” It’s a choice you make for the longer term and new people can start working quickly, but they also need to be trained. Just like someone in the Netherlands. Provide has made it as easy as possible, so the coaching of the existing team and new entrants goes well. But there are always a few things you have to do yourself, like internal expectation management and making sure internal communication is good. Don’t think about it too lightly and do it in steps.”

“Looking back, we thought it would work well to keep the team separate, but I think now that it’s combined, it’s more fun for everyone,” Kalfsbeek says. “And also that it actually works better. There was nothing wrong with the initial idea, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The way it is now is more fun for everyone, and we get more value out of the overall team.”

Vision for the future

By 2030, Pro4all wants to have 1 million paying users in their software. “We still have about 8 years for that. If the cooperation continues to go like this and the need for designers and developers continues to grow like it did, we see no reason to reduce or stop the cooperation with Provide,” says Kalfsbeek. “Also because it will remain difficult to find good developers for the foreseeable future. I don’t think that situation will change any time soon.”

“The way things are now is more fun for everyone and we get more value out of the overall team.”

How does Provide help?

Provide takes the concerns about nearshoring completely out of your hands. We do this by focusing on the culture and personality of both parties during the matching processes and by providing all our projects with a dedicated project manager. With over 10 years of experience and our tailored approach, we can ensure the success of all our clients. We help with the right strategy by answering the following questions:

  • How do you structure the setup of your nearshore development team?
  • How can you set up nearshore development effectively?
  • How can you identify the bottlenecks in your organization?
  • How can you prevent friction within your team?
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