Hungary: A Safe Haven for Offshore Software Development

Budapest, Hungary

With its rich engineering pedigree and EU/NATO membership, Hungary stands out as one of the best offshore software development countries in the world.

We’ve been spoiled. For a few decades, we have not had to worry about political stability when choosing an outsourcing country to build our remote teams. Russian aggression in Eastern Europe reminds us that geopolitical factors can’t be ignored when assessing outsourcing risk.

For several reasons, many now consider Hungary a safe haven for Agile Offshore Software Development.

Why Hungary Tops the Best Offshore Software Development Countries

Hungary is a Member of NATO and the EU

Some Eastern European countries, including the Baltic States, are now at risk from Russian aggression. As a Central European country, and being a member of both the EU & NATO, Hungary is considered a stable outsourcing destination.

Engineering Classes are Taught Exclusively in English

According to EF EPI, the preeminent English Proficiency rating body in the world, Hungary’s English proficiency is rated as “Very High”.

All engineering classes in Hungary are taught in English & students must pass the IELTS test in order to enter Engineering School.

In fact, students can’t even enroll in one of Hungary’s many Engineering Colleges without passing the IELTS test.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is designed to help you work, study or migrate to a country where English is the native language.

English-Only in Hungarian Colleges

Highest # of Developers Per Capita in Europe

Hungary enjoys a long-standing, rich Engineering Culture. Despite its modest 10M population, Hungary has the largest software development pool in Central Europe, resulting in the highest number of Developers per capita in Eastern/Central Europe.

Top Developer Skill Ranking

Hungary ranks near the top of all European countries, ranked by developer tech score, according to a 2021 HackerRank study.

Best Offshore Software Development Countries (by Tech Score)

RANKCOUNTRYDEVELOPER TECH SCORE
1Slovakia100
2Czech Republic93.38
3Hungary92.86
4Poland92.74
5Serbia92.59
6Ireland92.27
7Ukraine91.26
8Switzerland91.08
9Germany90.70
10Austria90.15

Hungary has a Low-Context Communication Culture

In her groundbreaking book, “The Culture Map”, Erin Meyer outlines the importance of having a low-context communication culture when blending multi-cultural, geographically dispersed teams.

Hungary has a similar “low-context communication culture” to North America & Europe, which makes communication efficient & crisp.

For more information on how critical low-context communication is for achieving “Agile @ Speed” with your remote development team, read The Secret to Agile With Offshore Teams.

Summary

Hungary is quickly becoming one of the world’s best offshore software development countries. If you would like to learn more about what Hungary can do for you, please visit Cloud App Developers, LLC to learn more, or contact us below and we will respond within hours.

About Cloud App Developers, LLC

With a team of 1,500+ Engineers from 6 countries, we provide multiple options to optimize what’s most important to our customers. Need to scale a large team rapidly? Need same time-zone development? Looking for particular tech skills? We have you covered.

We also offer IT Staff Augmentation Services for Software Development and Data Science Engineers.

Open a Dialogue With Our Hungarian Development Team

Top 6 Tips For Startup Founders – How to Make Offshoring Work

Most Offshore Software Development partners simply don’t understand these critical realities:

Startups can’t afford failures or delays.

They don’t have the bandwidth to micro-manage remote software dev teams.

Startups need software developers who can “get it right the first time with minimal supervision”

Agile @ Speed
Agile @ Speed

This article delivers a formula for Successful Offshore Software Development for Startups.

The ability to “get it right the first time” with “Agile @ Speed” dramatically reduces the risk associated with external development teams & makes offshoring a “Low Risk” + “Low Cost” winning combination.


What Do Startups Need from Offshore Development Teams?

  • Low-cost & Low-risk Resources
  • Excellent English & Communication Skills
  • Product Ownership & Accountability
  • Problem-solving Mentality
  • Quality Code

Critical Offshoring Success Factors for Startups

  • Startups can’t afford failures or delays.
  • Startups don’t have the bandwidth to micro-manage vendors.
  • Waterfall won’t work for most startups. They need “Agile @ Speed” from offshore teams to succeed.
  • Engineers = Agile. Coders = Waterfall. Startups need Engineers.

