Nowadays it is pretty common for a company to have its development team scattered across different countries or continents. Many businesses and entrepreneurs hire remote teams to develop their software offshore. This is because building an in-house development team is often a time consuming and costly. On the other hand, a dedicated off-shore development team brings necessary resources on-board, while at the same time allows companies to cut costs on office space, project management, communication tools, other perks full-time employees get to enjoy.
Going the off-shore development method is particularly beneficial for start-ups. Cash-strapped start-ups can avail the necessary skills and resources and save time and optimize their product development processes. In short, hiring an offshore development team allows start-ups to build a high-quality product at a minimal cost.
But that’s easier said than done!
While hiring offshore development teams yields benefits to the company, it may also create some difficulties if not done right. It poses unique challenges such as gaps in culture, communication, multiple locations and time zones, task management, discipline, and control. Here are some of the important aspects you need to consider before hiring an off-shore development team.
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Getting The Engineers In The Same Page As you Are
While hiring an off-shore development team, its paramount that they understand the vision of your product and the direction that you are heading. Our (Accubits) experience and analysis indicate that engineers tend to be more committed to the project when they understand the purpose of the project, its vision and how the product will impact the world, or a particular industry. There are a few methods by which you can convey the vision to the development team.
The kick-off speech: This is usually an online conference call or even the product owner can visit the location of the development team and deliver a story that narrates why they are building the product, what inspired them to build it, what changes they foresee etc. This helps each player in the team to have a perspective while building the product and come up with suggestions, recommendations that can add more value to the product.
Gamification: Rewarding team members who recommend new features, ideas, methods, etc that can potentially improve the product can help the team members to think more about the product and understand it deeper.
Get The Right Tools
It is important for the team members to set the availability status. This way product owners and developers will know who is available to talk to at the moment. For instance, on corporate messaging platforms such as Slack people can set a status that says “In the office” or “Working remotely” etc. Employees use the “away” mode when having a break and “do not disturb” when they need to focus deeply on a particular problem. This will help to boost their productivity as well. Depending on the type of project and the preference of the product owner, the use of tools may vary from project to project. However, here are a few handpicked tools that serve its purpose the best.
Collaboration tools: Gitlab, Bitbucket,
Communication tools: Slack, Skype, Uberconference
Documendation tools: Google Drive, Confluence,
Management tools: Jira, Gitlab, Trello, Asana
Jumping Over The Language Barrier
The breakdown of communication is a major challenge a company faces when moving to a distributed workforce. Due to language barriers, few of the team members may find it difficult to follow what the product owner is talking about. Here, the product owner can ask the product manager to create detailed user stories that explain the product requirements. User stories can help to a great extent to overcome the challenges caused by language barriers.
Clear and Concise Work Procedures
Product managers need to create clear project guidelines to improve productivity, teamwork, and accountability. Product owners also need to discuss how often to conduct project meetings and what communication tools you will use, for example, Slack, Jira, Skype, etc. Set clear tasks and give detailed answers, so that the team will know what to expect. Once the general tasks list is created, the next step is to create a product roadmap which is a high-level view of the requirements needed to achieve the product vision. Its main purpose is to provide a clear picture of product development and its processes to the offshore development team.
Rewarding Your Offshore Team
A little appreciation goes a long way. Giving praise for work done is a form of team management. Timely appreciation is sure to boost your team’s performance. You can start every meeting with praise for the job done so far. Constructive praise will let your team know that they are moving in the right direction. You can show your appreciation by sending your team gifts, during or at the end of development. It’s sure to leave a lasting impression.
Putting it together
Offshore development teams are a reliable method to ensure you hire the best people, regardless of their location. In many cases, distributed development teams can be as productive, or even more productive than in-house teams. Working with an offshore development team is not much different than working with an in-house team. You can utilize the best agile practices to achieve high performance and build trustful partnerships with offshore development teams. Consider the advice above if your business wants to make the most out of an offshore development team.
You can visit our page on Clutch.co to get an idea of the clients we’ve worked with and their feedback.