5 Tips on How To Effectively Communicate With Your Offshore Team

Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.
– Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Be it career or personal relationships Communication is an integral aspect that’s required for survival and for success. In order to build better relationships with your friends, family, clients or employees you must hone your communication skills.Working with offshore teams is a common practice in the IT industry. Web and mobile app development are among the most common tasks that are outsourced to offshore development teams. 

Usually, companies outsource their projects to offshore teams because of two main reasons, firstly, to better utilize their resources & time for focusing on their core business, and secondly, to get the work done at a significantly reduced cost.

To summarize Communication requires mutual commitment and participation. The success of your software isn’t “the other guy’s problem”, it is a mutually-owned responsibility.

1.) Connect offshore team with Business goals

At school my teacher instructed “Here are 5 blocks you have, and you have to keep one box above another vertically”. As a disciplined student I did and later my teacher said, “Keep a horizontal stick above the blocks such that it becomes alphabet T which you just studied”. When I placed the horizontal stick above the blocks, I got a bit disappointed as the resulting structure didn’t resemble alphabet T, the reason being the alignment of vertical blocks wasn’t straight at all.

Had the teacher shared the entire objective or goals of the blocks being provided I would have done it correctly and not cried at that time (sympathy please!).

So, provide Offshore developers with full product vision before starting working on the project. Tell them why you want the product, what functions you want in the product, what specifications you want in the product, and when you are expecting it to be developed and delivered. This allows them to think and work creatively, innovatively and effectively to provide their best.

2.) Software developers are inexperienced, and code quality is poor

 The biggest complaint from offshore development is the quality of the work being produced. The old idiom, “You pay for what you get,” couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to software development. The reason why it costs so much to build products is it requires high technical skills, a lot of time, and years of training.

If you’re taking your product development offshore you need to verify the skill and competence of the team you’re working with (just as you would in the United States), and if you’re quoted a cheap price, you need to expect the quality won’t be worthwhile.

3.)  Choose the best communication tool.

The market is flooded with communication tools, but we should smell out the most effective one among them that is helpful for you and your team. Here is a list of how to efficiently use various communication methods between distant teams:

  1. Emails: For written communication there should be one email address for one person. Instruct the offshore team to not dance with multiple emails. Use it for project meeting notes, official communication, schedules and commitments.
  2. Chats: We can use Skype, Slack for simple clarifications, midway updates. Make it more efficient by creating a group with all members in it.
  3. Organized Document Repository. GoogleDocs and SharePoint are the flagship tools for creating good file organization with helpful search engines.
  4. Case / Issue Tracking: We can consider Jira or Salesforce as they are very good and preferred case logging platform

4.) Avoid Micromanagement:

If you will try to micromanage the work of your offshore team of your office, this will only lead to annoyance among the employees. Micromanagement is considered a negative practice that eventually results in the breakdown of trust between the employees and the employer. This loss of trust can have drastic consequences such as loss of productivity and employee resignation.

The best way to manage a team of offshore developers is by appointing a senior developer as team lead or rather by hiring a project manager. This person can make use of the best team handling and management practices to achieve fruitful results.

It is in the best of interests of you and your offshore partner to ensure that the offshore team can be self – dependent, manageable and successful at the same time. So, it’s important to make sure you have the right mix of senior developers and potentially a project manager or a team lead.

5.) Treat Offshore Team as A Partner

Treat the offshore team provided by the outsourcing company as your business partner. When you treat your offshore team as equal to you, it is natural that the team members will work harder for you. They will willingly want to have more overlapping hours with you and may even change their shifts to match your schedule.

Conclusion

The gist of good offshore development and coordination with in-house teams is effective communication, management and modular form of development. A good management structure with effective communications can drive coordination. Having tools and programming languages that both teams on-site and offshore can understand can also ease the workflow when it comes to collaboration and testing.

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