Lean India: A startup’s guide to building and managing software engineering teams in India


MinneBar 8 (6 April 2013)
This is not a panel.
Applying some of the principles and methodology from The Lean Startup towards outsourced teams.
2013-04-06 15:40

Room: Stephen Leacock


    • Summary**

You want to start a company and need developers to help you build the technology. Your company isn't a pure technology company, and you have the domain expertise you need to get started…if only you could find that elusive technical co-founder. You've heard about hiring developers from India, and also the horror stories about projects that went sideways and cost people $10,000 or more with no results.

You can start a successful company working with a team in India, and this session can help you get there. During the session, we will discuss:

  • A brief history of India's technology industry
  • Fundamentals about outsourcing and offshoring
  • Strategies and tactics for finding and working with offshore engineering teams
  • How to grow the relationship with your offshore team over time
    • Session Manifesto**

You can build a startup perfectly well without an engineering team in India. There are talented engineers in the United States, and thousands of companies have been started with an exclusively domestic workforce. The idea I would like you to consider is that you can build a better company by partnering with the enormous amount of talent in India using the methods in this talk and my upcoming Lean India book.

Talented software engineers are extremely difficult to find. As you might expect, they are also highly paid. The national average for software engineer salaries in 2012 was $92,648. Even if you do pay up and hire a few talented developers, they are difficult to retain when venture capital funding is flowing at the rate it is today.

There is simply not enough engineering talent domestically to capitalize on all the opportunities we have with technology. Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy at Facebook is a powerful example of just how acute the labor problem is within technology. In a recent video for, Zuckerberg stated, “Our policy is literally to hire as many talented engineers as we can find. The whole limit in the system is that there just aren’t enough people who are trained and have these skills today.”

The United States and India have reciprocal labor problems. The United States has a major shortage of software engineers, along with a relative abundance of seed, angel, and venture capital investors that invest in new companies and spread the talent pool even more thin. On the contrary, India has the world’s largest technology workforce with over 300 million people working in technology and 650 million new graduates in the next few years. India needs to provide jobs to its growing population of information workers. Countries like the United States needs skilled engineers to solve a myriad of problems. The world needs great new companies now more than ever. India can help you get there.

As you may have guessed, the session and book gained their title based on inspiration from the lean movement and Eric Ries’s renowned book, The Lean Startup. This is a derivative work of sorts that makes the case for applying some of the principles and methodology from The Lean Startup towards building and managing engineering teams in India. This session will discuss how to apply it to your own companies and teams.

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