In this blog, you will explore why companies fear offshore software development. And The thirteen best practices to help your business mitigate the fear of managing offshore teams efficiently.
Statistics show that 92% of G2000 businesses outsource their IT operations, whereas 37% of small businesses outsource at least one business process.
And why not?
Offshore teams are the perfect solution to counter the challenges of the increasing tech-talent crunch, market uncertainties, and shrinking economies.
Hiring offshore teams provides you with highly-skilled resources at lower rates, and the diversity it brings makes your business more agile, flexible, and resilient to changing business environments.
Offshore teams are fantastic!
And yet many businesses opt out of this business model for fear of the inability to manage offshore teams.
If you are in the same boat, you have landed at the right place. This blog will cover everything you need to know about managing offshore teams.
- Fear of the unknown keeps businesses from offshoring software development. But with the right strategy and partner in place, companies can navigate the challenges of offshoring.
- Businesses need to nurture a culture of diversity. Clarity of vision, communication, and inclusivity is the key to successful relationships with offshore teams
- Tools and technologies play a crucial role in the smooth execution of operations.
But before we discuss the best practices for managing offshore resources, let us explore why businesses shy away from working with offshore teams.
Why do companies fear offshore software development?
Here are some of the businesses' most common apprehensions about managing offshore development teams.
1. The Fear Of The Unknown
Working with offshore development teams means hiring resources from an offshore country.
Since businesses need to gain knowledge about the talent market, they fear they won't be able to navigate its nuances and find the right resources to build an offshore team.
This creates a fear of the unknown, making them skeptical of offshore software development.
2. What If They Don't Understand Us?
The language barrier is another fear that businesses carry. If the hired team speaks a different language, it creates productivity issues, performance gaps, and delivery delays.
3. How Do We Manage A Team That We Don't See?
When companies work remotely with teams, they fear that since they cannot see the work in real-time, they cannot manage the operation or monitor the team's productivity.
4. Our Data Will Be Compromised
Companies fear that offshore teams would access their information on different systems and servers to work on the project, making their data vulnerable to cyber-attacks and infringement.
5. How To Manage a Team That Doesn’t Even Work In The Same Timezone?
Businesses worry that the different work timezone between their in-house and offshore teams can lead to communication gaps and work delays.
Some of these fears may resonate with you as a business owner contemplating offshore software development.
But let me assure you that though valid, you can easily tackle these challenges by partnering with the right offshore development company and following best practices to hire offshore teams.
Which brings us to our main question- “How to manage an offshore team?”
Managing an offshore team can be smooth and easy. But it needs determination and a flawless strategy to ensure everything goes well.
Certainly, a few best practices for managing offshore resources work well. I have pocketed tips and tricks to manage your offshore development team effectively.
13 Best Practices To Manage Offshore Team
For your offshore software development to succeed, in-house and offshore teams must be symbiotic.
So, managing an offshore development team is not just an outward practice but also requires an inward assessment of your business and its readiness to adapt to the new environment.
Therefore the first practice of managing an offshore team is:
1. Communicate your vision from top to bottom
It is rightly said that change begins at home.
The decision to offshore software development may be of top management, but it impacts everyone in your company. So it is essential to ensure that not just the leaders or seniors agree. But the lower hierarchy must also be fully dedicated to the task.
To get everyone onboard, you must communicate
- Why have you decided to offshore?
- What impact in terms of growth and business opportunities will this bring to the company?
- How will it not affect the jobs of the current employees?
Educating in-house resources on how offshore teams can enhance their work environment, reduce their workloads, and empower them to perform better is crucial for a seamless transition and smooth operations in the future.
2. Building a Culture That Celebrates Diversity
When working with offshore development teams, it is natural that you will face cultural differences. The key to success here is to keep these differences from creating miscommunication and friction between teams.
Therefore you must foster a culture that accepts and celebrates the differences and diversity of your offshore team. You can do this by creating cultural awareness programs and training for your internal and offshore teams where they are educated about each other.
Factors to keep in mind while building company culture
- Offshore teams are to be treated as an integral part of the organization and not third-party vendors
- Encourage inclusion in celebrations and festivities of both teams to create more awareness about their diversities
- Build open channels of communication and provide equal opportunities for teams to grow and excel
- Nurture a safe environment for the teams where they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas
- Educate both parties on the do’s and don’ts of your company
Leaders play a crucial role in building a diversity-inclusive culture by encouraging regular interaction among team members to build strong relationships, clarifying cultural misunderstandings, and forming cohesive cross-functional teams.
Establishing a sense of belonging is crucial when working with local or offshore resources.
3. Setting the right parameters, aka scope of the project
Before initiating a conversation with an offshore partner, you must clearly understand your objective and vision for your offshore team. As a business, you must have clarity on
- What is the kind of engagement to wish to create?
