Digital Colliers

Aug 6, 2020

8 min read

How To Successfully Manage An Offshore Software Development Team

Practical tips on working with offshore teams

Onboarding

  • Introduce your offshore team to their direct counterparts at your company and agree on rules of engagement;
  • Make a company-wide announcement introducing your new offshore team to the employees;
  • If possible, invite the key offshore team members for an introductory period (1–2 weeks, or more if needed) onsite to kick-off the project work and transfer the necessary know-how first hand;
  • Define the working hours and work schedule, keeping in mind the time difference between your offices;
  • Create chat groups and communication channels for your onsite and offshore team members to use;
  • Ensure the necessary information sharing tools are available to both onsite and offshore teams (Google Drive, Dropbox, Jira etc.).

Rules of communication

  • Schedule regular meetings (daily, weekly) of relevant team members and groups;
  • Use a service like the World Clock Meeting Planner to help your team members schedule meetings with colleagues working in different time zones;
  • Encourage and schedule personal, individual meetings and “coffee chats” between your employees working onsite and your offshore vendor team members to build relationships and share knowledge;
  • Ensure regular reporting on the progress of work and project specification changes — weekly or daily, as necessary — with full transparency.

Handling the time difference

  • Design the time difference into your modus operandi right from the start — simply make sure that proper resources are available when needed, through shift work, flexible hours etc. Expect to work early mornings or late evenings some of the time, and make sure your offshore team’s structures are aligned with yours and the work is planned accordingly.
  • Plan meeting attendance on a “need to be” basis — allocate only those team members who must or should attend a given meeting, especially if it’s held outside typical working hours in a given time zone.
  • Keep meeting face to face — organize all your meetings as video calls or meetings on Zoom (or another service), whether they’re status updates, reports or impromptu calls. Keeping the face to face contact will build relationships and will greatly enhance the team productivity.
  • Be productive — there are only a couple of hours a day when you and the offshore team can meet online to discuss key issues. Use the rest of the time in asynchronous channels of communications, like Slack, for updates, reports and discussing non-urgent issues.
  • Define and follow a time-zone working schedule — plan your onsite and offshore teams’ work to account for time differences and follow it daily/weekly to make sure resources are used efficiently.
  • Respect employees’ time off — be constantly aware of time zone differences and make sure to let your offshore team members have their time off, as scheduled. Working night shifts is fine, as long as the team have their time off to rest, relax with their families and regenerate.

Choosing the right tools

Meetings

Collaboration

Project management

File sharing

Managing performance

Summary

source: EY, Outsourcing in Europe

Communication

Tools

  • Zoom for meetings
  • Slack for project work and collaboration
  • Jira for project management and tasks
  • Google Drive for intra-team and company-wide file sharing and editing

Processes