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I Outsourced Mobile Front End Development to Vietnam

This is not some research backed article about why you should consider outsourced IT development to Vietnam over other countries. Rather it is just a personal account of my experiences with hiring a development team from Vietnam. I am going to try and summarise the Pros and Cons of how it all went.

First of all why did I choose Vietnam over neighbouring asian countries? My thought process went like this. It is quite common knowledge amongst IT folk that India and Philippines has had a huge impact on outsourced IT development for many years now. Supposedly quite cheap compared to your developed western cities if you want to build your own platform. However their industries have now evolved and don’t necessarily provide the same value as a few years ago. I can see the appeal if you are only an English speaker and want to work with people with good english ability as most people in India and Philippines will be speaking English in their daily lives. I felt like this would be the safe route.

But I wanted to try something different.

Can’t point to exact articles but in recent times have read a few articles on how:

  1. Thailand, China and Vietnam actually have quite modern IT skills.
  2. They already work with westerners but just not to the extent of India and Phils.
  3. Keen interest in western cultures so make an effort to understand the western way of working.
  4. Young, University educated IT ready workforce.
  5. Science and Maths School tests results outranks developed countries such as UK and USA!
  6. Labour costs are significantly lower.
  7. Vietnamese attrition rates amongst the lowest in the world. Extremely loyal workers.
  8. Flappy Bird and the CTO of Uber being of Vietnamese background.

It just happened that one of my connections here in Hong Kong introduced me to some Vietnamese development team. In the end I went with a recommendation.

How the Project was Set Up

I run a lean operation with me and my tech cofounder who looks after the back end. I prefer more of an Agile project methodology so that there is regular interaction between all. These are the steps we went through:

  1. Sign NDA and work contracts.
  2. Agree on scope and project delivery timeline.
  3. Agree on working model such as working hours and how we should communicate.
  4. Setup access for developer to our Trello Boards, Zeplin and Slack channel.
  5. Supply wireframes + UI to development team. We did most of the product design before we engaged the mobile developers.
  6. A brief update at the end of each working day.
  7. Regular build releases so that we could see progress on the product. This could be a new screen every couple of days.

Overall Impressions

Just going to list the overall feelings I have over the course of our engagement.

Vietnamese peoples English ability — We had very little issues with communication. Most of our interactions was through collaboration tools such as Slack and using Trello Boards which was extremely effective. English was a non issue.

IT Skillset- Our developer built both the iOS and Android versions of our app. I don’t feel like there is a difference at all between Vietnamese dudes skills and the tech guys i’ve worked with. They probably learn to code with the same materials everyone else learns from.

Bug testing took longer than expected and could have been handled better which delayed our launch by a few weeks. Next time will just plan for this better.

Pushback — Having worked with alot of developers over the years I expected some kinda push back on tasks but this wasn’t the case. They were quite accommodating to changes.

Exact Requirements — They built exactly to the supplied requirements. If you are not that IT savvy and expect to be led by a development team then you should make it clear upfront. Maybe I was expecting some recommendations on better ways to do things but I can’t complain because we got what we asked for.

With Costs it feels like I did get good value for money. Perhaps with a less hands on approach and a western team I estimate the costs would be at the very least double or even triple.

Looking at the current version product from the time and effort we put in I would say we have an A+ result.

What’s Next?

We have launched our app and it has been distributed both in iOS and Android versions. Currently I am collecting feedback from the community on how to improve the product. Then we will release future versions. I don’t see a reason why I wouldn’t continue with the Vietnamese.

My platform is involved in a market that is the fastest growing in South Korea. I am trying to figure out growth hacking initiatives there. If I could somehow get a South Korean involved in my app somehow I think this would give me a boost in that country. Maybe it could mean looking for a community manager there.

Are you looking for outsourced development in Asia? Leave me a comment if you have any questions. I would be happy to help answer any queries.

Exploring Use Cases for the mass adoption of Blockchain technology. Co Founder of Whalefolio.com