Managing a software development team can be tricky, especially if there are hundreds or even thousands of miles between you and the specialists, so all the management has to be done online. Don’t worry — you are not the first, nor will you be the last person to deal with this. Luckily, many managers have made their mistakes and so paved the road. Now there are effective outsourcing management strategies to help navigate your way.
Let’s discuss challenges you might encounter when you hire a dedicated development team from abroad, how to overcome them, and so make the best out of such collaboration.
Why choose an offshore software development team?
Let’s quickly recap some of the main reasons to go with outsourcing services rather than the in-house team to get the e-commerce platforms :
- The development cost. With in-house development, you are stuck with the prices set on the local market, it’s a take it or leave it situation. At the same time, you can find a better quality-price ratio abroad, for example, by collaborating with teams from countries where the cost of living is lower. This reason is still the major factor for considering outsourcing for 70% of companies.
- A larger talent pool. One more limiting factor of in-house development is that you can only choose from a rather small number of specialists. Especially when it comes to specific technologies, like Magento, or a certain type of solution, for example, an online store. Choosing offshore development allows you to select a team that matches all of your proficiency and budget criteria rather than work only with the specialists that are available in your location. For instance, there are around 1,600 IT service companies in Ukraine alone.
- Easier management. It might sound like a contradiction, but offshore development means headache-free if done right. Creating office infrastructure, hiring the team, HR management, taxes and finances — all of these are no longer your problem because most offshore companies offer a dedicated team model and take care of all the work organization issues.
- Faster work. An offshore team you are hiring for a project already knows each other, has its dynamics sorted, and is experienced in client communication. It means that they don’t need extra time to set up their processes and get into the flow. It’s not their first time working together, and most likely, the company has inner protocols and project management tools which the team is well acquainted with.
These are the main reasons to hire offshore developers. Given the benefits, let’s look at some common concerns that hold people back from taking the plunge.
The main challenges of managing an offshore development team and their solutions
Of course, using remote team solutions may come with certain challenges and situations that are new for you. But there is nothing to fear — these won’t stand in the way of developing your perfect e-commerce product. They are rather peculiarities that you need to keep in mind. Let’s discuss them one by one.
Challenge: communication issues
First of all, you might worry that if your team is far away, you won’t get a chance to talk with them face-to-face. It’s a common concern for businesses working with an offshore team; still, because Covid-19 forced most meetings online, we now know that working remotely is no less effective. In January 2021, PwC reported that 83% of employers consider the shift to remote work successful for their company.
Solution: use scheduling and choose your communication means
So how do you make sure that there are no gaps in the communication process?
Most companies working with long-distance clients already know how to make the best of communication tools and have all the processes coordinated. Usually, the setup is something like this:
- Slack messenger for instant updates.
- Video conferencing tools, like Zoom or Google Meet, for workshops and discussions.
- Project management platforms, like Jira or Asana, for setting tasks, reporting, time tracking, and recording progress.
With most teams working remotely over the past two years to some extent, no company should fear distance. If you wish, you can even organize online meetings to get to know your team and build team spirit.
Challenge: Limited process engagement
Another common misgiving stopping some companies from collaborating with offshore development teams is the belief that they won’t be wholly engaged in the process and might miss something important, leading to lower quality.
Solution: Discuss reporting and your engagement in advance
Most software development teams use the Agile project management method, meaning that work is done in small chunks, and you have a say on every aspect of the process. It’s not like the final result will suddenly be delivered with no chance to change anything. You can communicate your wishes and suggestions at any point.
Commonly used task management tools include:
To track time spent on certain tasks, the team might also use Time Doctor and Toggl trackers.
What’s more, technology has increasingly made online communication little different from face-to-face. You can still get in touch at any time with the smallest questions and get regular updates from the team.
Ask your preferred team about their communication and project management strategies. They will be happy to share their setup and allay your fears.
Challenge: Cultural and language barriers
Working with a team from the other side of the globe might have peculiarities, like different holiday times, business culture, or even time zones. To make sure these aspects won’t interrupt your project, you need to take the team’s location into account.
Solution: Rely on the offshore team’s business ethics and remember about cultural differences
You can expect all the team members to speak English and know how to work with a client. For instance, in Ukraine, they simply wouldn’t be hired without these skills. Around 85% of IT specialists here have at least an intermediate level of English.
When it comes to time differences and holidays, both the team and a client should be willing to adapt their workflows. For example, if the outsourced project manager is willing to answer any urgent requests, the rest of the team can take the holidays off.
Take the time difference into consideration when selecting an offshore company. For example, the Ukrainian time zone allows for working largely in line with the European workday and staying in touch with the American clients for at least several hours a day.
Offshore teams working with foreign clients are very particular about their business ethics — they understand the cultural differences as much as you do. Most EU and Eastern European IT professionals share the same goal-oriented work ethics as American companies.
Challenge: Fearing the reality won’t meet expectations
Finally, you might be fearful that the project outcomes won’t match your expectations, and you will have thrown away money. Once again, given proper project management and timely communication, this situation won’t arise.
Solution: Plan the milestones and final result before signing the contract
Even before starting with the project implementation and signing any contracts, an outsourcing company will offer you a proposal. This document or presentation outlines the project deliverables, their deadlines, milestones, tech stack, and so on.
The proposal might be also created in such team collaboration tools as
The milestones will define how long each development stage will take — like UI/UX prototyping, final design, development, and testing — and when you can expect the results. You can also ask for KPIs (key performance indicators) to be included in the proposal to understand the speed the team works at.
You can then decide whether the proposal suits your objectives and timeline.
Cooperating with a development team overseas is not so different from having one right in your office. You can still get in touch as often as you need to, discuss urgent issues, organize regular meetings, and even plan online corporate parties. At IT Delight, we pride ourselves on taking the headache out of project management for our clients while offering as much engagement as they want. Why not contact us to discuss the benefits of moving your development team offshore?