Software Development: Managing Offshore Teams


Many major tech companies have turned to software development outsourcing partners to fill resource gaps and improve business efficiency. The success of these outsourcing ventures relies mainly on your partnership and collaboration with your outsourced software developers. While many software development outsourcing companies offer a global pool of the best talents, it takes good management skills to drive performance that gets you the results you need ultimately. So, what does it take to succeed in software outsourcing?

What Is an Offshore Team?

An offshore team is a group of people operating outside your country. For example, a US tech company can hire offshore developers in the Philippines instead of hiring locally. Companies can also hire IT offshore teams for their expansion efforts. 

Offshore developers connect with clients through the Internet and communication tools like Zoom, Slack, Google Meet, and MS Teams. They also utilize project management tools like JIRA so everyone can track their progress and provide transparency across all levels.

Challenges in Software Development Outsourcing

an image depicting an act of understanding the potential challenges in software development outsourcing and considering them when planning

Understanding the potential challenges in software development outsourcing and considering them when planning is essential. Let's look at some of them and delve into possible solutions.

Time zone Differences

Time zone differences can impact your software development project. Communication and collaboration can be more challenging when team members are in opposing time zones. It can be difficult to connect during their working hours, so you must find ways to communicate because being on the same page in the software development space is critical. When properly planned, these time zone differences can work in your favor. Developers from one timezone can hand off semi-completed work for colleagues working in the next, accelerating project delivery. 

Cultural Nuances

Cultural nuances may affect your workplace dynamics as there may be differences in expectations, work ethics, communication styles, and approaches to problem-solving. It is essential to bridge these gaps to prevent misunderstandings and miscommunication. When properly addressed, these cultural differences can positively impact the whole. The different cultural backgrounds offer varied perspectives, which can make the project even more innovative.

Communication Barriers

Poor communication and misunderstanding can slow down the project or produce subpar-quality output. For instance, developers may need to be more fluent in the same language to interpret input and recommendations. Brainstorming can also be challenging if outsourced developers cannot effectively articulate their ideas. Project requirements may be misunderstood, which may lead to delays in development.

How to Manage Software Development Outsourcing Teams

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When you know how to manage your offshore team effectively, you'll overcome the challenges of outsourcing software development projects. Here are some of the best practices observed by the top tech companies that partner with offshore staff augmentation or managed services providers. 

Define Your Goals

To ensure your project is on track, you must define your goals and communicate this to your offshore team. Clearly express your desired outcome so everyone works in the same direction. Set and discuss your Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to objectively measure the project's success and make any necessary adjustments if it's not meeting these targets.

Establish Rules

After being clear on your goals and desired outcomes, creating rules and methods to achieve them is essential. Rules are crucial because we may have different expectations and ideas for fulfilling our roles. Rules and guidelines also help ensure your team performs optimally. Be clear about task expectations and each member's accountability. Define clear timelines and what your approach to communication is. 

Provide the Right Tools

Your offshore team should have access to the same tools and technology as your in-house team. Since they work remotely, ensure proper communication and collaboration by utilizing project management and file repository tools like JIRA and GitHub. It would help to have communication apps for your meetings or simple message exchanges. 

Find Time Zone Overlap

If it's impossible to have the exact work schedules, find a few hours of overlap for synchronous conversations and daily check-ins. This reduces the chances of miscommunication because you can directly communicate with your team members during these hours. You can also check their work progress and provide real-time support.

Ensure Open Communication and Transparency

Share your guidelines on company communication policies. Do you expect your offshore team to respond to all messages right away? Or are they given a 24-hour window for their responses? For transparency, provide them with collaboration tools like Trello, JIRA, or Basecamp. Provide avenues for open communication, such as regular stand-up meetings or one-on-ones.

Integrate Cultural Sensitivity

Cultural differences may affect your team dynamics, so it's crucial to integrate cultural sensitivity into the team. Effective cross-cultural communication and a deeper understanding of cultural nuances lay the groundwork for successful collaboration. For example, it's essential to understand the high-context and low-context cultures in the workplace to know how to motivate your team members appropriately.

Provide Feedback

Unbiased feedback is vital when hiring offshore developers because it reinforces positive behavior and provides opportunities for improvement. Constructive feedback drives top performance and high-quality output.

Final Thoughts

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If you're considering outsourcing your software development projects, you'll want to partner with a reliable provider with a proven track record in software development, such as LANEX. We can provide highly-skilled and qualified developers who complement your team and help drive the results you're looking for. Click here to learn more! 

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