According to Gallup, approximately 57% of US IT companies outsource their services. There are plenty of reasons for it. When you hire developers, you receive a bunch of great benefits. This includes access to the talent pool of professionals across the globe, high scalability level, reduced time and access to the latest technological advancements.
You must have heard that ‘Communication is the lifeblood of organizations.’
This is true as effective communication is the foundation of just about everything. But remote management poses a challenge in terms of communication. You have to be very careful about how to avoid misunderstandings, unmet expectations and cooperate with the remote development team.
Let’s find out, how to effectively streamline communication!
Build a Relationship and Trust among Remote Team Members
Proper communication with the outsourcing company is important for fruitful cooperation. Always remember that the remote development team is the extended version of your in-house team. Don’t be clients who simply want projects and tasks to be done. Always remember that the remote members are equally as important as your in-house team.
You have to be very interested in your dedicated team of developers and share the information with them. Otherwise, they will be losing the motivation to perform well. While building an offshore development center, make the remote workers feel that they are a part of a great project. Communicating your ideas in a clear manner, sharing your vision, making them interested in it, giving suggestions on the project workflow will bring everyone closer.
Take out time to know them personally and make them feel appreciated for the work they have done. Also, regular meetings with the Scrum framework will help you a lot in tackling the communication issues.
Constant Communication is the Key
You should pay equal attention to the communication issues and don’t ignore them. To start with, the project idea and requirements must be very clear from the beginning. However, it is important not to stop communication and keep checking how everything is going.
Constant communication with both the teams helps you stay updated about what is already done, whether there are challenges, questions, issues and if everything is falling in place as per the plan. Stay transparent about your goals, share ideas and expectations, communicate your strategy and collaborate systematically to get the desired result.
You have to agree that maintaining channels for continued, transparent communication is the way to keep the collaboration effective. This is one thing where the mobile development remote team or any other team has an advantage. The in-office team tends to get bogged down in unnecessary meetings and unexpected drop-bys. On the other hand, the remote team can use many tools and productivity platform to messaging apps to emails to video chats etc. for encouraging purposeful communication.
The combination of synchronized and asynchronous option ensures that the team members have different ways to stay in touch regardless of the communication tools.
Transfer Knowledge to the Remote Team
Unshared knowledge always has a negative impact on the productivity of the team. Make sure that your in-house and remote developers are on the same page in terms of processes, workflows, and tasks. The project knowledge can be recorded and can be accessed with the help of technical documentation, spreadsheets, how-to guides, presentations and more. Make it a point that your in-house team helps the remote development team to grow and vice versa.
There are plenty of coding practices, so it is important to know whether your and your developer’s vision on what has to be done is the same or not. Clarify all the aspects like a comment on the code, what data structure they are accustomed etc. This step will certainly help you avoid miscommunication from the start.
In order to avoid reinventing the wheel and copying others work, both the teams have to exchange some well-established practices not only with documentation but also with Q&A sessions, video seminars, live training, one-on-one meetings and technical discussions, etc. This is a good way to ensure that all the employees (in-house & remote) have access to the information they require to do their job until perfection without wasting any time.
You Have to Be Responsible and Reliable
When the lead or manager sets an example by being available whenever both the teams want his help, it creates a trust culture. Many remote development teams find it helpful to:
Use schedule sharing tools: This is something just for the teams that are spread at different geographical locations. It makes it easy for the managers and teammates to keep in touch and stay updated with the availability.
Commit to regular contact: Regardless of daily or semi-weekly check-ins, shared a status update or collaborating within a project management platform, communication with the help of report drives displays accountability.
Clear expectations should include:
– Weekly tasks
– Where to find the task?
– Project ownership
– Support structure of the company regarding issues and problem solving
– Weekly work commitment
Right contact information inclusive of emails, Skype, phone number and company message.
Be Very Clear with the Instructions
When you have understood that communication is the primary key, sharing your vision has a strong impact on the project. Do you know where some companies go wrong? They start overloading the outsourcing development team with too much extraneous information in order to keep them engaged. Sharing the business objective with the dedicated developers you hire is very important so is keeping your message focused. Too much detailing gives a negative impact. Make sure you keep the message clear, speak to your remote team how they will be helpful in executing the vision.
Remember that your remote development team has the best specialist from a different location. Keep them motivated and engaged by speaking their language and communicate how their input impacts your business. It doesn’t matter whether it is in-house or miles away-when a team is dedicatedly working on your project, it is explicitly your team. It is your responsibility to keep giving them feedback. This will surely change their experience from feeling like a task rabbit to feeling that their work has a direct impact on business success. Your dedication and productivity level of the offshore team will boost automatically.
