5 Strategies To Successfully Manage Your Offshore Software Development Team
The acute shortage of engineering talent, especially in the West, has expedited globalisation like never before. Companies are no longer confining their recruitment efforts to hiring only local talent. This, in turn, has given rise to the concept of building dedicated offshore software development teams with the help of an offshore partner.
Your offshore partner is the company that is solely responsible for building your development team. They oversee the recruitment process, administrative work, setting up the office space, and all the day-to-day tasks. However, building a successful relationship with your offshore partner and your team, requires a decent amount of effort, especially if you want the desired results. So, as a client, what can you do to ensure that the collaboration goes as smoothly as possible?
In this blog post, we list down 5 key points that are instrumental in ensuring a successful collaboration between you and your offshore software development team.
1. Discuss Your Goals
Your offshore software development team is not a team that you outsource for a project or two. They are a value-adding extension of your existing workforce and are in it for the long haul, which means that simply assigning them tasks and going about your day just won’t do. They need to be able to see the bigger picture.
If your team does not understand the vision for the product, what you wish to achieve through the product, and where you see your business in the next 5 or 10 years, they simply aren’t going to be invested enough. And that’s why it’s so important to discuss the long-term goals and strategies of your business with your offshore team.
Talk to your offshore team about your business as a whole, and not just about the product or service that they’re working on. List out the business goals that you wish to achieve in the short and long-term, and brainstorm with them about how you intend to accomplish them. This allows them to think beyond the scope of a single product or service, and in turn, provide creative and innovative solutions for your business.
2. Have at least one IT specialist on your side
Even though your offshore partner is responsible for all things IT, it is still extremely crucial for you, as a client, to have a technical lead on your side. This IT specialist should be someone who has a sound knowledge of the different software products and solutions that you build, the project you’re currently working on, and all the technical responsibilities of your new offshore software development team.
If you, as the client, lack in the technical department, then your new team in another country will struggle to find a much-needed sense of direction. As experts in building offshore software development teams, we’ve noticed that the most success always comes with clients who have strong team leads that understand the technical nuances of the business.
3. Factor in the Time Difference
Differences in time-zones can sometimes be a challenge when working with remote teams. However, by using overlapping hours, you can mitigate this challenge. For example, in the case of offshoring to India, the mid-day mark of the shift in India may overlap with the start of the shift in the UK.
And that’s why it’s essential to plan for the difference in working hours. Your offshore team could be anywhere between 8 to 15 hours ahead of you, and by factoring in that time-difference, you can build a more efficient schedule for your local and offshore teams. Overlap meetings, scrum-calls, and weekly catch-up calls to ensure that communication between both your teams is not affected because of the time difference.
4. Treat your offshore team as a partner
The offshore software development company that you choose to work with is not a simple service provider; they’re much more than that. If you want to build and maintain a higher level of collaboration, then it’s time to keep aside the hierarchy and treat them as a partner.
For instance, the above graphic shows how the “hierarchy” system is no longer the oragnisational structure of preference.
On the other hand, when you treat your offshore software development team as a part of your business, they will go the extra mile for you. Even if it’s something as simple as ensuring that they have more overlapping hours with you, or changing their shift to match your schedule — they will make it happen. Acknowledging the time, efforts, and technical skills that the team puts into building software, spending time with them to get to know them better, and asking them for suggestions on how to build better software can solidify your relationship with your offshore team to a great extent.
5. Avoid micromanaging
A survey conducted by Trinity Solutions showed that approximately 60% of the respondents considered changing jobs because of micromanagement. What’s worse is that 36% actually did end up changing jobs! The study also went on to say that 71% of the respondents believed that micromanaging negatively impacts their performance.
Given that your offshore team is thousands of miles away from you, it isn’t unnatural to want to monitor their every move. However, if you try to micromanage the work they do, your offshore software development team is going to feel like they lack any freedom and autonomy in their job. This, in turn, can have drastic consequences such as lower productivity and even the loss of employees.