Best Practices to Manage a Dedicated Offshore Team
In today’s global economy, in which digitalization is prioritized, and the world is interconnected, it is common for businesses to hire offshore development teams to handle software development projects and other technical work. However, managing an offshore team comes with unique challenges that can affect project timelines, cost, and quality. In this blog post, we will go through the best practices for managing an offshore development team to ensure productivity, quality, and effective collaboration despite geographic boundaries.
What Is a Dedicated Offshore Development Team?
A dedicated offshore development team is a group of IT professionals, typically based in a foreign country, who are hired as a single unit to provide software development services. These types of software outsourcing services are often used by companies looking to expand their development capabilities without the need for in-house hiring or training.
The team is ‘dedicated’ because they work exclusively on the client’s projects, essentially becoming an extension of the client’s in-house team but located in a different geographical location. The offshore aspect refers to the team being located in a different country, often in a different time zone.
The team consists of various specialists, such as developers, designers, testers, project managers, etc., all working together to achieve the client’s objectives. These teams can be tailored according to the specific needs and requirements of the client’s project.
Why Choose an Offshore Team Over Onshore or Nearshore One?
Choosing an offshore team over an onshore or nearshore one can have numerous benefits, the most significant of which is cost efficiency. Labor costs in offshore locations are often considerably lower than in onshore or nearshore regions, leading to substantial savings on salaries, infrastructure, and operational costs. This makes offshore outsourcing a highly cost-effective solution for businesses.
Furthermore, offshore outsourcing opens up access to a global talent pool. Businesses can leverage the skills and expertise of professionals from around the world, potentially leading to improved quality in their products or services. This access to a diverse range of talent that may not be readily available domestically can be a game-changer for many businesses.
Another key advantage of having an offshore team is the possibility of 24/7 productivity. Due to differences in time zones, offshore teams can continue working even when the domestic team is off-duty. This ensures continuous productivity and can be particularly beneficial for customer support roles or projects with tight deadlines.
Offshore teams also provide greater scalability. They typically have larger resource pools, allowing businesses to quickly and efficiently increase or decrease their team size based on project requirements. This flexibility can save businesses from the logistical and financial challenges associated with hiring or laying off onshore staff.
Finally, by offshoring routine or specialized tasks, the onshore team can focus more on core business functions, strategic planning, and growth initiatives. This will result in increased efficiency and effectiveness in achieving business goals.
Best Practices to Run and Manage a Remote Development Team
Managing offshore development teams can be a challenging task due to the inherent complexities such as cultural differences, communication barriers, time zone differences, and more. However, with the right strategies and tools, it can be effectively managed. Here are some best practices that you can follow:
Communication Is Key
Effective communication is one of the most critical factors in managing an offshore development team. When it comes to communication, it’s essential to establish clear lines of communication, set expectations, and stay in regular touch with your team. Use tools like Skype, Slack, or Zoom to communicate. You must keep your team informed about the project’s progress, changes in goals, and deadlines. Make sure to communicate as professionally as possible, avoiding any misunderstandings.
Set Clear Expectations
When working with an offshore team, it’s essential to set clear expectations. The expectations should include what tasks the team is working on, who is responsible for what, milestones, deadlines, communication protocols, and project goals. By doing this, you reduce the risk of any misunderstandings that might delay or derail your project.
Building relationships with your offshore team is critical. It helps build trust, nurtures collaboration, and can significantly reduce any communication barriers. Consider having virtual team-building events and introducing your team in a non-work setting so they can feel comfortable engaging with you.
Set Up Effective Processes
Efficient processes are essential when it comes to managing an offshore team. Have proper documentation detailing the communication protocols, workflow, and responsibilities. Create a project management tool where the team can update their status on the project so you can track the project’s progress. Regularly review the processes and document any changes made.
Empower the Development Team
Empowering your offshore development team is vital for maximum productivity. Give them access to resources and tools, provide training and mentorship, and encourage collaboration. When the team feels empowered, they take ownership of their work and are motivated to take the initiative.
Utilize Project Management Tools
Project management software like Asana, Trello, and JIRA can help manage workflow, prioritize tasks, and monitor progress. These tools allow teams to collaborate and track project milestones in real time, ensuring that the whole team is on track and that the project is moving forward as planned.
Build a Positive Team Culture
Building a positive team culture can help foster good morale, collaboration, and motivation. Encourage all team members to seamlessly communicate and collaborate with each other, provide opportunities for team building, and recognize outstanding work to build a positive team environment.
Prioritize Security and Data Protection
When working with offshore teams, it is important to prioritize security and data protection. Ensure that sensitive data is shared securely, establish secure access levels, and put data protection policies in place to protect confidential information.
To build trust, you need to establish accountability and transparency. This involves giving your team members the autonomy to manage their own workload while still keeping them accountable. Be transparent about your expectations and how you’re tracking project progress. Ensure you’re open and honest in your communications, and don’t shy away from difficult conversations.
Embracing technology is crucial for managing offshore development teams in today’s world. Utilize the latest online collaboration tools, software applications, project management platforms, and other cloud-based services. By using technology, you can collaborate in real time with your team, streamline your workflows, and stay on top of the project’s progress.
11+ years strategic communications, marketing, and project management experience. I am a trainer at StarWood Training Institute, focusing on online courses for project management professionals.