How to work with offshore teams and manage remote offshore teams successfully?

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

Introduction

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. Outsourcing to an offshore team allows you to hire expert professionals for a fraction of the price that you would have to pay if you would hire full-time in-house employees. Besides the salaries of the employees, you save on other expenditures such as national insurance contributions, health insurance, sick pay, bonuses, and other employee benefits. You are not required to spend money on office space, IT infrastructure, and utilities such as electricity. Moreover, a business can easily decrease or increase the size of the team according to its requirements. Thus, businesses enjoy both flexibility and scalability by outsourcing their projects to offshore teams

Overview of Offshore Teams

An offshore team usually implies a certain number of specialists who work for you remotely. These people can be located anywhere and whole communication is being done through messengers, video chats, and phone calls. Hiring remote developers or any other type of specialists used to be a great way to save financial resources back in the day. Such practice was usually associated with small companies that had a lack of financing. However, today the situation is different and even huge companies turn offshore as it has a number of undeniable benefits.

Here are 5 reasons why businesses hire offshore teams:

  1. Controlled Costs
  2. Drastically Improved Efficiency
  3. Focus on Overlooked Areas
  4. Access to a Global Talent
  5. Flexibility

Handling the Common Challenges in Offshore Team Management

Here are the most common challenges that clients come across while handing their offshore teams

Communication Challenges

There are two things that can make or break the whole project: time-zone difference and language skills of an offshore vendor. A significant difference in time zones makes it difficult to communicate with an outsourced team, postpones calls and video meetings, lowers team productivity, and delays project delivery

How to overcome the challenge – There has to be at least 2-3 hours overlap between you and an offshore partner. Overlapping hours can be effectively used for communication, feedback, checking the project progress, etc. When all the expectations are set up front, it becomes much easier to achieve them, as well as monitor the development process. The outsourced team has to clearly understand what is expected from them and what the requirements for the future product are

Lack of Control

For some managers, being in charge of every step on the development timeline is crucial – that’s why working with an independent vendor is an uncomfortable experience. Not being able to ensure the project progresses according to plan is one of the challenges that come with outsourcing

How to overcome the challenge – To know how to manage a remote development team, a business manager can send a trusted employee to work at the dedicated office and oversee project development. Asking for a personal account manager who keeps tabs on the product’s progress is another way to get more control over the development

Ineffective Project Management

The unclear roadmap or not understanding what’s going on at each particular development stage, without a doubt, are the red signs that something goes wrong. If you came across these offshore team challenges, it can either mean that the vendor is incompetent or aren’t following the methods that you use in your work

How to overcome the challenge – Ensure that the outsourced team fully understands and follows the development methodology a project requires. Make sure that the outsourcing company does have access to the technologies or tools needed for the completion of the project

How to Get Maximum Productivity from an Offshore Team

Daily Meetups

Communication is the key to development success. That goes for any kind of group effort, and doubly so when the people are geographically disparate. Staying constantly updated on the work progress is especially important when your team is half-world away from you. To make the most out of it, use one of the project management models (Scrum, Kanban, Agile, etc.) while working with the outsourcing agency. By ensuring that your people all talk to each other daily, you’re keeping information flowing. Everyone knows what’s being worked on, and what their part is.

Sprint Planning

Despite the daily stand-up, everyone is going to be largely working on their own tasks, and there’s a real danger of people’s work getting in each other’s way. The planning meeting is when those tasks are explained and handed out. If you’re following Agile (which you should), then you’ll have a scrum master and a product owner both participating to ensure that everyone comes out of the meeting knowing exactly what to do and why. As for the length of the sprint, that’s up to you

Discuss Your Project Goals

Just assigning a project to an offshore team without letting them know the goal behind it can land you in trouble. The developed product may not be as you expected it to be. Offshore developers require 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.

Make Use of Agile Methodology

As software development is a process that requires a high level of interaction and iteration, the adoption of agile methodology for offshore teams helps in the development and delivery of a high-quality software product on time
It involves breaking a project into short iterations or phases known as sprints. The length of the sprint may vary. For example, a sprint may be just of one-week duration or it may be as long as one or two months. You can prioritize features so that they can be allocated to the different sprints. At the start of a sprint, you and your offshore team can hold a discussion about the feature and plan in much more detail than that was done at the project’s beginning

Communicate Frequently and Use Simple Language

When working with your remote team, you can communicate very easily and frequently by initiating face-to-face talk whenever you require. With offshore teams, you should communicate even more frequently so that all the things are clear and there is no confusion despite the large distance between your in-house and offshore teams

Communicating with Offshore Teams

Here are some highly recommendable communication tools that help you when you are working with remote teams

JIRA

The king of Agile-based project management apps, Jira is a complete cloud suite for handling projects of any size. The toolset includes everything from planning to analytics, allowing you set clear, actionable goals, and track their progress. Jira is highly customizable and can work equally well for any of the Agile methodologies. Whether your organization prefers Scrum, Kanban, you can set it up in Jira

Confluence

Another product from the makers of Jira, Confluence is one of the best collaborative document systems we’ve seen. On the surface, it’s similar to Google Docs. Multiple people can share a document, view and edit it simultaneously. Changes can be suggested and accepted, and there’s a robust commenting system. The software supports user-definable templates for different documents, labeling, and cross-document notes. On top of all that, Confluence interfaces perfectly with Jira. Taken together, the tools make a very powerful collaboration system

Bitbucket

Bitbucket Cloud is a Git-based code hosting and collaboration tool, built for teams. Bitbucket’s best-in-class Jira and Trello integrations are designed to bring the entire software team together to execute a project. It helps you to track, preview, and confidently promote your deployments

GitHub

GitHub hosts your source code projects in a variety of different programming languages and keeps track of the various changes made to every iteration. It lets you and others work together on projects from anywhere

TeamViewer

TeamViewer, is an all-in-one solution for remote support, remote access, and online meetings which allows you to assist customers remotely, work with colleagues from a distance and also stay connected with your own devices or assist friends and family members. It even supports mobile devices, a must for mobile app development

Slack or Skype

Slack and Skype are the most popular communication tools that are used by clients who are managing remote teams. They feature robust chat room and private messaging functionality, along with VoIP and even video calls. Use these tools correctly, and you’ll eliminate all of the communication problems endemic to offshoring

Frequently Asked Questions

Understand the common challenges or questions in the mind of our customers

We can develop all types of mobile applications, including
  • Native Apps Development
  • Mobile-web Apps Development
  • Hybrid Apps Development

Here is our app development process.
  • Analyzing Requirements
  • Wireframing & Designing
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Deployment
  • Support and Maintenance

Our mobile app development team will assist you, depending upon the type of change you want in your application. The modification in your application will be chargeable.

Yes, in fact nearly every mobile app that we build also needs a web-based application behind the scenes to drive it. There is a web server in the background, serving the app with data that is checking whether you have permission to log in, or not.

We start by creating a central database that will hold all your data; we then put in place an interface (an API) to allow the web and mobile apps to send and receive this data.

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