How to Manage an Offshore Software Development Team

Managing an offshore software development team is an important challenge you will face to have a successful business. However, to get to the main purpose of this article about how to do it more efficiently we need to start by explaining what it exactly is and give you everything you need to know about successfully managing, having an offshore development team, and keeping everything in control.  

So what is an offshore software development team?

Offshore software development teams usually consist of a certain number of people who can be located in different parts of the world but nevertheless, they work together remotely. 

Most of the communication is held through video chats, phone calls, and messaging. Even though it may seem to be less effective, a lot of companies choose this method of working in order to reduce budget and time-to-market without compromising quality. 

Offshore development has become especially popular now when the whole world is “on pause” and almost everyone had to adapt to the situation and work from their home. You know what they say: “Modern problems require modern solutions.” 

Take for example these successful companies that work with offshore software development teams:

  1. Google
  2. Slack
  3. WhatsApp
  4. GitHub

The prominent names on the list should convince you that offshore outsourcing is a reliable and proven solution.

Managing offshore teams

Having an offshore software development company usually helps to attract top talents worldwide and save on development expenses but it also has some nuances to remember regarding managing it. When you know what problems may arise, it is easier to avoid them. And here we list possible challenges and most effective solutions to run successful cooperation with an offshore team:

English language level

A possible issue to know about is different English language skills. This can impact not only communication in the team but also the work itself. Developers can have lower language levels than you would expect and it will be harder for them to freely communicate with other employers and colleagues from different countries, and describe the problems they face in the process, which can affect the duration of the project and its quality. 

Solution: When communicating with your offshore team avoid complicated grammar, slang, and dialects. It’s a good way to prevent misunderstandings and be with everyone on the same page. Let them know that you understand each other and encourage them to be open while talking in a foreign language. 

Also, you can make the communication easier and more effective by employing a Project manager. A PM with a good command of both the team language and English is a silver bullet for managing offshore teams. 

Different time zones

Because of distance and different time zones, it can be harder to schedule a conference or a call. 

Solution: When hiring a team abroad, it is better to choose a country where the working hours overlap with yours for at least 2 hours. This way you won’t have to wait hours or days for an answer. Scheduling a call won’t be an issue as well. 

Also, respect the time of your team. You need to take into consideration the national holidays of their country.

Working experiences and approaches may differ  

Every developer in your team is going to have different working experiences, skills, and his personal approach to fulfilling tasks, which can lead to more issues with code, deadlines, bug detection, and communication within the team. 

Solution: Make sure the people you hire have the essential skills you require beforehand. It is important that the team uses the required tools and follows an established workflow. 

Cultural differences

Another thing you need to be prepared for is that when hiring developers from around the world you can face confusion and miscommunication because of cultural differences. It can be harder to communicate and unite your team when everyone has different cultural backgrounds. 

Solution: Create a comfortable working space and have a video conference with the team where you can discuss not only work-related issues but also hobbies, interests of your colleagues, etc. It is important to ensure that your team has open communication when everyone can share their visions and ideas. Always encourage dialogs, it will lead to better results in the future.

Build a culture of being open-minded and emotionally connected despite the distance. 

Tools for better managing an offshore development team:

All the work will be done remotely, so using verified and popular tools is necessary for attaining productivity and good communication while managing an offshore team. It’s easier with the help of these tools that are perfect for communication, video chats, etc.:

  1. Skype 
  2. Zoom 
  3. Microsoft Teams 
  4. Google Meet
  5. Slack
  6. Discord
  7. Hangouts

There are also other great tools that a lot of teams use for task tracking and organizing work:

  1. Trello
  2. Jira
  3. Asana
  4. TimeCamp
  5. HeySpace

Offshore software development is very popular within startups and large companies despite the described challenges. Using effective solutions in offshore team management and proven digital tools enables them to largely benefit from offshore cooperation.

The best way to start is to collect the information and see for yourself that it’s actually attainable and has a lot of advantages.

Tips for making offshore team management easier

Offshore software development team management is not the easiest task to have. It has many advantages and reasons why so many companies use it. Managing an offshore team can be challenging sometimes but not impossible. There are many ways of improving offshore team management and we collected the best tips for you.

Assign a project manager

Proper work process organization is key for having a dedicated development team. The success of your team and work will be highly dependent on the person who manages it all. That’s why it is vital to have a professional Project Manager who will keep everything in control. A good Project Manager can foresee problems and find solutions beforehand. 