- Is it a one-time thing, or do you wish to include offshoring as a part of business mode?
- Have you created an outline and scope of the project?
- What are your long-term goals with the team?
These are some of the questions you must have answers to before deciding to hire an offshore team.
4. Establishing clear expectations
Creating and sharing clear expectations is crucial for offshore team management. Without a clear direction, the team will operate mindlessly, doing just what is told, failing the entire purpose of bringing experts on board.
Here are some tips on how to do so:
- Communicate goals and objectives: You and your offshore team should be in sync on the goals and objectives of your project. They should know the project's purpose and what the result should look like.
- Define roles and responsibilities: Each team member should know their roles and responsibilities. This can include outlining the tasks each team member is responsible for and the deadlines they are expected to meet.
- Set deadlines and milestones: Split the project into multiple mini milestones and establish deadlines to ensure the team stays on track and meets its goals on time.
5. Set Up A Standard Communication Channel
Communication is the key to the success of a project, whether built in-house or offshore. But it is one of the biggest challenges companies managing offshore teams face.
The 2021 State of Remote Report shows that communication and collaboration were one of the biggest challenges in remote operations.
Thus establishing standard communication channels is crucial for managing offshore development teams. It allows teams to exchange their ideas, input, and feedback seamlessly.
Having well-defined communication channels help in the following:
- the proper documentation of all discussions carried out between teams
- ensures that no information falls through the gaps
- ensures both in-house and offshore teams are on the same page
- creates a backup for team members to refer which empowers teams to work more efficiently
Besides defining the channels and modes of communication, it is also a good practice to train teams to communicate efficiently to optimize the time spent collaborating.
Wish to learn tips to communicate with offshore teams? Read our blog on 13 Tips to Streamline Communication With Offshore Team.
6. SOPs & Documentation Process
Multiple people work on different aspects of a project. With team members being constantly switched and multiple reviewers sharing inputs, it’s no surprise that the code gets swampy, increasing the “Technical Debt” of your project.
“Technical debt (also known as design debt or code debt) is the implied cost of future reworking required when choosing an easy but limited solution instead of a better approach that could take more time.”
According to a study by software company CAST, per line of code carries an average of $3.61 of technical debt, which adds up to more than $1 million per system. One can avoid this cost by establishing a strong standard operating process (SOP) and informative documentation process.
Establishing an SOP will help you streamline operations, and a solid documentation process will not only caters to the current team’s needs but also helps future team members to manage the technical debt and solve problems no one ever thought about when writing the code.
7. Set Tools & Systems in Place
Equipping your offshore team with the right technology and tools is crucial to ensure seamless collaboration and help them significantly enhance their effectiveness and productivity.
These tools can be broadly classified into two categories.
- Communication Tools-Communication tools refer to the set of equipment, software, and technologies that enables your teams to communicate and collaborate seamlessly over digital platforms. Having these tools ensures team communication, promoting better coordination and faster problem-solving.
- Project Management Tools- Project management tools are software applications that assist your project managers in planning, organizing, and managing the project assigned to the offshore team.
These tools help you track tasks, deadlines, budgets, and resources while enabling collaboration with team members and communication with stakeholders.
Here is how project management tools improve the efficiencies of your offshore teams
- They bring visibility to the ongoing work by creating a central location for project information. Thus helping improve communication and collaboration among team members and stakeholders.
- They improve efficiency by automating tasks and providing insights into project performance, freeing team members to focus on more strategic work.
- They help reduce risk by providing a framework for managing risks and unexpected setbacks.
4 Effective Tools to Manage Offshore Team
- Slack: A cloud-based online messaging platform, Slack, enables team members to communicate with each other in real-time. It provides various features such as direct messaging, group chat, file sharing, and integration with other widely-used tools.
- Zoom: Zoom is a platform for video conferencing where team members can have face-to-face conversations. It provides many features, including HD video, audio, and screen sharing.
- Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Teams is a platform for collaboration that offers tools for chat, video conferencing, file sharing, and project management. It is a widely used solution by businesses that utilize Microsoft Office 365.
- Trello: Trello is a widely used project management tool with boards, lists, and cards to monitor tasks. It is an excellent option for businesses that need to keep track of the advancement of various projects.
Remember, there is no right answer to which tool is best for project management. It completely depends on the team size and complexity of the project.
So, you must evaluate all pros and cons before selecting one.
8. Hire The Right Leadership
Do you want to know how to manage offshore development teams with different cultural backgrounds? Hiring the right leaders is the answer you seek.
Onboarding individuals with strong leadership qualities into your offshore team goes a long way in creating operational harmony.
These leaders become the face of your organization among the offshore team. They help build a bridge between in-house and offshore teams, creating frictionless interactions to ensure enhanced productivity.
