The Cultural Barrier Challenge
An additional aspect often 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 subtle, 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 point sare misunderstood due to thinking within a different framework, especially when project failures or problems occur and the need to communicate setbacks arises.
Many of our clients have had previous experience working with countries on the other side of the world. The culture is an issue that occasionally created unforeseen problems that were 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.” The same thing can also happen when saying “no” is the best answer.
In an outsourcing model where we are working together but physically separated, there is no time to manage this type of thing, especially if we are talking about Agile custom software development or Agile application maintenance. The more straightforward the communication (in a professional and respectful environment), the quicker we can cut to the chase.
Costa Rica has a “Westernized” culture that is historically aligned with the U.S. Tourism brings in over 2 million people every year, and the majority come from the U.S. Also, Costa Ricans have a culture that facilitates communication in a respectful and straightforward way.
You will always receive our opinion. The engineers will share ideas and recommendations with you based on their experience and knowledge from previous projects.
This is what we call the “Tico Touch” (“Tico” is a colloquial term for a Costa Rica native). It 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 value add to be competitive.
Every culture has something interesting to learn from. From our experience, I can tell that our clients enjoy working with us. They like to visit us and learn/practice their Spanish. We even name the sprints using local expressions that they learn.
The country is secure, the food is great, the people are nice, the landscape is beautiful, and the weather is perfect (especially during winter in the U.S.).
I invite you to give it a try!