Why Costa Rica
Proximity is a software company in Costa Rica, that provide outsourcing technology services to clients in United States.
The outsourcing experience and agile development involve challenges that are faced in the day-to-day operation. The most relevant challenges, from our experience, are:
This involves language barriers and sometimes the need from many offshore firms to have onshore “point people” who speak “understandable” English. This is often a sign that the day-to-day dealing with offshore project managers, or engineers, will frequently breaks down.
Big differences in time zones also often hinder the communication process because the provider’s team will be working while the client’s team is sleeping and vice versa.
There’s an additional critical factor regarding communication. It is not just a matter of the language or the time zones. The “I feel good communicating with these guys” is something that goes beyond the right command of the English language. It is the “I understand what you mean and what you want. You understand what I mean so we can start working right away, with no delays translating or explaining more than needed”.
Something that our clients value tremendously is how easy is to communicate with our engineers. Their capacity to understand what the client is explaining or asking, their competency to provide ideas on different approaches based on previous experiences, and their commitment to make things happen is essential to us.
How it works? There’s no magic on this, it is a matter of experience. Our Client-Centric approach encourages permanent and direct interaction with all levels of our company including Engineers, Project Managers, QA, Architects, and Executive Management. No “translators” or onsite “facilitators” are needed.
We are in this together and we ask our clients to involve us as much as possible, providing us with as much access to the big picture of their business as they can. That way we will be able to provide much more value in return, letting you know our ideas, our experience and suggestions, becoming an extension of your development organization, transcending the “us’ and “them” model to work as single team.
2. Time zone and Distance Challenges:
Traditional offshore providers serving the US are usually located in drastically different time zones that generate delays in communication or complications in setting up effective meetings.
Long travel distances often obligate the client to schedule travels of at least 1-2 weeks at the offshore location, but the management of a team in Costa Rica is very convenient:
It is simpler, faster and cheaper to travel to Costa Rica from the US than to India, Eastern Europe, or China. As opposed to other countries, Costa Rica is a very safe destination
- Costa Rica is located in Central Standard Time.
- 2.5 – 5 Hours Flight from major US Cities.
- Direct Flights from major US cities.
A normal situation is to take a plane early in the morning, be in Costa Rica by noon, work all afternoon, all morning next day, catch up with the team and the project, and take the same plane the very next day back to the US.
3. Cultural Barrier Challenge:
The effect of different cultures may affect the communication process and the easiness needed to work effectively in an agile world.
Cultural barriers can be evident, or much subtler, such as when, “We will have problems implementing this” may actually be a polite way of saying, “We cannot do this…” or “I don’t have a clue on what are you talking about or how to do this”
Other cultural barriers arise when finer points or nuances are misunderstood due to thinking within a different framework, especially when project failures or problems occur, and the need to communicate setbacks arise.
Costa Rica has a “westernized” culture historically aligned with the US. Tourism brings 2 million people every year and the majority of those people come from the US.
Also, Costa Ricans have a culture that facilitates communication in a respectful but straightforward way. You will always receive our opinion, and the engineers will speak their minds based on the experience and knowledge from previous projects, within a professional environment that only brings food for thought to the table, moving to the action as soon as possible.
It is what we call the “Tico Touch” (“Tico” is a colloquial term for a native of Costa Rica) that represents our way of doing business, the friendliness, the openness to communicate effectively, the transparency we strive for in business relationships, and the understanding of the value we need and we want to add to be competitive.
Our clients like to visit us, to work with us. The country is secure, the food is great, the people are nice, and the landscape is beautiful!