por Nicolas Mosconi, President --
In recent years, outsourcing solutions have been placed in the first tier of efficient project planning and team management. It began to be used in small formats, as external teams would be hired to perform specific and finite projects.
Eventually, some companies started to hire outsourced teams on an on-going basis and became responsible for a big portion of the company's operations.
Nowadays, if properly used, outsourcing can lead to a radical transformation in the company’s processes, costs, and even culture.
Almost all of the IT professionals in charge of outsourcing teams share similar concerns. They often struggle with communications and task delegation to professionals that often do not share the same language,traditions, education, or workspace.
How is it possible to meet deadlines and budget for outsourced projects, especially in foreign countries? Do we really know how to manage a third-party team?
In the following paragraphs, you can find the best advice for running a successful outsourced IT team.
Help Outsourced Parties Understand Their Business
It is fundamental that you share relevant information of your business with outsourced teams: short-term and long-term goals, your customer’s needs, and management of internal processes.
The more effectively you share the information, the more likely your external provider will align with your business objectives and be able to create real value.
The selection of your outsourced team is a cornerstone when it comes to results. It is important to remain seized on market trends and specific skills that the team at stake can offer.
Furthermore, your outsourced party should be integrated into your company’s culture and vision. By promoting a sense of belongingness, professionals remain motivated to achieve goals as a team.
Make Sure Everyone is Reading the Same Playbook
Create manuals that contain step-by-step instructions. This will help provide consistent application of procedures throughout all teams. A well-designed and robust workflow builds precision and promotes overall efficiency.
Additionally, it provides the team with some background information and all necessary material that could help them in further streamlining project management to maximize said efficiency.
The strategy used to improve the communications is vital. Each tool has a purpose, and they must be used accordingly. For example, use JIRA for task management, Confluence for project documentation, Slack as a chat tool for fast paced communications, email as a formal support of deliverables.
Also, when working with team members whose first language is not the language in which these manuals are written, keep the language barrier in mind as it can generate misunderstandings that will affect the overall performance and compliance of your goals.
Whenever possible, add written communication with diagrams and other visual aids that can clearly describe your needs.
Respect Everyone's Time Zone – and Use it at Your Own Benefit
When the team working on a project is in a different time zone, it's good to know the time gap and schedule meetings that suit both parties. Showing concern about your team's time schedule builds a greater level of trust and motivates them to work harder.
You can also use time zone differences as a competitive advantage. For example, if you have subcontracted part of your project to India, which is 9.5 hours ahead of U.S. East Coast, you can work on amendments while your team sleeps, and expect them to have the job done at the start of your next business day.
Make Sure Everyone’s Working on The Same Files
Enabling globally distributed teams to collaborate as if they were at the same office is possible.
This will allow teams to work on the same reports at the same time without overwriting the work of others. Within the software development field, this is crucial to avoid code problems and application efficiency.
For the achievement of this goals it is fundamental the use of the right code versioning tool. A great example of this practices is to leverage on tools such as GIT, which allow the business to track changes in different files, and coordinate work in the required projects.
This tools are definitely in the programming best practices and their upside can add value to the final product through the organization it offers.
Schedule Video Chats on a Regular Basis
Face-to-face interaction, even if done virtually, is vital for developing a strong relationship and high team motivation.
Tools like Skype, Slack, WhatsApp and Google Hangouts make it easy to stay connected and interact with others wherever they are.
Synchronization can be done on a daily or weekly basis, but be disciplined by keeping control of time, especially if your external team is in another time zone.
Effective communication, especially with newly outsourced employees, is the key to creating a more efficient, productive and profitable project.
Whether you are using Google Chat or Slack, or any other means of communication, keep all project communications in a central location that will increase accountability and allow all team members to communicate in real time.
It is also important to follow a meeting scheme. Communications must be fluent throughout time.
It is fundamental to plan meetings to check goals. These meetings must have a structure and be fundamented in Agile best practices.
Bear in mind the advantages and disadvantages that different methodologies can bring to the table when it comes to collaborative work.
Treat your Outsourced Team Members With Respect
Take the time to know more about the members of your outsourced team. Whether through videoconference, recurrent meetings, or other means, put names on faces and get to know what motivates them.
Use your company’s most inspirational ambitions to keep them incentivized in the completion of tasks and global goals achievement. Make them know they’re an essential part of the company - no matter the distance!
Remember to always treat your outsourced team as the partners you expect them to be.
Considering an outsourcing development?
At Devlane we can offer you all of our knowledge and expertise on everything related to custom software development and staff augmentation services.
Our experience has ranged from working with entrepreneurs looking to kick off their business, to leading international companies that offer apps with millions of daily active users.