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 for large, ongoing projects, becoming 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 growth.
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 article, you can find the best advice for running a successful outsourced IT team:
1. Understand the Experience the Company Has
If you're contemplating outsourcing development for your company, set a kick-off call with the company and ask them questions related to their experience. Find out if they have developers on their team that work with your preferred technologies. Be sure to describe an overview of the technical requirements that you need for your project, to ensure that they're equipped for it.
Keep in mind that many software companies can't publicly post the companies they've worked with. Don't be afraid to ask them for a reference to know who they've worked with.
2. Help Outsourced Parties Understand Your Business
It is fundamental that you share relevant information of your business with outsourced teams: short-term and long-term goals, and your customer’s needs. The more efficiently you share the information, the more likely your external provider will align with your business objectives and be able to create real value for your company. If you're ready to do business together, before sharing this type of information be sure to sign an NDA together with the outsourcing company.
3. Integrate Your Workflow With The Right Software For Each Task
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, task management tools such as JIRA or Trello, a team collaboration tool like Confluence for project documentation, and chat tools such as Slack or Skype for short, fast-paced communication.
4. Respect Everyone's Time Zone – and Use It To Your Advantage
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, developers working in Buenos Aires, Argentina are only one hour ahead of East Coast US time. This overlap in timezones can allow for you and your team to have similar working hours, and for the team to be available for meetings during this time.
5. Work With Collaborative Software Development Methodologies
Enabling globally distributed teams to collaborate as if they were in the same office is possible. This will allow teams to work on the same projects at the same time without overwriting the work of others. How can this be achieved? For the achievement of these goals it is fundamental to apply the use of the right code versioning tool. A great example of these practices is to apply the use of tools such as GIT, which allow for the developers to work on different features simultaneously, following a Branching model in which each developer focuses on an individual feature in a Branch, and once each task is finalized, the Branch can be united with the Master Branch.
This model of work allows for the implementation of other practices such as Code Reviews through the implementation of Pull Request, where before merging the branches, the developer requests the revision of the code from another team member. This team member can offer his vision on if the code has room for improvement. This guarantees that before reaching a productive environment, the code has been supervised by at least two different developers.
6. 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.
7. Synchronize Regularly
Synchronization should be be done on a daily or weekly basis, and nearshore outsourcing is something that allows for this.
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. It is imperative to plan meetings to verify objectives and tasks. An effective way to achieve this is through the use of agile methods such as Scrum or Kanban.
8. 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.
Want To Know More About Outsourced Team Building?
If you’re considering outsourcing a part of your business, this just might be the right time to visit our site. Also be sure to click below to access our complete guide to the top 5 Latin American countries for nearshoring software development. Be sure to let us know your thoughts and any further questions you might have.