Delegate Responsibility Smartly
Do you realize the fact that every developer you hire has a different skill-set and level of expertise? Many times you assign a more experienced person to serve as a dedicated Project Manager. Then this person stays on the top of the project timeline and is responsible for absorbing all the information as per the rollout schedule. Having good communication line with the Project Manager helps them to take the right management decision as per the changes and fluctuations that affect your business.
Assign the responsibility of the project manager that has the ability to absorb more of business-related details regularly. They should also know how to make adjustments to the team’s output accordingly. Once in a while, keep sharing the big picture with the entire team.
Set Ground Rules with the Offshore Team
Following simple rules make a lot of difference. For example, if addressing is very formal, emailing is done and if there is something personal-Skype/Slack is used. Set a fixed time for meetings.
Decide the communication channel that is suitable to all employees whether in-house or remote. Distance should never be an obstacle when you want to hire java developers, python developers, mobile developers or anyone. There is a long list of services and tools that help you in managing the remote development team.
Give Each Communication Platform a Purpose
It becomes overwhelming to keep up with the email, Slack, Skype and slew of other platforms that you likely communicate only with the help of a daily basis. If there are multiple communication platforms, they may end up as a distraction.
The best you can do is to assign a separate task to each platform and streamline the process. For instance, keep Slack for project progress updates, emails for communicating with clients & Skype only for meetings. Regardless of how you delegate responsibilities to different channels, it is important that you make everything clear to them.
Be Very Careful with the Conversational Tone
When you are communicating with the outsourcing agency online, it is usually via text. What you send may sound strictly informational and the other person may read the same way. This can be avoided to the same degree by clearly stating things, avoiding sarcasm and occasionally using emojis.
Choose video and audio calls whenever possible: This is because they are the closest thing you will get an in-person meeting with the dedicated development team. Hearing and watching one another helps to boost productivity. The mode of communication is more authentic and helps you to know your team better. Different small details help you build the type of relationship that you would like to have if you are working side by side.
Use Time Difference to Your Advantage
There are times when dedicated developers are in-house team knows how to communicate but have no idea about when to communicate. The time difference is something that poses stern challenges but there are many ways to overcome them. What you have to do is to find overlaps in the schedule with the offshore development team and then plan the work accordingly. When all the team members get a boost, it certainly has a good result.
Taking the help of offshore development services will make things better. When your remote team works, your in-house team sleeps and vice versa. This way the project runs 24/7.
Use Collaboration Tools Effectively
Tools like Jira, Trello are used for issue tracking and managing the project. Jira is good for larger development projects and was designed for an Agile framework. On the other hand, Trello has a broader usage even outside the IT industry.
When it comes to messaging, you can take the help of Slack and Skype. Both are used for different business sizes but have their peculiarities. Slack has features like chat, file transfer, comment and more. Skype has a file management function. You have to decide what works better for you.
Recommended Read: 5 Best Tools that Can Help You Manage Your Remote Team
Adopt Your Remote Team Completely
You should take communication one step further by getting to know the members of your remote team on a personal level. One success factor that separates established projects from the rest is how well clients integrate with the remote team. Dedicated development team has two parts:
– Making an effort to know the members of the remote team
– Communicating the company’s vision so that they feel as part of something larger.
Know your offshore team, their backgrounds, hobbies, interests, habits the same way you know everything about your in-house team. This is certainly going to help in the long run. Always keep the virtual team in loop when it comes to internal communication regarding the growth of the company. At the end of the day, remote teams are always looking to connect with the company’s vision, regardless of where they are located.
Manage the relationship with your offshore developers and your company’s management team. This business relationship will be a lasting partnership. Give positive feedback and then position yourself as a partner instead of a strategic client.
Meet Remote Developers in Person
In an office environment, knowing your co-worker is a common thing. But when the teams are distributed, you have to make sure your employees are intentional about connecting.
Regardless of the development of modern technologies, there is nothing that can replace real-life communication. Invite the offshore development team to your company at least once a year.
Although there is no magic number for visits, knowing one another and flying over is very beneficial for both parties. This increases efficiency and helps avoid potential misunderstandings.
Your company’s success depends on how efficiently you build relationships and communication with the in-house and remote developers. You can either create a healthy environment or make it full of stress, the choice is completely yours.
Keep in mind, you have to stick to certain rules regarding the communication process. Take the help of convenient channels of messaging. Both the teams have to listen and respect each other. They have to keep in mind that they pursue a common goal-delivery of a good result.
Creating great products is a journey. Working with a dedicated development team which is overseas offers a long list of opportunities. It works best when there is effective communication, transparency, a strong foundation of trust and mutual understanding.