6 Top Offshoring Tips For Startups

1. Low-Context Communication is Critical for Success

Communication between you and your offshore team will be much easier if they practice low-context communication. 

What is the Difference Between Low-Context and High Context Communication?

high context vs low context communication

Low/High Context Communication By Country

Image source: Tech Tello

Wherever possible, pick developers from countries with low-context communication.

Again, startups don’t have the bandwidth to micro-manage their offshore partners.

Low-context communication leaves nothing to interpretation and is the only way to ensure clear, crisp communication between multi-cultural teams.

It’s easy to identify low-context communication by interacting with the developers 1:1.

  • Send the prospective development partner a few emails with detailed questions and see how they answer.  You are looking for detailed, thoughtful answers that leave nothing to interpretation.
  • Ask to speak in person with a few of the team members that would be on the team you will be working with, looking for low-context verbal communication capabilities.

More information on low-context communication


2. Screen Vendors for “Agile @ Speed”

With the multitude of changes, dependencies, and processes within Agile methodologies, a certain velocity of communication, interaction, and concurrency is required.

Without this velocity of communication, “Agile @ Speed” is simply not possible.

What is “Agile @ Speed?”

Agile @ Speed is an important metric for integrating a remote team with your internal team.

Many companies practice Agile methodologies. But Agile is only powerful as a methodology if it can be practiced with a certain velocity.

Startup teams require remote developers who communicate and interact with speed.

How to Screen for “Agile @ Speed”

The best way to screen for “Agile @ Speed” is to work with the vendor on a small project, as seen in Tip #3.


3. Vet Prospective Vendors with a Small Proof of Concept Project

If you absolutely can’t afford to have an “Offshore Vendor False Start”, consider a small Proof of Concept to experience the team’s capabilities before committing. 

This can be helpful if you want to evaluate specific technical capabilities or want to really see if their communication culture is a fit for your company. You will also see if they are capable of “Agile at Speed”.

Pick a project or sprint that can be completed in a few weeks.  In 2-4 weeks, you will find out a lot about a potential dev partner’s capability. 


4. Look for Communication Excellence “2-Layers Deep”

Interview the team leaders AND a few of the key engineers one or two layers down to evaluate their communication skills.  

A common practice of some offshoring/nearshoring software houses is to insert a “customer liaison”, a kind of technical lead who can ensure proper communication between your engineers and the remote team.  This should be a red flag that the team in question lacks communication skills.

There are also other problems with the liaison model:

  • The bulk of communication within the development team happens between developers.  The liaison can’t possibly be in every conversation.
  • Much is lost in translation (see telephone game)
  • “Agile at Speed” is required between various dev team members. A liaison only adds more delays.

5. Manage Political Risk

The recent troubles in Ukraine and Eastern Europe have reminded us of the importance of managing geopolitical risk. Pick vendors from countries with political and economic stability.

Hungary and Poland, having EU and NATO membership, are safer destinations for outsourcing than some Eastern European countries, for example.

Read 7 Reasons to Outsource Software Development to Hungary in 2022 if you would like to take advantage of Hungary’s many benefits and avoid political risk.


6. Make Your Expectations Known Up Front

Never assume prospective offshore/nearshore dev partners understand your expectations.  Be specific on what’s important to you.  Some examples are:

  • Do you expect Engineers or Coders?
  • Agile (not Waterfall)?
  • Expected throughput per engineer
  • Availability and Accessibility of team
  • Seniority expectations.  (What do you mean by “Sr. Developer”?)

Contrary to popular belief, most offshore/nearshore development firms do not “bait and switch” to get a contract.  More commonly, expectations are simply not communicated clearly from the beginning, leading to mismatches.

Summary

Startups who work with development partners who understand their needs, and are capable of delivering the value that they seek are much more likely to succeed with offshoring.

If you would like to work with an Offshore Development Partner who delivers value, please contact wes@cloudappdevelopers.com or fill out the form below.

Contact Us for More Information

About Cloud App Developers, LLC

With a team of 1,500+ Engineers from 6 countries, we provide multiple options to optimize what’s most important to our customers. Need to scale a large team rapidly? Need same time-zone development? Looking for particular tech skills? We have you covered.

We also offer IT Staff Augmentation Services for Software Development and Data Science Engineers.

