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How to effectively manage a remote development team?

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What’s the outsourcing definition, and why many companies around the world decide to cooperate with remote development teams?

 

Let’s imagine a situation where you and your team decide that the best thing you can do to make your company thrive is to build an app or a tool that will help you place yourself ahead of your competitors. Perhaps you don’t have enough knowledge and human resources to take care of software development on your own. If so, your company should find the best specialists or development teams that have enough capacity to build your product exactly how you need it.

 

One can say – you don’t need to look very far to find them. But looking further or even offshore for a dev team might save you time and money while maintaining the top-notch quality of your product. Outsourcing may be an option here. Find out how to take the best advantage of it while saving time and money!

 

1. What to do to make the remote team focus on the main goal?

 

In our latest blog post treating on the pros and cons of outsourcing, we mentioned that in such a cooperation you need to be very precise regarding communication. Be very specific about what your expectations are and what your product should look like when it’s done. At the same time don’t forget to listen and get to know your offshore team ideas. It’s their job to combine your business goals, needs, and desires with technological capacities.

 

What is incredibly important in terms of working with a remote development team is to share the big picture of your idea. It is especially crucial at the beginning and will help you keep all the team members on the same page.

 

2. How to manage communication with offshore teams?

 

Speak up! Make sure the team is aware of all your needs and the features you want your product to have. This rule applies not just to when you start working with a remote development team. It is also crucial at the time after kickoff and during further development phases. Please do share your feedback exhaustively and make sure that everyone understood it. Don’t rush the meetings. Take your time to share all of the remarks along with the work you liked.

 

Remember that in this kind of relationship – where daily, face to face sessions are not possible – you should share everything. It doesn’t matter if it goes as expected or you want to make a remark. Keep in mind that sincere communication is vital and keeps the partnership comfortable and convenient.

 

outsourcing

 

3. How to take advantage of time zone differences? 

 

One of the biggest challenges of outsourcing and cooperating with an offshore development team is working across time zones. Let’s imagine the situation that the headquarters location of your company is in the US. Your outsourcing partner and the development team are based in Poland (country ranked number three on the Hacker Rank list of the “10 Top Countries with The Best Programmers”). Warsaw is 6 hours ahead of New York City time zone. It means that you’d probably have just two or three overlapping work hours during the day, but don’t give up, there’s an easy solution.

 

Try to schedule a phone or video call with your offshore team members early in the morning. You’ll catch them working on your project. Honestly speaking, unless it’s your preference, then you won’t have to speak every day with the development team. You’re leaving work in experts’ hands. The team will contact you if they need answers. Say, you have a team working on your project in 2 weeks sprints. You’ll have to be present at organizational meetings once every week or two weeks. Just schedule a regular rolling meeting with the team and make sure to look up updates every day at your convenience.

 

Different time zones won’t make your product any less successful! What’s more, whenever you find something’s wrong and needs verification, write a message to the manager assigned to your project. No matter what time it is on the other side of the globe. If you do so, the problems you reported will be fixed when you come back to the office early in the morning.

 

4. How to allow developers to understand what I’m saying? 

 

Every organization needs someone at the top continually over-communicating what’s important so that there is clarity of purpose, focus, and alignment. But also do remember to make what you say as clear and straightforward as possible. Most of the software developers working for outsourcing companies speak English fluently, but there’s a high likeability that it’s not their mother tongue. Of course, it doesn’t make them any less professional when it comes to their work. We’ll get to that part in a minute.

 

Be very precise and direct, don’t beat around the bush and don’t leave room for speculations. Whenever you’re not sure whether the things you said were clear for your remote development team, ask them to summarize what you said to ensure that they got all the nuances. You can also try to show examples, make a screenshot, point out your remark, or show a benchmark on the other website – it’ll be much easier to confront the challenges when you prepare comprehensive feedback.

 

remote development team

 

Wondering if outourcing is a good idea for you?

Talk to our team and find out the answer!

5. How to avoid wasting time and money?

 

Whenever it’s possible, try sitting down with the project manager regularly to make a backlog of tasks and verify existing ones if they still apply to the current situation. That way whenever there’s a need for you to address an issue within a task in progress, team members, before continuing work on it, can just move on to a different assignment in the meantime.

 

As you may already know, there are multiple reasons why developers get stuck on certain tasks. It’s typically not their fault, so try to be understanding. They may be unable to continue their work on a task because of a compilation error being fixed by someone else or have business-related questions only you can answer. This is why we recommend an Agile way of scheduling tasks. When developers need to stop for a moment with one of them, they can move to a different part of the project that needs to be done anyway.

 

6. How to deal with long distance?

 

Conference calls are the solution. This one might seem pretty obvious, but it is worth stressing. Sometimes it might be hard to make room in your daily schedule for a video chat, but it’s definitely a good step towards good productivity of your offshore development team.

 

It’s a great substitute to face to face meetings because without them it’s going to be hard to find out what’s the team’s attitude towards the changes you want to implement in their work.

 

7. How to squeeze maximum productivity out of an offshore team?

 

Give them the real work to do. It’s true that one of the cut-and-dried pros of outsourcing is savings, though lower wage doesn’t mean that you should give easier tasks to an offshore team. True enough a simple and quick assignment can be used to verify how the team will perform.

 

The fact that you pay Polish developers much less than those hired in the US doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them the real job to do. Remember that their cost of living is a fraction of Silicon Valley. Their wage is lower not because they are junior developers and don’t have enough knowledge to meet your expectations. It’s just the fact that the place they live in is much cheaper.

 

8. How to manage a remote team working on your software development?

 

Try to get familiar with their management structure and systems – every project has an assigned manager to it, and their job is to make everything go exactly how you want it with maximum productivity. Understanding that micromanaging from afar might not be a good idea is crucial. Although whenever you find out something’s moving in the wrong direction, contact the project manager, and set the record straight.

 

It is in the best interest of both – you and your offshore partner – to make sure that the team can be self-managing and successful.

 

9. What’s the best way to explain what you need?

 

Provide examples – this also applies in case of limited options for face to face meetings. Whenever you don’t like something, it needs a change, or you want to show an example, go for it. Literally! Be very specific. Explain and depict everything via screenshots, or short video footage.

 

Use the features available on your phone or computer. Make short videos or photos, write comments to given examples and discuss them over a phone call or video conference. Flowcharts, charts, graphic representation of what you want to achieve do the job.

 

10. How to improve relations between the offshore team and the one working in your office?

 

The worst thing to do is to differentiate between your team in the office and the one working offshore. It can become unhealthy for both sides – they can create an “us vs. them” mentality where real cooperation won’t be possible, and people won’t feel that they’re on the same team.

 

The solution for you here is to treat your offshore programmers as a part of your team, just working remotely. Please include them in the in-house communication whenever it’s possible.

 

Take the best advantages of IT outsourcing and make your company thrive

 

Outsourcing and working with a remote development team will be much more manageable when you decide to follow the 10 tips mentioned above. Don’t forget about the proper communication and cooperation with the manager assigned to your project – it’ll make working with the offshore team easier than you anticipated.

 

If you still have doubts about whether it’s an option for you, consider how much time and in-house resources, you’ll save once you decide to outsource the software development of your product abroad. Find a reliable and professional technological partner and focus on what is most important here – your core business.

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