5 effective strategies to manage your offshore software development team
The acute shortage of engineering talent, especially in the West, has accelerated globalisation like never before. Businesses are no longer confining their recruitment efforts to hiring only local talent. This has led to the increasing popularity of the concept of building dedicated offshore software development teams with the help of an offshore partner.
Your offshore partner is the company that is responsible for building your development team in a foreign country. They oversee the recruitment process, administrative duties, day-to-day activities, and set up the office space for your team. However, building a successful relationship with the offshore company and your distributed team, requires a decent amount of effort, especially if you want the desired results. So, as their partner, what can you do to ensure smooth collaboration?
In this blog post, we list five effective strategies that you can implement to manage your offshore software development team. But first, let’s look at what your offshore partner should do:
Your offshore partner will implement the hiring process on your behalf, recruiting developers matched to your business’ requirements. As part of this process, they’ll source highly talented engineers and put them through a recruitment process to assess both technical skills and personality. This is to ensure they’re a good fit for your company culture and current ways of working.
Once they’ve whittled the larger pool down to the cream of the crop, you make the final picks on who gets hired.
Once they’ve built your team, they’ll handle the day-to-day administrative heavy lifting so that you’re better positioned to spend time scaling your business and focusing on creating new products and services for your customers. They’ll create reports so you can make data-driven decisions around your team, and essentially act as your ‘mission support’ on the ground in the offshore location.
Cultural and team alignment
It’s super important that your team at home and your team abroad work in sync with one another, and that you’re able to manage your offshore team in the same way as the one at home seamlessly. The new engineers aren’t external support, but full-time colleagues and as such they need to be aligned both in ways of working, but also culturally so that they buy into your organisational culture, mission, and long-term vision.
You need the ability to expand your team on demand as and when your strategic development goals require. Your offshore partner will allocate a dedicated account manager, or equivalent, to work with the recruitment team to hire new developers as and when you need to grow. The process is the same, and the final hiring decisions are always made by you so that your offshore team is always composed of the right people with the right fit.
Now let’s explore those five strategies to help manage your offshore software development team…
1. Discuss your goals
Your offshore software development team is not an outsourced team that you work with for a one-off project. They are a value-adding extension of your existing workforce and are in it for the long haul. This means that simply assigning them tasks without any context and expecting them to be done is not the right approach.
Your team needs to be able to see the bigger picture. If they don’t understand the vision for the product/service, what you wish to achieve through it, and where you see your business in the next five 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 of your business with your offshore team and ensure that they are aligned with them.
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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 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. 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 freedom and autonomy in their job. This, in turn, can have drastic consequences such as lower productivity and a higher employee turnover rate.
3. Have at least one IT specialist on your side
While your offshore partner is responsible for building your dedicated development team, you still have full control over the IT and technical side of your business. And that’s why it’s important for you to have a technical lead on your side — a skilled engineer who will act as a bridge between the local and offshore teams.
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. Failure to do this will lead to your new team struggling to find a much-needed sense of direction.
As experts in building offshore software development teams, we’ve noticed that the highest successes come with partners who have strong team leads that understand the technical nuances of the business.
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4. Factor in the time difference
Differences in time zones can sometimes be a challenge when working with distributed teams. However, by using overlapping hours, you can overcome this challenge. For example, in the case of offshoring to India, the mid-day mark of the shift in India will overlap with the start of the shift in the UK.
Your offshore team could be anywhere between eight 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 teams is not affected because of the time difference.
5. 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 important to keep aside the hierarchy and treat them as a partner.
Similarly, 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.
If you’re looking to build your own offshore software development team, feel free to reach out to us by filling out the contact form. One of our senior executives will get back to you shortly. Meanwhile, if you want to know more about offshoring and how it can work for your business, you can download our free ebook guide ‘Understanding Offshore Development’.