The Secret to Agile with Offshore Teams

Agile Offshore Software Development

The secret to agile with offshore teams lies within the differences between low-context and high-context communication cultures. As many of you may have already experienced; focusing solely on developer skill and experience does not guarantee a successful offshoring experience. Agile offshore development performance requires “Agile at Speed”, which is difficult to accomplish without a certain velocity of communication. This article focuses on how this is accomplished.

“The biggest single problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” 

-George Bernard Shaw

How appropriate this comment is for agile offshore development.  Language barriers and cultural communication differences can lead to misunderstandings that can hamper a development team’s throughput, foster mistrust between teams, and (worst case) contribute to disastrous consequences.  

But in the context of geographically dispersed, culturally diverse engineering teams, what do we mean by effective communication? We examine two important communication elements that are critical to Offshore Agile Software Development: Technical English Proficiency and Cross-Cultural Communication.


Agile Requires Technical English Proficiency

Effective communication clearly requires moderate English proficiency, at a minimum.  However, Conversational English Proficiency is quite different than Technical English Proficiency

There are many tests that can identify technical English proficiency, including the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), offered by Cambridge University’s Cambridge Assessment English (CAE) exam board. 

The Hidden Problem of Cross-Cultural Communication

The hidden problem of achieving agile with offshore teams is the difference between high-context and low-context communication cultures.”

Cross-cultural communication challenges are the root cause of many offshore/nearshore development failures.  This hidden problem causes mismatched expectations between customers and their offshore/nearshore vendors. 

Low-Context vs High-Context Communication

An excellent article detailing the cultural communication differences across the world, which summarizes Erin Meyer’s ground-breaking novel:  The Culture Map, can be found at Tech Tello.  A summary is provided below.

Low-Context vs High-Context Communication

Low-Context Communication Cultures

In low context communication cultures, effective communication must be concise, straightforward, and explicit for the message to be passed on successfully. 

“Low-context culture requires stating it as you mean it.”

The rule-of-thumb for low context communication is as follows: “Tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you’ve told them”

This process is designed to quickly identify and correct misunderstandings before they become problems.  It also serves to reduce pointless, time-consuming debates.

In low context cultures, communication occurs assuming that knowledge of each other’s histories and backgrounds is not present. Neither is most of the communication shaped by long-term relationships between speakers.

In low-context communication, the meaning of messages is more dependent on the words being spoken rather than on a shared understanding of subtle cues.

High-Context Communication Cultures

“High-context culture requires reading between the lines.”

In high-context communication cultures, effective communication is nuanced, layered, and sophisticated.  High-context cultures rely upon shared history and experiences to communicate. 

A high percentage of words can be interpreted in multiple ways, depending on how and when they are used.  This can be very effective and efficient if all members of a team have the same background, history and experiences to understand these subtleties. 

However, when this shared history and understanding is absent, as is the case when people from high-context cultures communicate with people from low-context cultures, the communication breaks down. 

In fact, the highest chance of miscommunication exists when two people from different high-context cultures try to communicate.  In this scenario, both parties try to communicate using nuances that neither is aware of. 


Communication Cultures by Country

Image source: Tech Tello

As you can see, the United States is the lowest context communication culture in the world, with most of the westernized countries leaning towards the left of the scale. 

All the countries that speak the Romance languages, including European countries like Italy, France, and Spain, as well as Latin American countries fall in the middle of the scale, while Asian and African countries are solidly on the right of the scale. 

Japan is the highest context communication culture in the world. 

Clearly, excellent software engineering can be found along the entire low/high context continuum.  This scale is not meant to measure communication effectiveness.  It merely points out how well people from two cultures can relate to one another. 


The Secret to Agile With Offshore Teams

If clear communication is the goal, multi-cultural teams need low-context communication and processes.

What matters isn’t where either culture falls on the scale, but rather the relative position of the two cultures that must work together, in this case on Software Development.  The larger the gap, the harder it will be to communicate with your Software Development Partner, on average. 

When US-based companies with low context cultures work with SW Development partners from high-context cultures, there is often little basis (context) for shared non-verbal, nuanced communication, causing frequent miscommunication. 