9. Continuous Training & Downloads
Want your offshore team and in-house team to work in perfect sync? -Train them!
Want to bridge the cultural gap between teams?- Train Them!
Want your offshore software development to be successful?- TRAIN THEM!
I cannot stress enough the importance of providing proper downloads and training to the teams. Investing in training programs ensures a smooth transition of work and results in higher productivity and staff retention for both offshore and in-house teams.
Training helps in the following ways.
- It clearly explains a company's business, clients, operations, and other essential aspects.
- It helps resources to identify knowledge gaps and upskill accordingly
- It helps smoothen the transition and handover of the work
10. Create Overlapping Work Windows.
Often, your offshore team may work in different time zone. The timezone difference in offshore teams can create management issues if not tackled well.
Though it is impractical to expect your offshore team to be available 24/7, a smart way to tackle this is to create overlapping work windows occasionally for team scrums, discussions, and feedback.
Besides this, ensure you inform the team beforehand of meetings and deadlines set in your time zone. Be mindful of how and when you can reach out to them, within and beyond their work hours.
An experienced global team could start any time of the day or night according to the requirements under special circumstances, provided you respect their time.
Learn the seven tips to handle time-zone differences when working with an offshore team.
11. Constant Communication & Regular Updates
When offshoring, make it a rule not to allocate a task and vanish for a long before checking on it again.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of regular communication.
You should hold regular meetings daily in the initial phase to ensure the teams are on the same page as you. It may sound daunting and time-consuming initially, but who knows if things will skyrocket in the right direction.
Lack of regular interaction with offshore teams can lead to negligent behavior. Your team may gradually lose motivation and excitement because they believe that you are unconcerned with the team’s growth.
This may result in sloppy work, delayed deliveries, and reduced productivity among the team members. Hence, it’s essential to have daily scrums regarding the project’s development.
Moreover, you can schedule a meeting every morning before the team starts to work for a quick rundown of challenges and how they were addressed.
12. Keep An Eye on it, But Don’t Micromanage
When you hire an offshore software development team, you are onboarding experts with extensive experience and vast knowledge in their fields.
Micromanaging them will only create frustration and loss of trust among your offshore developers. This will result in a loss of enthusiasm and productivity. The team may feel that their ideas are not welcomed and would refrain from sharing suggestions to improve your product.
I am not suggesting that you don’t monitor the work of your offshore developers. Still, a better approach is to designate a senior developer as a tech lead or hire a project manager with proven team handling and management techniques to produce successful outcomes.
13. Acknowledge Their Contributions
Showing appreciation for your offshore team is a crucial aspect of relationship building.
Appreciating their efforts shows that you value their contributions and hard work. It motivates them to put their best foot forward when working on your project.
It also enhances productivity and improves team retention while preserving good team camaraderie.
Ways to show appreciation to your offshore teams
- Send thank you note to show that you appreciate their hard work and dedication.
- A gift voucher or monetary incentives are thoughtful ways to show your appreciation.
- Give promotions to the team members by increasing their responsibilities and pays.
- Public recognition is a great way to show appreciation. Give them a shout-out in a meeting or write an appreciation mail about their work.
- Provide opportunities to grow, learn new skills, and take on new challenges.
- Be flexible with your expectations and be understanding of their situation.
Following the above tips, you can be sure to make your offshore software development project a success.
But following best practices for managing offshore resources is the second step, the first being finding a reliable offshore development company like Your Team in India (YTII).
How YTII can help in building a successful Offshore Team
YTII is one of the most trusted offshore development companies that can help you build your offshore team in India. With an industry experience of 13+ years and a team strength of 200+ software engineers, YTII is assisting many businesses to maximize efficiencies & profits by working with offshore teams in India.
‘GoHire’an ATS(applicant tracking system) brand is one such example of how YTII can help businesses optimize their businesses using offshore teams.
GoHire reached out to YTII with an ATS system at a nascent development stage. Being a start-up, they faced budget constraints, making hiring in-house resources unviable.
They collaborated with YTII for its ability to help them scale their team quickly and economically.
YTII helped Gohire build a team of 2 software developers specializing in Angular, NodeJs & PHP, 1 HubSpot Migration Expert, and 3 digital media experts in Strategy, SEO, and Social Media, respectively.
Companies globally trust YTII for offshoring their software development projects. In the past decade, we have delivered over 1000 projects and have over 90% client retention rate.
If you, too, seek a guide to hire offshore developers? Talk to our experts today.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is an offshore team?
What is the difference between an offshore team and an onshore team?
Why is managing an offshore team challenging?
Besides this, your offshore teams work in different time zones, making coordinating work difficult, resulting in missed deadlines.
How to establish effective communication with an offshore team?
Besides this, one must connect with the team often to take regular updates and share feedback.