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5 Secret Tips to Managing Offshore Software Development Teams!
“The important thing about Offshoring or global sourcing is that it becomes a very powerful tool to leverage talent, improve productivity and reduce work cycles.” - Azim Premji.
Offshoring has never taken the center-stage like it does today.
Technological evolution has been on steroids with a new painting on the canvas every other year. Thus, software development outsourcing seems the logical way out to maintain deliverable today.
And when it comes to outsourcing, offshore team management takes high priority!
What are the Challenges Faced While Managing Offshore Teams?
Offshore team management brings in a lot of challenges like:
● Communication challenges across different time zones
● Cultural and language barriers
● Lack of face-to-face interaction
● Managing project timelines in a dispersed delivery environment
1. Never Play Customer
Although you technically are one, acting like a customer and/or a boss can be a huge buzz-kill for team motivation.
While there is bound to be the demarcation of onsite and offsite teams, your job is to blur this line as much as possible.
Working as a single team should be the end-goal with the accepted fact that some of the team members work in different time zones.
Make an effort to know about their background and work life. Show interest in what they like and do.
This will make communications much smoother in the long run.
2. Flow of InformationThis is the foundation role of offshore team management.
Have a reliable method to exchange information between both the teams.
Help them know all about the client, their expectations, the details of the project, work ethics involved, etc.
The aim is to include them in the action as much as possible so that they don’t feel left out and understand their responsibilities at the same time.
To sum it up, they should know everything about the client as much as the onshore team does.
Foster a work ethic and culture where no one is hesitant to ask any question, even if it means repeating it.
Actively deploy technologies for seamless communication, especially project management tools like Skype and Google Hangouts that facilitate video calling.
3. Have a Motivational SystemNothing beats enthusiasm than not getting your efforts recognized.
Always be generous towards team members who are proving to be integral cogs of the project. Herzberg’s Two-factor Theory of Motivation reiterates this by placing Motivators as one of the driving factors.
Here is an effective method to follow here:
a. Criticize in Private
b. Praise in Public
While positive feedback can go a long way in setting the right tone of work ethic, it is also important to let team members know about their mistakes as and when they arise.
Performance Management is key to leadership in this case.
4. Remove Cultural BarriersChances are that there is a stark contrast between the working process followed by your offshore and onshore teams.
Cultural differences, a constructive knack for questioning decisions, the extent of focus placed on solving customer issues, etc. play a vital role in the success of the project.
Understand the working process of your partner.
Make a constructive relationship with offshore managers, know the whole team and try to interact with as many of them as possible.
Don’t shy from shooting an email or two for this purpose or actively setting up team building activities.
Most importantly, slowly foster a winning mentality in the whole team and align them towards the same set of goals and achievements to be pursued.
If you are successfully able to do so, the distance would be just another metric.
5. Follow a Proven Management MethodWhile it is always easier to manage things via face-to-face interactions, management of virtual teams is always challenging.
Hence, to maximize your chances of success and optimize teamwork, it pays to follow proven management methodologies like Scrum.
Scrum accurately determines the process of the workflow, making sure that the most priority tasks are executed first.
Tasks are broken down into Sprints that have to be completed according to the set timeline.
ConclusionTo sum it up, the offshore team should feel like an extension of your own office in another country.
Not only will this help you achieve your goals but will also set a management precedence that can prove to be highly rewarding for you in the long run.
Managing virtual teams is the norm of the connected world today that we live in today.
Distances are being easily taken out of the equation through effective communication tools like Skype and Slack.
You download an exclusive copy of "Executive's Guide to Software Outsourcing" here -
Do you have any offshore teams? How do you manage them? What are your challenges? Let's discuss in the comment section -