Effectively structuring your product team requires way more than hiring a team of experienced developers from a different geographical location. There is a lot that goes into the bigger picture.
How will you be able to manage your in-house and outsourcing team together?
How will they work efficiently on a single project?
Well, when your team expands, it is important that you assign respective roles as per abilities.
Building a strong product engineering team by hiring offshore developers is no more a challenge.
You have to stay involved with the product design decision making and encourage different ideas on the cultural levels.
Steps to Structure & Manage Your Product Team
Here is how to structure and manage your offshore product engineering team so that they deliver maximum productivity.
a) Principles for the Development Process
Considering the common issues a good framework should have the below-mentioned principals.
- Accurate planning
- Predictable release
- Flexibility to handle ad-hoc requests
- Keeping the in-house and outsourcing team in sync
- Keeping everyone happy
- Efficiently controlling everyone
With effective planning and efficiency, you can achieve these goals.
b) Consider the Team as One
The offshore team is an extended version of your already existing team. Your in-house and offshore team both should be considered as one. The complete team has to work on your ambition and a meaningful objective.
You will experience high team productivity and zeal in both the teams.
c) Communicate the Vision
Regardless of what you are getting built – a product, a component, a prototype. Ensure that the team can see the bigger picture and understand the complete strategy.
Keep communicating the core vision and the important messages frequently. Ensure that the team dynamics reflect the entrepreneurial spirit. This is going to be the main driver of the project execution.
Every team member should have access to the ‘what and why’ and be able to relate to the mission.
Having dedicated developers, you have a more talented team that has a great purpose and a bold vision.
It is very important to communicate your thinking as well as articulate the opportunity to the hired developers.
Tell them, how a successful release will better serve your customers, drive profits and create value for the company.
d) Show the Entrepreneurial Spirit
You are an entrepreneur who owns an organization. So, it is important that you think, feel and act as an entrepreneur.
Your company should set a mission while providing the resources to build an amazing product.
Know how to utilize resources, equipment, code, etc. Embed the innovation mentality to every member of the team.
e) Be Open to the “How”
When the problem has been identified, it can be solved in many different ways.
It is not good to dictate why rather discuss with the dedicated programmers who will be working on it.
Ask them to make recommendations so that it becomes easy for you to pick from their suggestions. This will help you to find the best solution.
f) Optimize Your Meetings
There always have to be the right people in the room.
Everyone from the in-house and outsourcing team who join the meeting should be well prepared in advance.
g) Provide Relevant Information and be Specific
Information sharing with outsourcing product development is very important.
You have to establish a flow of updates, resources, and ideas in order to encourage collaboration and have a meaningful interaction.
The relevant information among the team has to be shared whenever required. Everyone should be able to access updates, ideas and take critical decisions with planning.
Always remember that no detail is too small. You may have a technical detail that you think that the development team will by default know. But it is good if you share with them everything.
This will also help in making the product better and earn respect from inhouse and offshore members.
Both the teams strive to add value to your company, so keep a record of every detail in writing.
h) Understand Roles & Responsibilities
In every product development team, there are members that have different functional roles.
There are product managers, designers, web developers, quality analysts etc. Everyone should have a clear understanding of their respective roles.
The Project Manager should understand the problem space.
Designers are responsible for exploring the problem and coming up with the solution. Developers should be further responsible for executing the solution and delivering a quality product.
i) Always Be Transparent
Hire programmers that are highly analytical and understand the product strategy.
Keep things clear with the offshore product engineering team from the very beginning.
This should be done so that they equally get a chance to contribute to the product vision.
Transparency builds trust and this trust leads to great effort. Always remember that building a great product is a collaborative process.
j) Never Commit without Team Consideration
You are getting the best development services from your product engineering team. So, it is good to discuss everything in detail with them.
If you have got a third-party project and have assigned offshore developers to complete the tasks, ask them how much time they will take to complete the project.
Don’t commit on your own. Make sure you are aligned with your team before you set the deal.
k) Recognize the Value of Iteration
There may be a possibility that you are focusing too much on the interior and ignoring the exterior. You may have overlooked the important details as you jumped straightaway to build the final product.
Therefore it is extremely critical that you design a solution that quickly resolves the problem and is built in the latest technology stack.
For this implementation, you have to hire offshore developers from the best outsourcing company.
The ones that have a lot of knowledge about the solution space and thereby get indulge in the iteration process.
l) Use of Advanced Collaborative and Productivity Tools
You may already be following the Agile approach and have adopted the waterfall development model. But:
- How are you setting and tracking the quarterly goals?
- Are you handling unexpected bugs?
- How do you deal with customer’s requests?
- Do you know your project has quality standards?
- Has your product met all the requirements?
Well, the answer is communication via collaborative and productivity tracker tools. Take the help of Basecamp, Slack, Jira, Asana, Trello, etc. The key is how effectively you make use of them.
m) Respect Their Time
What will be the feeling when you are in the middle of a long and important calculation and you are asked to check your inbox regarding an important mail? That will be distracting right.
Whatever your product engineer company is working on may be more important than the detail that you may have sent.
- Ask yourself, how critical it is?
- Is it worth the loss of productivity?
When you think it is a high priority, only then send them an email during odd hours.
n) Share Leadership and Credit
Don’t damage your relationship with the offshore development team by giving your in-house team all the credit. Make sure you keep boosting both teams equally.
There have to be executives that lead meetings and announce results. They are the most important individuals in the team.
Every role should have a clear responsibility, but everyone should work together to share your points of view and come to better solutions together.
There are different viewpoints, but everyone knows that they are working on the same project and shared goals.
The best way to share relationship responsibilities via your Program Lead (PL) can be a Project Manager.
Project Lead owns the communicating progress, establishing the rhythm for the team, and the unity of the team.
The Program Lead can be the same person as the Technical Lead, but on the same teams having different engineers.
That one person is responsible for running the team, while a different person is responsible for the technical direction.
Another way the leadership and credit are shared is with the help of Key Results. There are team goals that get shared across the company.
You assign them to the person that genuinely contributes the most towards success, whether it is an engineer, PM, designer, user-researcher, or data scientist.
With this type of system, many people are capable of taking leadership roles and everyone gets recognition for work.
o) Build a Strong Relationship
This extends way beyond only having a professional deal with your outsourcing company. Besides making the work done on time, acknowledge and appreciate every one.
From the professional level, move to the personal level and make sure everyone is comfortable working with you. This leads to a long-term relationship for the future.
As a development company, your primary goal should not be to get the product right in the first go. Rather it should be what features your users like and what will make the product better.
Every good product engineering team strives to influence product decision making by avoiding function separating dynamics.
They invest in building a strong relationship with every member of the team whether inhouse or offshore
Your product team structure can change as per the needs and evolution of time.
For now, as per the company budget, culture, product portfolio, and the aforementioned steps set up an efficient product management team.