Agile development programs will suffer if half your team is communicating non-verbally, with assumed shared understanding, and the other half is not.  Even moderate time-zone differences between geographically dispersed teams can magnify this problem. 


Selecting an Agile Offshore Software Development Team with Low-Context Communication

The easiest way to ensure low-context communication is to pick a development partner from a low-context communication culture. 

But you may have other reasons to outsource from a country that is not low-context. In this case, pick a Remote Development Team that:

  • Understands the importance of crisp, clear, low-context communication
  • Has put in place the proper screening, testing, and training to ensure low-context communication
  • Understands it is the responsibility of the offshore/nearshore vendor to adopt a low-context communication style to aid in communication.

In our opinion, it’s the responsibility of the offshore/nearshore vendor to adapt to their US-based customers’ communication culture.  It’s not about who’s right or wrong, but rather about workability.   The high/low context communication combination usually does not work unless low context processes and communication are established.  This is especially true in Agile Development Environments.



About Cloud App Developers, LLC

With a team of 1,500+ Engineers from 6 countries, we provide multiple options to optimize what’s most important to our customers. Need to scale a large team rapidly? Need same time-zone development? Looking for particular tech skills? We have you covered.

We also offer IT Staff Augmentation Services for Software Development and Data Science Engineers.

Our Architects, Developers, Data Scientists, and Data Engineers are extensively screened and have domain expertise in several industries, including Telecommunications, Financial Services, Insurtech, IoT, Logistics, Industrial Automation, etc.


Developer Screening, Testing & Training

With the multitude of changes, dependencies & processes within Agile methodologies, a certain velocity of communication, interaction & concurrency is required. Our screening processes ensure our teams can deliver “Agile @ Speed” in your development workflow.

Technical English Proficiency

For Agile, “English At Speed” Is The Standard

Communication Excellence

Developers Trained For “Low-Context” Communication

Problem Solving Aptitude

Our Customers Expect Engineers

Code Testing

Code Quality

Code Reviews For All Developers


Need Agile Offshore Development?

If you need “Agile at Speed”, send us a message using the form below to schedule a meeting to review how we can assist with your offshore software development efforts. Thank you.

How Can a Remote Developer Team Thrive in Your Agile Environment?

Some Remote Developer Teams struggle in agile environments, while others seem to thrive. But how can you predict which teams are more likely to succeed? Identifying any “Agile Gaps” within a prospective remote development team upfront is critical to your dev team scaling efforts, especially if you can’t afford an “Offshore Vendor False Start”. 

Remote Developer Team


Table of Contents


Beware of the “Waterfall Trap”

As early as possible, you need to determine whether your prospective remote development team can thrive in your Agile environment (with its multitude of changes, dependencies, and processes), or if they are limited to Waterfall (with its clearly defined tasks and clear boundaries between development teams).  

remote software development teams

This “Waterfall Trap” has bitten many unsuspecting Engineering Managers as they scale their remote teams, only to be disappointed with the results.  Keep reading to discover the root causes of remote developer team failure and how to prevent falling into the “Waterfall Trap”

“Agile At Speed” Should Be the Standard

“In the time it took me to explain things, I could have coded it myself.”


-Typical complaint about remote developers

US customers usually expect their offshore dev partners to be an extension to their internal agile team. With the multitude of changes, dependencies, and processes within Agile methodologies, a certain velocity of communication, interaction, and concurrency is required. 

This “Agile at Speed” is difficult to achieve unless your offshore dev team’s communication culture matches yours.  Without it, project schedules will slip, and your offshore partner will be a source of inefficiencies, causing a rippling effect across your entire dev team. 

Effective Cross-Cultural Communication

An excellent article detailing the cultural communication differences across the world, which summarizes Erin Meyer’s ground-breaking novel:  The Culture Map, can be found at Tech Tello.  A brief summary is provided here.

high context vs low context communication
Image Source: Tech Tello

Low-Context Communication Cultures

“Low-context culture requires stating it as you mean it.”

In low context communication cultures, effective communication must be concise, straightforward, and explicit for the message to be passed on successfully. 

The rule-of-thumb for low context communication is as follows: “Tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you’ve told them”

This process is designed to quickly identify and correct misunderstandings before they become problems.  It also serves to reduce pointless, time-consuming debates.

