The concept of working with offshore teams has gained a lot of traction. It has become a common practice in the IT industry, enabling web and mobile app development companies to focus on their core business operations.
Hiring an offshore software development team comes with a myriad of benefits. It allows the optimal utilization of time and resources as well as significantly reduces cost. Additionally, organizations get unrestrained access to a pool of highly qualified professionals. They can increase or decrease the size of the offshore team, depending on the requirements at hand. This brings greater scalability and flexibility to the development process.
That being said, working with an offshore development team also comes with a unique set of challenges. The most common challenge is obtaining timely delivery. In this post, we will look at some effective tips to hire an offshore development team and work with them productively to ensure timely delivery.
Understanding Offshore Software Development
Offshore software development is when an organization hires a dedicated development team based in another country. In other words, the organization sets up an offshore development center in another country and hires employees that work remotely.
Several renowned IT companies including the likes of Google and Microsoft have been working with offshore software development teams for years. This helps them benefit from a massive talent pool with superior technical expertise, low operating costs, as well as the ability to scale requirements without any hassle.
Best Practices for Working with an Offshore Development Team
If you want to hire an offshore development team, you must follow some best practices to manage the teams properly. Failure to do so may lead to unnecessary delays and gaps in communication.
Here, we will look at the best practices to ensure a successful implementation of the offshore development model.
1. Clearly Specify Your Project Goals and Objectives
Hiring a professional offshore development team can make the entire development process feel like a breeze. However, it is your responsibility to clearly specify your project goals and objectives in the beginning. This will ensure that the developed product is just as you expect it to be.
Many times, organizations fail to provide the offshore team with the full product vision. Consequently, the developers don’t get a clear idea of your requirements. Make sure to properly outline the product specifications and the functions you want in it. Once they know everything clearly, they can devise innovative strategies and work to provide the best outcomes.
2. Create a Comprehensive Product Roadmap
Before starting to work with an offshore software development company, it is important to create a product development roadmap. Essentially, it is a high-level view of the requirements needed to attain the product vision.
Additionally, defining the Scope of Work (SOW) is also imperative as it presents a clear picture of the project to the team. The SOW includes the project milestones and the timeline for all deliverables. Once the project is divided into small sprints and a timeline is specified for each of them, completing the project within the deadline becomes easy.
3. Communicate Frequently and Effectively
If you hire an offshore development team, you need to pay special attention to communication. Ensuring frequent and effective communication is vital to avoid misunderstandings despite the huge distance between your in-house and offshore product teams.
With communication gaps, there cannot be proper collaboration among the team members. And this may lead to the development of a faulty product
So, to ensure good communication, you must rely on top-notch technological solutions. Nowadays, there are plenty of communication tools available on the market that enables teams to work closely with each other. For instance, Slack is among the highly popular collaboration tool that facilitates quick group messaging and high-quality video conferencing. The tool also helps to organize files and information, helping developers keep things streamlined.
Several organizations prefer to use JIRA. The tool ensures the effective management of projects of all sizes. It offers planning as well as analytical features that permit you to define objectives and track progress. Basecamp is another effective communication tool that helps to organize files, screenshots, and much more.
It is advisable to use as few communication tools as possible. If you start communicating over different channels, your chats will become fragmented, often resulting in confusion.
Lastly, make sure to use simple and easy-to-understand language while communicating with your offshore team. If you use difficult or overly perplexing language, it will puzzle the offshore team. And thus, they may not exactly understand your requirements, causing unwanted delays in submission.
4. Make Sure to Overlap Some Working Hours
When you hire an offshore development team, you also sign up for differences in time zone. And this poses a great working challenge. The best way to overcome this challenge is by fully exploiting the few overlapping hours.
Overlapping hours are those hours when both offshore and in-house teams are working at the same time. To successfully handle an offshore team structure, it is important to overlap a few hours. In most cases, a couple of hours every day are sufficient for conducting meetings, sprint discussions, Q&A, etc. You can change the shift timings of both teams to ensure there are adequate overlapping hours.
5. Define Specific Deadlines
To ensure the timely delivery of the product, it is advisable to define clear-cut deadlines. It is always a great idea to be completely transparent about your expectations, especially in terms of project delivery.
Breaking the project into several chunks and documenting a delivery timeline for the same can help to prevent miscommunication. It also helps to evade confusion and spark spiteful conversations through the development cycle.
6. Use Agile Methodology for both In-House and Offshore Teams
If you hire an offshore development team, you benefit from improved scalability and reduced costs. And these benefits are further amplified by adopting an agile development methodology.
Agile methodology is among the most popular project management techniques. Based on the 12 principles in the Agile Manifesto, the methodology involves breaking a project into short iterations known as sprints. The length of each sprint varies, depending on the objective. For instance, the duration of one sprint may be just a week or maybe as long as three months.
Since the software development process requires a high level of iteration and interaction, adopting an agile methodology for both in-house and offshore teams is a great idea. It will not only improve efficiency but also ensure the timely delivery of a high-quality product.
7. Provide Timely Feedback
Many times, organizations rely on a single channel of communication. For instance, they only respond to emails and use them as their primary source of communication with the offshore team. However, this may lead to unnecessary delays in the development process.
It is important to provide timely feedback to the team. There must not be any point in waiting for the tensions to surge or even explode, leading to massive complications. In short, if there is any problem, it must be communicated instantly.
8. Build Lasting Relationship with Your Offshore Development Team
A lot of organizations that hire offshore developers fail to show empathy towards them. However, that is not a good approach. Building a relationship with your offshore team and making them feel like an intrinsic part of the organization is important. This not only motivates the team members but also makes them personally involved in the success of the product.
If the offshore development team members feel that they are a part of the undertaking, they would happily stretch their workday to meet the deadlines. They would go the extra mile to ensure suitable delivery of the product and make sure everything is as per your expectations.
When you hire an offshore development team, you can easily gain a competitive advantage by delivering a high-quality product at a decent price. In many cases, offshore development teams prove to be more productive than co-located teams. Despite the difference in geographies, these teams deliver excellent performance and boost profitability.
Following these simple aforementioned tips will ensure that you make the most of your offshore team and obtain well-timed deliverables.