Costa Rica is always an attractive option to invest in Latin America; the outsourcing modality is growing and becoming more and more popular to USA companies who choose Costa Rica as their Outsourcing destination because of the many advantages the Country has, the Human Talent the Proximity with the US (this is where our name comes from!), and a great Business Environment. As the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency says, “in an innovative business world, Costa Rica is ready for the challenge of taking high tech industries and showing how a tradition of peace, education and innovation are the perfect formula to make business”   With the constitution in 1949, Costa Rica decided to ban any armed forces, making it one of only a handful of countries in the world without an army, still to this day. By investing in education instead of funding an army, Costa Rica now boasts a 98% literacy rate, the highest in Latin America. The Costa Rican workforce stands out for its high educational standards and outstanding productivity levels. These capabilities are the expected outcome of a historical commitment to pursue greater economic growth and higher living standards through an energetic and widespread educational policy […]

There are a lot of things to love about Costa Rica. It has great weather, tremendous biodiversity, no army, and top-notch education and health care. Now, the Country is also even greener than ever. According to Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), the country has produced 100 percent of its electricity without fossil fuels for the first 75 days of 2015. Wind, solar and biomass got a strong boost from hydropower, which benefited from heavy rains.   Costa Rica made a decision and it is determined to become, as a country, carbon-neutral by 2021, which seems an achievable goal given that the country is currently meeting around 95% of its energy needs from renewables, most of sourced from hydroelectric power plants, geothermal energy, wind farms, and biomass.   This is a remarkable decision if we see the general numbers from the biggest countries in the technology business and the energy sources they use to generate electricity. In a quick analysis, we can see that “dirty” energy sources are the main ones:   India: Close to 65% of the electricity used in 2014 were not clean, being coal the most important one (62%), and the others petroleum (0.5%) and Nuclear (2.5%)   […]

One additional aspect that is usually overlooked when choosing an outsourcing location and more specially when defining your outsourcing partner, is the cultural difference between countries and companies. Let me elaborate a little bit more on this.   The 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 may have problems implementing this” may actually be a polite way of saying, “We cannot do this…” or “I don’t have a clue on how to do this”    Other cultural barriers arise when finer points or nuances are misunderstood due to thinking within a different framework, specially when project failures or problems occur, and the need to communicate setbacks arise.   Many of our clients have had previous experience working with countries in the other side of the world and the cultural part has been an issue that occasionally have created  unforeseen problems that are hard to solve. In some cases, asking questions is seen as something “bad” from the provider side, or “a disrespect to the client who is explaining requirements”. Same thing […]

The outsourcing experience and agile development involve challenges that are faced in the day-to-day operation. We will be writing about the most important ones, based on our experience working with US clients for the last 10 years.   1- Communication:    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 […]

We, at Proximity, adopted Agile back in 2005 and have been working with it since then.   Agile is the label given to a growing number of methodologies with names like Scrum, Crystal, Adaptive, Feature-Driven Development and Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) among others.   These new development approaches are based on the premise that if you have competent developers, you can presume that they know how to write code. The problems your developers encounter, therefore, aren’t coding or technical issues and most likely will be organizational and communicational ones, and those are what the agile approaches attempt to address.   This is definitively a process where the culture of the organization weighs a lot to have an effective working model, and the way the client has been traditionally involved changes dramatically. If on top of that you add another factor like having resources out of your location, under an outsourcing model, the concept is even more interesting and challenging.   The question many clients ask us when thinking of outsourcing and Agile development is: How can I have a collaborative, flexible, rapid and adaptive model when my team, or part of it, is located thousands of miles from my office, […]