The advantage of this approach is that while the PM works with the team in the office, the customer doesn’t need to control the product development process personally. Instead, he can dive into strategic tasks, such as planning, marketing, partnerships, sales, etc. 

Explain and give clear requests, vision, and idea

It is important that your team understand what you want to be done and how. Ensure understanding between you and your offshore team before starting to work on a project. Be specific about all the requirements and approaches to work. Explain exactly your ideas, your vision of the end product, and the contribution you expect from them. But don’t micromanage them too much, they need to know that you trust them with their job. 

Respect team members and motivate them

Remember to respect your team and involve everyone in finding solutions and sharing ideas. If you let your team be open about their visions and motivate them to express themselves, they will know that their ideas are valuable and it will motivate them to be more creative and dedicated to what they do. Also, people tend to show better results at work if they feel respected. Let your team know that they can rely on you too and keep in mind that “Men are respectable only as they respect.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Provide training

By providing training for developers in your offshore team you can quickly raise their skills and expand knowledge in specific topics regarding your project, which will lead to better results at work. Moreover, this can improve trustworthy relationships during the work process and their inner motivation. 

Working with Agile Development 

When managing offshore teams, the best way to maintain successful software development is with an agile methodology. There are a lot of pros and cons regarding working with agile development but it is used worldwide as an effective framework. Agile methods stimulate the project management process, encourage teamwork and organization for delivering high-quality results. It focuses on sequential processes and creating minimum viable products (MVP) with a number of iterations before the final result. 

A lot of offshore software development teams across the whole world are successful due to good communication and the correct distribution of tasks. Because of that, we made a shortlist of the main things to keep in mind for the productive work of an agile team: 

Focus on the process organization from day one.

You need to keep the focus on planning the working process and prioritizing tasks. Offshoring is impossible without the right schedule, plan, and communication.

Share every knowledge you have. 

Give your team the precise description of the project, it can be done with the help of sketches, tables, graphs, and videos as well. Share all small and needed details, ideas, and knowledge you have because the more detailed information your team will have, the more efficient their work will be. 

Treat your offshore development team as you would your regular team. 

Include your offshore team in all communication and meetings and treat them as your regular team. Make it important to always communicate with them, share all the news, and make sure they are not left in the dark.

Have short iterations.  

Having short iterations gives you an overview of specific requirements, reporting, and reviews without excess information. And it simplifies an overall work course. 

Have common standards. 

It can become harder to track what your offshore development team does but having set common standards will prevent them from making unnecessary mistakes and allow your team work better and smoothly.  

Product development

Offshore development is suitable both for supporting small projects and for product development when you need a team to build a complex system from scratch. Here is where a dedicated team comes for help.

A dedicated team in a nutshell

A dedicated team is a team of professionals that you can choose according to the requirements of your project and then hire them to work for you. A dedicated team focuses only on your project, which brings a better quality of the final work. It is a viable solution because it helps you to expand quickly and have the right people with specific skills that are needed for specific tasks. You can hire a full-time team that will work for you but if you have a small project, you can hire them part-time, which will help you not to overpay.

Hiring a dedicated team means having a team of specialists with the required skills who will help your business with attaining the goals. And not only it saves you costs but also ensures that your project will be delivered on time and without quality compromises. 

Where to find a dedicated team?

A dedicated team will help you deal with difficult tasks and schedules. It is one of those things that will completely facilitate the workflow. Many companies provide offshore software development services and offer you a custom team of experts with the required knowledge and seniority in a short period of time. Offshore companies can easily arrange a team extension for you if needed so you won’t need to worry about that as well.

Summary

Now you are convinced that having an offshore development team is not a problem in our reality and is actually highly effective and popular nowadays. Knowing how to manage such a remote team helps you to avoid pitfalls and benefits in the long run

First, working with and managing an offshore software development team it may seem to be too difficult because of a lot of problems and challenges you can face. It may seem like it’s impossible to keep everything in control. But following industry best practices and employing modern technologies it is more than possible. There are many services, tools, and information sources that will help you on your way to successfully managing your offshore software development team. 

We really hope that our tips and advice showed you more efficient ways of having an offshore team, clarified the questions that may arise, and now you are ready to successfully manage offshore software development teams from around the globe.

Offshore Software Development: a Complete Tutorial

Introduction

Each firm is exceptional in its functioning, aspects, overall performance, targets, and aims. With this specific identity arrives business-specific challenges which requires tailored software, applications, and websites to deal with the aggressive desires of the 21st-century organization. Tons of off-the-shelf software are nowadays offered but mostly they aren’t adequate to fulfill the explicit functional specifications of the business. Offshore software development company is outsourcing tasks to a third-party developer or software agency.

