How to manage an outsourced development team

6 Tips for Managing an Outsourced Team

Outsourcing software development is hugely prominent nowadays and we can hear many, many stories about the projects, which were built with the help of an offshore partner, and succeeded. When choosing outsourcing, you receive a bunch of great benefits, such as access to the talent pool of real professionals around the globe, high level of scalability, costs and time reducing, ability to focus on your core competency, access to the latest technological advancements, and many more.

At the same time, when you outsource the software development of your product, you get the team of developers, who only thanks to adequate and proper management will bring the best results. So, it is crucial to find the right approach to your team and manage it the right way.

Here are the tips which will help you manage your outsourced development team.

Establishing True Partnership

You should treat your offshore development provider like a real partner. Feeling empathy towards them and not being an evil customer who just requires the tasks to be done will create more interest and devotion to your project from that side.

When you start working with an offshore development company, employees from that firm, who work for you, become your employees. So, making them feel the part of one great project and caring about their growth would make these people real members of your team and boost their motivation in your product development. Communicating your idea to them clearly, sharing your vision, making them interested in it, discussing and accepting pieces of advice on the project workflow will bring you closer to your partner.

Outsourcing partnership

So, get to know the people who work on your project, leave some time for small talks and not only business communication, and make them feel you appreciate their work. Also, visiting your remote partner will be a nice and useful gesture from your side that will enable better understanding of your team and how the working process is going on.

Being in Constant Communication

There are no doubts that enough attention must be paid to communication issues. This part of outsourcing process should not be underestimated. To begin with, the idea of your project and requirements set must be clear from the start. However, you should not stop the communication there and check how it is going on from time to time. It must be regular and constant in order to build strong team spirit and for you to be always aware of what is happening. Also, when you choose a software development partner, it is important to discover the communication channels and formats it uses and be sure they are suitable for you too.

Nowadays, there are many ways which enable effective communication when the counterparts are located far from each other. You can use emails, instant messengers, phone calls, video calls, and many more. Using these methods, you may arrange systematic meetings and collaborate on a daily basis. It is good to stick to regular video calls, because this way of communicating provides the maximum level of visualization and better understanding of each other.

Constant communication with your team will keep you updated about what has already been done, what is going to be done further, whether there are any challenges, questions, problems, and if everything is going on how it was planned. Being transparent about your goals, sharing your idea and expectations, communicating your strategy, and collaborating systematically is significant to receive the desired result.

Communication in outsourcing

Keeping the Team Motivated

It does not matter whether it is in-house or somewhere miles away – when a team is working on your project, it is your team. It is good to establish a feedback structure because no feedback means all things are good. When the work is done well and you are satisfied with it – you should make it feel noticed and your employees feel appreciated. And when there is something wrong – your developers must be aware of it.

Furthermore, giving some level of flexibility also pays off. Your development team are real human beings and sometimes they need day offs or vacations. Allowing it would make the work even more productive after all. You can also give some bonuses for amazingly executed tasks. Even if it is not a large sum of money, it is a very nice gesture which is always appreciated by staff. At the same time, all the members of your team must be treated equally, so the bonus system must be the same for everybody.

Eliminating Cultural Discrepancies

Of course, when hiring developers overseas, you have to deal with the fact that their culture differs from yours. At first sight, it may look minor-league issue since the most important thing for understanding each other is speaking the same language (most probably English). But, as a matter of fact, just having proper command of English is not enough, and company’s culture specifics can have a big impact on the working process.

Therefore, you should be aware whether your third party’s culture goes well with your product development culture. Even if there are some differences, both sides have to be familiar with them and mutually respectable. Understanding the communication habits, behavior norms, traditions, and customs of your offshore counterpart will help you avoid some misconceptions. Reading about the country of your partner, getting acquainted with its politics, social norms, traditions, and learning about the way the developers you hire do things and their working culture will help you receive mutual understanding and better results after all. In addition, in order to get closer to the culture of your outsourced development provider, you may arrange some orientation programs for your staff.

Using Project Management Tools

Working with overseas development team on the project requires giving precise and understandable tasks, tracking their executing, setting deadlines, arranging online meetings while adjusting to the time zone of your outsourced developers and their work habits. There are many web-based project management tools, which are simple to use and help make the process running smoothly. Among them:

Trello is an intuitive project management too and is all about Kanban boards. You can create thematic boards and tasks there and track their executing by just moving cards from one list to another, adding your team members to those boards, adding due dates, attaching files, making comments, etc.

Asana is another simple-to-use project management software for creating projects, which enables adding tasks within these projects and subtasks within these tasks. You can also track tasks executing by adding your teammates and assigning tasks to them, add necessary attachments and communicate in real-time.

Wrike makes it possible to view your project in real time and track how it is going by offering spreadsheets to see the whole picture and to-do lists for setting what to do next. There are time-tracking system, general activity stream, dynamic Gantt charts, and other useful features for managing the project development.

Taiga is a project management tool that is ideal for agile projects. It offers agile templates, where you can create sprints and add user stories with the tasks there. It is possible to name a user story, add a description, set the time needed to execute the task for a specific category, such as UX, design, front-end, back-end, choose the progression level, tag the person responsible, etc.

You can find more information about outstanding project management platforms in our article 7 Amazing Project Management Tools

Implementing Agile Practices

Agile methodology and outsourcing software development are the two trends in software development market which enable making the most of the product development. And good news is that these both ways of doing things can get well together. However, in order to implement Agile development, two parties need to support such practices and have a proper understanding of it. Agile implies open well-tuned collaboration and trust between both

parties. Also, you need to be sure about such qualities of your overseas partner as sufficient level of flexibility, collaboration capabilities, and scalability.

Agile methodology implementation

Within Agile methodology implementation, both counterparts agree on making adjustments in software development process when necessary for making working process more effective and receiving better results. This way, overall development process becomes very adaptable and flexible to changes, so, when there is an advancement to be made, it can be done throughout the whole development cycle. Since constant changes in nowadays all the time evolving and unsteady market are a regular thing, using Agile techniques can help adjust to them, implement improvements smoothly, and simply make the overall result better.

So, even when the developers who work on your project are outsourced and located far away, they are still your team members and you should treat them the proper way. Treating your offshore software provider as a partner, communicating regularly with your developers, keeping their motivation up, being aware of their culture specifics and respecting them, applying a suitable project management tool for coordinating tasks executing, and implementing Agile methodology can be a great help in organizing effective and productive work with your overseas counterpart and achieving amazing results.

Hopefully, this article has given you useful and interesting information which will help you manage your outsourced team in an efficient way and obtain spectacular results.

Author: Zoriana Skoropad

BDM at Exoft

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