How to Succeed in Business Using Offshore Team Management
The offshore development or outsourcing is a popular IT service delivery model, in which all the programmers are located in the other country. Managing offshore development teams you should be ready to have no face-to-face interaction with people working in your project. All the communication is usually held through Skype, messengers, video calls, and any other digital means. The best practices for managing offshore resources show, that this model works best of all in well-planned and structured projects.
This model is popular because of the benefits and opportunities it opens. Cost reduction, flexibility, improved quality, and productivity are among the reasons to choose to outsource:
- The popularity of this model is growing: in 2018 the global market size of the outsourced services reached $85.6 billion. Europe, Middle East, and Africa appeared to be the biggest markets for outsourcing.
- IT outsourcing took more than a half from the global amount of the outsourced industry. In 2018 the revenue has reached $62 billion in comparison to $23.6 billion in revenue from the business process outsourcing.
Differences in Managing In-house and Offshore IT Resources
In comparison to onshore, offshore team management is more complicated. It requires more specific skills, attention and effort from the project or technical manager. If it is your first experience in organizing the remote work, keep in mind some differences between these two models important for the offshore remote team manager:
|In-House Team||Offshore Team|
|Required resources and technology||PMs use defined usual resources and tools limited for the specific projects.||You can pick any available extensive resource, use technologies and involve outer experts.|
|Speed of work||Steady, gradual.||Gradual, faster.|
|The expertise of the team||Narrow, specific.||Wider.|
|Flexibility||More defined, strict procedures.||More adaptive and flexible workflow.|
|Legal issues||Easier to manage because of the clear local legislation.||Issues may happen according to the differences in regulations and laws.|
|Management and communication||Easily controlled, centralized, responsive, you can control the efficiency on-site.||Workflow is less manageable, significantly depends on the communication skills and self-organization of the remote team.|
|Data security||On a high level, easy to manage and control.||On the lower level, it is more difficult to control it.|
In-depth understanding of the sphere and tasks, skills, patience, and diligence are important for both in-house and outsourcing models of work. And here offshore team management skills are extremely important for the success of the whole project.
Smart Tools and Best Practices for Managing Offshore Resources
Managing work with offshore team, don’t wait for some magic spell for increasing effectiveness, team happiness, and motivation. Actually, these all are tasks for the team manager. Long-distance relations with the programmers are not simple – it is true for both personal and work relations. What can you do as a manager? We’ve prepared 6 best practices to deal with the remote team.
1. Set Boundaries and Schedules
Sometimes the members of one remote team are working in different time zones. For the comfort of all the employees, discuss work schedules with each of them and distinguish common working hours. Show that you respect the personal time of each worker. Setting work schedule you make sure that no one will break a sleep of the colleague or disturb others during personal time. Use management tips for offshore teams to make the interaction more comfortable.
2. Encourage Diversity
The best practices for managing offshore resources always remind about the cultural differences in the international team. Misunderstanding and conflicts of people from different countries, cultures, and religions may become a big obstacle in the work. To solve this problem, encourage workers to receive feedback, promote the policy “celebrate differences”, be respectful about traditions, national and religious holidays of the team members.
3. Be Clear and Inform About Your Expectations Timely
Set clear goals to keep your workers focused on the main tasks and goals of the company. To exclude misunderstanding, define from the very beginning working hours, communication system, availability, the timing of the meetings and email response, key tasks, and deadlines.
4. Improve Your Communication Skills
Managing an offshore team you may find out that your communication skills are not good enough to set successful cooperation among the remote team members. And online communication skills can be defined as a separate topic in this field. To receive better results in communicating with the remote developers be concise and quick during the meetings, improve writing skills.
5. Give Support When Needed
Manager for offshore teams is not only about organization and control of the workflow. This work is also about giving your team a helping hand when they need it. If your employees feel worried about something, or you know about some issues bothering them – understand the needs of the employees and try to solve the problems as soon as possible.
6. Don’t Underestimate the Right Software
Have everything under one roof if you don’t want to get a mess instead of a project. Use the smart applications and programs to communicate, track progress and productivity, maintain timesheets, share the information, discuss work issues, interact with other team members. Managing an offshore team using G Suite may also be comfortable. Simple Google Docs, shared calendars, video conference tool available from any gadget, screen sharing, spreadsheets and cloud for file sharing – only a short list of the Google services people use for business.
