The world is changing, and an IT outsourcing model is becoming more and more popular. It is not very hard to find developers. However, the business of efficient remote team management can become quite daunting. Moreover, the project’s success heavily depends on it.
Offshore software development is a service allowing you to build a software product without hiring software engineers as your main staff but involving a company or individual developers, resorting to an outsourcing model.
Based on our experience at Lvivity, I have compiled a list of tips and best practices to help you effectively manage your offshore software development team.
1. A Distributed Team Is a System
Even if you hire a single remote developer, you will have to manage and build a working system anyway. You have to determine how to set tasks, control their implementation, make out reports, manage interaction among specialists of different profiles, etc.
The good news is that an experienced development team will most likely have all these processes well in hand. Consequently, in case you have decided to collaborate with such a team, you will not have to develop the entire work system from scratch.
2. Establish Clear Communication
When your entire staff works in the same office, you have no problem keeping your colleagues informed about the work progress or current situation. However, in case you hire a remote team, you have to completely rely on various communication tools. Many tools are now available for daily communication among team members to make this communication seamless and efficient. Zoom, Skype, and Slack are the three most popular ones.
The separation of data flows is an important point in this matter. For instance, when you use Slack, you can create department channels, team channels, project channels, and thematic discussion channels. Each employee should be able to subscribe to the very channel they need and not to every existing one. Otherwise, an employee will just drown in the data stream.
High-quality communication allows you to keep yourself up-to-date with events and daily progress, as well as quickly eliminate issues and adjust the work if necessary. Each team member sees they are important, and things depend on them.
3. Synchronize Work Schedule
While working with an offshore development team, you may face the problems of being in quite a different time zone with too much time difference between you and the team. To make your work more comfortable, you can agree upon overlapping hours when your working hours coincide.
In this regard, it is convenient to work with Ukrainian developers as the time difference is not that large as in the case of India, and the price-quality ratio concerning the work will please you too. Even 3 to 4 hours a day may become quite enough to discuss all important issues.
4. Clearly Define the Requirements and Priorities
To do work efficiently, not only customers but also developers have to see the product comprehensively. If they do, they can make flexible decisions, introduce modifications, and prioritize tasks. The ability to comprehend requirements clearly and manage priorities correctly is one of the most valuable skills.
It is great if you can create a clear product roadmap. To achieve that, you have to break up the total amount of work into different stages and time intervals after creating a general list of tasks. This approach is a flexible tool that you can tweak while developing a project.
5. Use the Right Tools
Using the right tools is an essential condition for productivity. A way to achieve that is to minimize the communication channels and tools used by your company. You should have no more than three or four:
- for everyday messages (messengers);
- for calls;
- for project and task management;
- for keeping documentation.
Choosing a project management tool is critical to successfully remote development team management. It should match your company’s needs and scale. Correct tools can optimize the management process and help achieve good results.
Trello, Asana, Jira, and Basecamp are the solutions popular with small startups and IT giants.
6. Conduct Regular Sprint Demos
A demo at the end of a sprint is an important event, providing an opportunity to show the development team’s intermediate results when the iteration is complete. The main purpose of a demo is to show your team’s achievements during a sprint and comprehend if the results meet the expected requirements.
In their turn, the product owner or project manager should provide actionable feedback to developers. It is also important to analyze the past iteration and identify positive and negative sides.
7. Track Work Results
It does not really matter whether your team works in your office or remotely. In any case, you have to evaluate its performance, track progress, and change the strategy if necessary. To do so, you may want to use key performance indicators (KPI) concerning each specific task and your project as a whole.
We advise you to set these indicators in a way that allows you to understand easily and quickly (in a couple of weeks, not 6 months) if each team member is productive enough and the work on the entire project is going on the right way.
8. Treat Them like Your Team, Not an Offshore Team
“Us versus them” thinking is one of the biggest mistakes customers can make when hiring a remote team. It is not worth distancing from offshore developers. You should treat them as part of your team who just work remotely.
Things like distance, cultural barriers, and different time zones can all be a challenge when working on a project. Therefore, you have to be patient and try to get to know the people you work with as much as possible.
Companies can benefit from cooperation with an offshore development team in a variety of cases. Offshore development always pays off if customers do not need to keep software engineers as their staff when they plan an ad hoc project or just cannot afford expensive specialists on an ongoing basis.
In these cases, they can involve an experienced offshore development team to achieve their goals at a lower cost.
You can hire a professional offshore development team at Lvivity. Our company’s qualified specialists will help you build a high-quality software product, sticking to deadlines, based on your business needs and affordable budget.
Contact us, and let us discuss the details!