Being an Offshore Software Development house with a delivery team in India, we usually come across questions from clients regarding how to simplify the process of managing & motivating the offshore team.
It may sound a bit complex but if followed properly, this can be the most effective way to work with your offshore team. A good thing about this approach is that it works for both – fix price and dedicated team model; so you don’t need to keep changing the process every time. So let’s try to understand how to reduce efforts in managing offshore team.
- Having Dedicated Project Manager:
Most companies have many project managers working across various projects and domains simultaneously. This may range from small to large size projects depending upon complexity and size of the projects. On the other hand for managing offshore enterprise software development team, you need to have a dedicated project manager who has experience in working & managing remote teams. Mostly he would be the same person who is managing on-shore team as well. If you don’t have such experienced in-house manager; give your on-site manager some breathing space to understand how offshore model works. That’s fine, no one is born with inherent offshore project management skills.
- Set Proper Communication Channel:
Once you decide to award a project to an offshore team, you need to design a proper communication channel. It should not only involve various communication tools (e.g. Skype, VoIP lines, GoToMeeting etc.) but also have a defined daily time frame for interacting with the offshore team and identify team members to interact with various people within the organization. Avoid complex hierarchies; keep it flat & simple. Initially you may need to spend more time in understanding how things work, but once a channel is set and you know each other well, things will get smoother and you won’t feel as if you are working with a remote team!
- Win the Onshore Team’s Confidence:
It might happen sometimes that the onshore team may not be happy while working with an offshore software development team. They may feel that it hurts their growth/job opportunity. Everyone thinks about their career first, it’s natural. Hence, try to understand their thought process and motivate them by explaining how associating with the offshore team can help the business as a whole.
- Assign a Delivery Head:
Apart from having a dedicated project manager, you also need to identify a delivery head who would look after various project managers handling offshore team. However, in smaller projects you may not need to have both the delivery head and project manager; either one will do.
- Keep Management in the Loop:
Keep the management in loop, even if they are not directly associated with the project. You should try to keep the internal stakeholders informed. This will also help them understand how things are progressing and help them evaluate the project. Additionally, this will also help them in defining an effective long-term offshore software development strategy.
- Consider the Offshore Team as an Internal Part of the Company:
Treat the offshore team as a part of your own company. The offshore team’s output is directly related to how you interact and manage your team. If possible, meet your offshore team personally. This would be the best way to interact, bond and address any cross cultural issues.
- Foster Mutual Respect:
Encourage both in-house and offshore team to respect each others way of working. Understand that holidays fall on different days. Adjust and plan for them in advance. A break from routine activities would enable everyone to come back to work with a fresh mind and enthusiasm. It’s good to spend some time with family!
Are you working with an offshore team? What process/model you follow? We would love to hear from you and understand how you manage your offshore software development team.