After you determine what exactly you are going to do with your remote team of the developers, it’s time to choose some tools which can help you. Of course, it is possible to stay in touch with the offshore IT resources using only email or Skype, but it is not enough for the communication to be efficient. For different tasks and types of interaction, it is better to use combined means. You will find a perfect combination during work. And for now as an example of managing offshore team we have a list of the tools you can apply:
- TimeDoctor – a tool which helps to raise productivity. You can see in real time, how your employees are working. Check if they spend half of the day on FaceBook. Another option for this aim – SalesHandy.
- G Suite – Google offers a wide range of services. Several people can have access to the calendar with the schedule, spreadsheet or document. Some projects also use Google Classroom for business needs.
- Skype – a chat program with the options of the video call, file exchange, and group conversations. For chatting offshore IT resources also use Slack, Zoom, and Google Hangouts. VoIP is also used for messaging, video calls and task management.
- Jing – a screen capture tool, which can help if you need to show what you see or what you are doing. A similar tool TeamViewer also allows controlling another computer remotely.
Managing an offshore team you can choose several tools or pick just one with the widest range of options. The choice highly depends on the scale and aims of a particular project. But even the smallest project requires full engagement and a lot of effort.
Main Benefits of Managing an Offshore Team
Companies, which know how to manage offshore developers, use their 3 main benefits to build successful projects:
- Large talent pool. When you hire in-house workers, you mostly have access to the candidates from your city. Hiring remotely you can reach any country and any part of the world. It is a possibility to choose the best of the best without paying attention to the place of residence.
- Cost saving. With the help of outsourcing, you can cut your budget in different ways. For the offshore team manager, remote workers mean smaller salary, lower taxes, no expenses for the office maintenance. Hiring remote workers on a project basis is also cheaper than a crew of full-time employees.
- More time. The remote team is mostly interested in fast work. The developers can complete your project and move to another. Of course, if it is not a long-term project. You can also choose a team with the project manager – it will save time for the communication and coordination of work. The remote manager will cope with the team, and you will have time for the other tasks.
5 Smart Management Tips for Offshore Teams Productivity
Some managers say – work with the remote programmers can make you want to tear your hair out. But it also gives the competitive strength for the company, improves the skills of the in-house staff and gives the benefits mentioned above. That’s why we’ve prepared 5 management tips for offshore teams, which will make your work more pleasant and effective:
- Measure everything you can. If you pay for the hours worked – track these hours for every worker. Make sure the employees are not wasting time watching YouTube or scrolling Instagram.
- Use systems. Don’t let people invent their own processes and procedures. The best variant is to have clear documents with standards you want people to correspond.
- Be flexible, but set measures. People, working from different parts of the world will probably have different working hours. Respect this time, but also set some rules. For example, distinguish the time of common online-meetings.
- Track the progress. The output can also be measured – it is the main indicator of your success. Divide a big task into some small goals so it will be easier to watch the progress and understand what is done.
- Check if the virtual team members are doing ok. Work from home can make people feel isolated and lonely. It is important to check if your employees are still feeling good about this type of work, it can influence productivity a lot.
It is not an easy task to manage an offshore development team, so it is important to determine all the positive and negative sides of this model of work:
|Lower price in comparison to the in-house development team.||Low security – the confidential information may leak through the communication channels.|
|No commitment – if you don’t like the employee, you can end the cooperation after one project.||Deceiving profiles – there is always a risk to meet someone who claims the expertise they don’t have.|
|A great pool of talent – you have more chances to find someone brilliant.||Communication issues – different time zones, languages, business hours can make some problems.|
|Efficient budget – find the performers who better suits you by the price and quality.||Poor transparency – lack of in-person communication may cause in no trust and work issues.|
|Greater speed of the delivery – the remote workers are usually interested in completing the project without the delays.||Dependence of an outsourcer – you will have to work with this agency again if you need software support and maintenance.|
Manage an Offshore Development Team in Ukraine
If you choose the offshore team management software development can become much easier and cheaper process. Many startups and businesses have already tried this model of work and succeed. If you really are to choose between the offshore and in-house web software development, pay attention to the main criteria: budget, the scale of the project, and deadlines. And if you are looking for a professional outsourcing company – you are in the right place.
In Mobilunity we know how to manage an offshore development team. We have many professional programmers working with different coding languages and tools. Here you will get a dedicated team of professionals, completed according to the tasks and needs of the project. And the offshore developers’ manager will do his best to coordinate the team for fast, qualitative and effective work.
We manage an offshore development team in Ukraine – it is another advantage of our team. In this country, you will find the professional developers for the lowest prices in Europe. The time difference between Ukraine and European countries is about 3 hours, it is comfortable for communication. And if you want to meet us – Kyiv is easy to reach.