This issue becomes much trickier to tackle for entrepreneurs and beginners who have just started their enterprise and don’t have lots of tools to employ a full-time in-house tech expert. For them, the optimal choice is to outsource software to an IT development company which has a team of professional developers who are proficient to cater demands of unique businesses and industries.

Developers properly know the customized requirements of the customers and know how to add them and offer a custom-built software. From innovative software for huge organisations to basic internet websites for newbies, the programmers understand how to fulfil all. Transferring software creation to a third-party relieves much burden from the customers and they are able to focus more on the creative areas of their businesses.

Variants of outsourcing with regards to the geographical area of the vendor are the following:

Offshore outsourcing – When the office or location of your remote programmer/ growing company is far away from your indegenious corporation and there’s substantial period zone gap then its known as offshore outsourcing.

Nearshore outsourcing – It means that the geographical spot of the software developer/development company you have outsourced is pretty quite to your existing spot and there is a negligible time zone gap.

Onshore outsourcing – When the outsourcing company/developer is in the same nation, in which you are then it’s known as onshore outsourcing.

These terminologies are simply to clear the notion , whereas generally the term “offshore outsourcing” is used for the majority of sorts of development and work achieved by third-party.

Guidelines for Startups

1) Do Your Homework Before Hiring an Offshore Development Team

Selecting the best IT outsourcing company is not like trips to market where you randomly pick anything that’s easily available; it necessitates suitable exploration, knowledge, and evaluation of the offshore developers and offshore development companies considering the fact that thousands of freelancers are outside and each one claiming to be the ideal.

Before you pick any of them for your beneficial IT project, don’t run and evaluate the shortlisted developers/development companies; check their market value and go throughout the individual rankings of programmers, reviews composed on their profile, jump into the projects and history of your vendors and assess customer opinions on their social networking pages.

Gather information regarding their talent group and how much they’re productive in incorporating state-of-the-art technology and tools. Such tiny research can provide you a deep insight about how the IT development company or the group of developers will work, their approach towards their customers and how powerful their remedies are; these will show you the path  to take the correct decision.

2) Learn About The Remote Cooperation Models

A few remote cooperation models come in practice in the tech market nowadays, but the most common encountered ones are, project outsourcing, devoted crew, and elongated team. Before you decide the one for your project, first evaluate the cost composition of each model and examine which model’s cost – to – quality ratio is best for your enterprise. Don’t eliminate the stereotype that high price guarantees high quality; several models simply charge you for the hours a developer spent while some actually pay for the idle period of their developers. So, research your options before taking a choice.

Project outsourcing – The most frequently occurring and the most widely used cooperation model is the project outsourcing; it’s a turnkey solution where the company, to which the job is outsourced, is solely accountable for software development. The customer organisation  doesn’t need to seek in-house tech expertise for managing the development process because the outsourcing company will probably be taking care of all the features of the software creation.

Dedicated team – Usually offshore development companies offer devoted group services alongside project outsourcing. Devoted team model is important for those customers who are enthusiastic in long-term project cooperation because of the extensive workload. Here the vendor company is liable for controlling the technical staff which is necessary to finish  the project and ensure 24/7 function cycle.

Extended team – Extended team is just a refined kind of the devoted team model. Inside this, the vendor company hires exclusive employees for your project according to your specific requirements and demands. In contrast to devoted team, extended team members aren’t the employees of the vendor or from their existing workforce, but they are hired specifically and solely for you.

3) Consider Different Types of Contracts

Various forms of contracts come in clinic nowadays for outsourcing, broadly research them and pick which one suits your project.

Time and Materials

Additionally known as T&M, it’s the popular used contract key in project outsourcing. Within this arrangement, the customer pays only for the hours which were actually allocated on the project.

Pros & Cons: T & M is one of the most elastic models; here the customer retains the hands and is absolutely free to replace features of the project, shift targets or adapt requirements if needed; even if he needs or feel the need of, he can block the growth process at any time or stage of development.

The drawback of this otherwise elastic model is that the customer has very little control over the price and funding of the project neither it can be predicted beforehand. Moreover, as the customer directs the outsourced project, sometimes the companies also charge for the “idle time” their developers spent waiting for the customers suggestion.

This arrangement version is effective for those who expect that their project’s conditions may vary during the evolution approach.

