In general, Eastern Europe is a good place to outsource your software development. Typically, you can get a 3-hour overlap with the US, and the cultural fit is quite nice. From a skills perspective, Eastern Europe has an incredible mathematics education so finding high-quality data engineers, data scientists, and optimization specialists tends to be easy and cost-effective. The people tend to be more direct than other cultures which does make it easy to ensure your clarity of communication but it does sometimes come across as rude.
Typically, you can find a 3-hour overlap between the US but not typically more than that so you’ll have to do most of your communication and collaboration with them in the morning hours. Although travel to Eastern Europe is possible, I don’t usually recommend it due to the loss in time from jetlag. Typically, jet lag will cost you between 2-4 days depending on the person.
Eastern Europeans tend to be very direct in their speech which can have some advantages such as clarity of communication and efficiency in a meeting, but it can also be very blunt and sometimes taken as rude. Personally, I prefer directness as there is no beating around the bush.
Another advantage of Eastern Europeans is that they tend to be very honest about the status of a project. If the project is running late, they typically will not hide it from you. If you’re asking for something unreasonable, they’ll typically tell you.
While working with any vendor in Eastern Europe, I recommend that you always go with a vendor who has local staff who understand both cultures to act as people managers. These people managers are staff that they have who meet with the developers on a regular basis to see if there are any misunderstandings or miscommunications. This will enable them to handle the problem with the developers before it becomes a problem for you. To be honest, this is one of my rules for outsourcing vendors from any region.
While Eastern Europe offers a plethora of good frontend, backend, mobile developers, and database developers, the main advantage Eastern Europe has a very strong mathematics and engineering education system that produces a large number of highly qualified data scientists, data engineers, statisticians, and technical architects.
React, React Native, Node, Python, and Ruby on Rails developers are readily available. Software engineers with deep knowledge of microservices such as Dockers and Lambda Functions are easy to find, as are cloud engineers with a strong background in AWS and Azure.
For data science and data engineering, it is quite easy to find people with Master’s and Ph.D.’s in data science, engineering, statistics, and operations research which enables you to find people who not only know how to use the common packages but also can write custom algorithms.
Project managers and Business Analysts are available, but my personal recommendation is that unless your entire team is going to be in Eastern Europe, you find project manager roles in Latin America, the US or Canada to allow you to have contact throughout the day. In my opinion, these roles require constant collaboration with your US entities.
Eastern Europe tends to be less expensive than Latin America but more expensive than Asia. On a total cost of ownership basis, Eastern Europe tends to be about 40%-50% of an equivalent US employee.
While the war in Ukraine does carry some business risks for any country in the region, most countries, including Ukraine, do provide very reliable developers. In fact, I’ve had developers in Ukraine for over 2 years now without any reliability issues. That said, my vendors in Ukraine all have multiple offices with independent power sources.
In terms of payments to Eastern Europe and contracts, you will find that many companies in Eastern Europe will have companies and bank accounts in EU nations so you will not be paying to countries in Eastern Europe directly. There are also several outsourcing companies in Eastern Europe with US entities and US-based people if you want to only deal with an American company.
A good vendor should be able to offer you a year’s worth of price stability. I do recommend that you stick to only a one-year price contract that you reassess every year. This will help you avoid overpricing or over-promising from a vendor in terms of price stability.