Offshoring software development is a sure way to foster your business development and cut down expenses. Meanwhile, it’s not the easiest thing to do. For your outsourced software development project to be a success, it should involve systematic monitoring, well-organized two-way communication, a deep understanding of project and business processes, the ability to set clear and achievable goals, and a lot more.
Working with offshore teams clearly differs from managing an internal IT team. Therefore, in this article, we’ve gathered 10 most useful tips on successful outsourced team management.
1. Choose An Outsourcing Model
Before searching for an outsourcing development company you need to figure out what volume of work you want to outsource and what model of remote working relationship you need to maintain. There are 3 outsourcing models based on the relationship between a client and an outsourcing provider. These models define the responsibilities of the parties and the level of offshore developers’ involvement in a project:
. Team Extension Model
implies that a client takes greater responsibility for a project and hires an offshore team to assist an in-house IT team. This means that the client augments the capacity of their internal development team, retaining responsibility for the project and team management. This model is suitable for short-term collaboration when you need to quickly meet project deadlines.
. Managed Team Model
entails sharing responsibility between a client and an outsourcing provider for the project risks and outcomes. This model suits companies looking for long-term partnerships and usually implies the autonomous work of a distributed team with an outsourced project manager reporting on the project progress to the product owner.
. Project-Based Model
implies that an outsourcing provider takes all the responsibility for the project, and the software development team provides the full cycle of software development. The client’s role is to input ideas and requirements while the development team delivers solutions that address the client’s needs.
2. Create a Project Charter
A project charter is a document that describes your project, covering what the objectives are, how the project will be carried out, and who the stakeholders are. With a project charter, it’ll be much easier for you to convey the main project idea and objectives to your offshore team members. It is generally used as a starting point for the development team to help them see the big picture.
3. Define Communication Means
There is a wide range of tools you can use for managing an offshore development team. To choose the most effective ones and not to overload your team with them, you should understand when and how often to use each.
. Project Management Apps
are used to set and assign tasks, track project progress, establish deadlines, evaluate the productivity of each team member, and a lot more. For project management, you can use simple tools like Asana and Trello or complex software like Jira, Redmine, and Microsoft Project.
. Synchronous Communication Apps
are great for instant communication, these apps usually include such functions as video conferencing, voice messaging, and chatting. The most commonly used are Skype, Handouts, WhatsApp, and Zoom.
. Asynchronous Communication Apps
work best when you don’t need real-time communication. They are used for emailing, sending messages, and issue ticketing. The most popular ones are Gmail, GitHub, Microsoft Teams, and others.
After determining the apps you’ll use to communicate with your offshore development team, you need to think of how often you’ll have calls with your team to discuss ongoing project issues. The best option is to plan a meeting schedule so that each team member can get prepared to report on the project progress.
4. Use Visual Aids and Simple Language
Clear communication is essential for fast project development. When you outsource software development to countries with native languages other than English, you may run into communication problems.
However, you can help your team to overcome the issue by switching to simple English, that means avoiding metaphors and cultural references in your speech. If you need to communicate your ideas or business requirements to your outsourced team try to use visual aids, videos, and charts. In this way, you’re more likely to have successful communication, resulting in higher product quality.
5. Make Sure That Your Outsourced Team Shares the Same Values as You Do
When choosing your offshore development team make sure that they share your business values and have a similar cultural background. For example, some companies aim to please their client by all means, while others care more about product development and are ready to bear responsibility in case of unforeseen events.
In this regard, Eastern European outsourcing software development companies are a top choice for Western Europe and the US, as their business ethics and corporate culture are similar to these countries.
6. Stay in Close Contact With Your Distributed Team
For successful project development, it’s important to create a friendly atmosphere when interacting with your team. You should know not only a project manager or a team lead but get acquainted with every team member. This way you invest in building a close-knit relationship in your team, boosting their productivity.
To encourage communication even further, it’s a good idea to participate in team retrospective meetings, planning sessions, stand-up meetings, team building activities, and appoint business visits to your outsourcing company.
7. Sync Tools and Schedules
If you chose a team extension model or a management team model from the first tip, it means that you have to manage your in-house and outsourced teams alongside. Therefore, it’s important that both of the teams use the same coding practices as well as the same software development tools, enabling cross-team cooperation and in-time product delivery.
Moreover, due to a possible difference in time zones, you should make sure that your internal team’s working hours overlap with the working hours of your outsourced team at least for a couple of hours. This practice helps to avoid delays in issue discussions and solving problems. On the other hand, if you want to run a continuous product delivery process, then time difference will come in handy.
8. Avoid Micromanagement
When you hire an outsourced team, it’s essential for offshore team members and your business that you trust your team and don’t doubt their professional skills. Therefore, avoid micromanaging your teams from afar, instead, you should fully participate in the project.
For example, it’s a bad idea to comment on the mobile app development procedure, however, it’s entirely beneficial if you share your vision of the future product and explain what function you want to add.
9. Incentivize Your Team
Positive feedback is an essential part of any work, let alone software development. If your outsourced team always meets the deadlines and doesn’t exceed the budget, show your appreciation. If your end-users like your product, share their feedback with your team. This way you motivate your remote team to work even better and create a positive working atmosphere.
10. Monitor Team Satisfaction
Working on a project implies a stable team with deep knowledge of the product. If you have high employee turnover rates on your project it leads to bugs and low product quality. Therefore, team satisfaction is one of the key factors for a successful app.
You can monitor your team satisfaction by having casual individual conversations with team members or team leads. Besides monitoring make sure that your employees work in comfortable conditions with promotion perspectives and opportunities to develop their skills. This way you’ll keep your team motivated and your product stable.
Successful outsourcing of software development involves deeper management practices in comparison with running an in-house software development team. It is mostly determined by long-distance relationships with your offshore team, involving such aspects as trust issues and the effectiveness of project progress tracking.
Therefore, when you work with offshore development teams, you should be more involved in your projects and try to build closer relationships with them. All these factors have a direct influence on project outcomes and product quality.
Victoria Puzhevich is a Lead Specialist at SCAND. Having over 15 years of experience in the IT industry, Victoria is obsessed with all tech-related things. Her passion is to provide insights on the latest IT industry trends and help companies grow their business through technology.