In low context cultures, communication occurs assuming that knowledge of each other’s histories and backgrounds is not present. Neither is most of the communication shaped by long-term relationships between speakers. In low-context communication, the meaning of messages is more dependent on the words being spoken rather than on a shared understanding of subtle cues.

High-Context Communication Cultures

“High-context culture requires reading between the lines.”

In high-context communication cultures, effective communication is nuanced, layered, and sophisticated.  High-context cultures rely upon shared history and experiences to communicate.  A high percentage of words can be interpreted in multiple ways, depending on how and when they are used.  This can be very effective and efficient if all members of a team have the same background, history and experiences to understand these subtleties. 

However, when this shared history and understanding is absent, as is the case when people from high-context cultures communicate with people from low-context cultures, the communication breaks down.  In fact, the highest chance of miscommunication exists when two people from different high-context cultures try to communicate.  In this scenario, both parties try to communicate using nuances that neither is aware of. 

Communication Cultures by Country

Image source: Tech Tello

As you can see, the United States is the lowest context communication culture in the world, with most of the westernized countries leaning towards the left of the scale. 

All the countries that speak the Romance languages, including European countries like Italy, France, and Spain, as well as Latin American countries fall in the middle of the scale, while Asian and African countries are solidly on the right of the scale.  Japan is the highest context communication culture in the world. 

Clearly, excellent software engineering can be found along the entire low/high context continuum.  This scale is not meant to measure communication effectiveness.  It merely points out how well people from two cultures can relate to one another. 

The Secret to Agile With a Remote Developer Team

If clear communication is the goal, multi-cultural teams need low-context communication & processes.

What matters isn’t where either culture falls on the scale, but rather the relative position of the two cultures that must work together, in this case on Software Development.  The larger the gap, the harder it will be to communicate with your Software Development Partner, on average. 

When US-based companies with low context cultures work with SW Development partners from high-context cultures, there is often little basis (context) for shared non-verbal, nuanced communication, causing frequent miscommunication. 

Agile development programs will suffer if half your team is communicating non-verbally, with assumed shared understanding, and the other half is not.  Even moderate time-zone differences between geographically dispersed teams can magnify this problem. 

Read our full article The Secret to Agile with Offshore Software Development Teams here.

How to Ensure Low-Context Communication When Selecting a Remote Development Team

The easiest way to ensure low-context communication is to pick a development partner from a low-context communication culture. 

But you may have other reasons to outsource from a country that is not low-context. In this case, pick a Remote Development Team who:

  • Understands the importance of crisp, clear, low-context communication
  • Has put in place the proper screening, testing, and training to ensure low-context communication, and
  • Understands that it is the responsibility of the offshore/nearshore vendor to adapt a low-context communication style to aid in communication.

In our opinion, it’s the responsibility of the offshore/nearshore vendor to adapt to their US-based customers’ communication culture. 

It’s not about who’s right and wrong, but rather about workability. The high/low context communication combination usually does not work unless low context processes and communication are established.  This is especially true in Agile Development Environments.


About Cloud App Developers, LLC

With a team of 1,500+ Engineers from 6 countries, we provide multiple options to optimize what’s most important to our customers. Need to scale a large team rapidly? Need same time-zone development? Looking for particular tech skills? We have you covered.

We also offer IT Staff Augmentation Services for Software Development and Data Science Engineers.

Our Architects, Developers, Data Scientists, and Data Engineers are extensively screened and have domain expertise in several industries, including Telecommunications, Financial Services, Insurtech, IoT, Logistics, Industrial Automation, etc.

Developer Screening, Testing & Training

With the multitude of changes, dependencies & processes within Agile methodologies, a certain velocity of communication, interaction & concurrency is required. Our screening processes ensure our teams can deliver “Agile @ Speed” in your development workflow.

Technical English Proficiency

For Agile, “English At Speed” Is The Standard

Communication Excellence

Developers Trained For “Low-Context” Communication

Problem Solving Aptitude

Our Customers Expect Engineers

Code Testing

Code Quality

Code Reviews For All Developers


Interested in Agile Remote Development at Speed?

If you’d like to experience “Agile at Speed”, we’d be happy to schedule a brief call to discuss how we can help you.