Fixed Price

Fixed price, as its name identifies is really a single-sum deal  and consented, the growth company is bound to finish the job in line with your customers demands in the agreed price and time. Even if they function beyond the deadline to finish the project, they won’t be paid for additional moment.

Pros & Cons: Biggest plus with the agreement is all that the customer is aware of the fee ahead and it won’t arrive as a bad surprise at the end of the undertaking , but all the same for this the customer requirements to be sure and clear about the specifications, needs, and outcomes of the project and should have properly conveyed them to the programmers before enrolling the deal.

This model isn’t elastic like T&M model and varies from the project’s scope or specifications, after the contract has been signed, will be charged additionally. The drawback of this model is that it’s very costly than other models because the vendors are well known of the issues of the development process and the resources it’ll need; therefore they mostly increase the cost up to 30% at the time of signing the contract to avoid risks in the future.

Rate Card

This can be actually a monthly-payment kind of model, in which the software creation provider tells you about the developers who’ll be involved in your job and the amount they monthly charge; you will have to pay the expense on monthly basis.

Pros & Cons: Unlike fixed-price agreement, there are no concealed pitfalls and charges in this agreement and the customer will pay for a month spent entirely on his job. The team of developers work exclusively for single customer and gives their best to the project.

An important pitfall of this model is that you have no idea whether the assigned crew of programmers is suitable for your job or not, in terms of their expertise. Sometimes, the owner doesn’t let you communicate with the developers and you have to convey your needs via the project manager which may cause miscommunication.

Cost+

Cost+ is typically used in the elongated group model and in this contract, the customer merely pays monthly salaries to the programmers but also pay a fixed amount to the vendor for the services it gives which include office infrastructure, taxation,  payroll, workstation and support staff.

Pros & Cons: Often referred as out-staffing, this model is effective because in this the customer holds the entire control of the development process; he interviews the programmers, hire those he finds best for the job and directly communicate with them without a middleman.

But so much control is dicey too because, in case of a tragedy, you can’t blame seller because the responsibility of time, cost, communication, and management depends entirely upon you.

Both Rate card and Cost+ contract models are efficient for those who want to control the funding of even long-term jobs which will need multiple changes with time.

4) Hire an In-House Technical Expert

Communicating with the offshore crew is fairly complicated and sometimes miscommunication halts your job or makes you pay more. So, if you don’t have much time to give to your remote development team or don’t have sound technical knowledge of the job then it’s better to hire a specialist project manager who’ll be responsible for communicating all the technical details to the offshore team and recording the upgrades regarding your job.

5) Establish an Efficient Development Process

Decide characteristics for your target group– Before minding the list of capabilities you need in your software, first, analyze the available software/website/application provided by your competitors. Figure out what’s lacking in them and what additional characteristics you can add to facilitate your clients , expand your target audience, consider their personalized desires and aim to provide a better solution to them as compared to your rivals in the market.

Identify your requirements – You should be magnificent in terms of technologies you need to use for your software; be clear about the specialists you require , e.g, a marketer, a web designer, developer, etc. Choose these before consulting the software development company or discuss your project with them and ask them to give you perfect solution accordingly.

Prepare your objectives – Be specific on your targets , this will help you in establishing priorities and handling job in  a better mean. Furthermore to keep track of your victory and to up the determination level, set metrics which you are intending to accomplish.

Document the product roadmap – Always record the product roadmap, because when you do so and give the crew of programmers access to this roadmap, everyone will stay updated regarding altered aims and the changes job is going through; thus they will work in line with your aims in a better way.

Appoint the product owner – Make one person head of the merchandise to avoid confusion and miscommunication. This one man will carry on all the meetings and communications with stakeholders. He should have in-depth knowledge about your business and should be able to correlate your clients desires  with the project development process.

Communication tools – Pay much attention to the communication tools you’ll be using to connect with your offshore team of developers. Decide beforehand which instant messaging and video-call platforms (Skype, Slack, Hangouts, Google, etc) you’ll be using and which task tracking service (Asana, Trello, Jira, InVision, GSuite, etc) should be availed.

Software development methodology (Agile) – Agile is one of the most effective software development methodologies. It’s ideal if you want to stay updated about the phases of development and remain in contact with the team on regular basis via meetings and artifacts.

6) Build Ties with Your Offshore Team

To repay the geographical distance between you and your remote programmers, start by building cordial ties with them and make them comfortable; this way they’ll work as one integral team in collaboration with your in-house team. Value your team and start by stating “same rules” for all developers (remote and local); this will make your remote team of developers feel respected. Provide your developers with a challenging environment, so that they’ll keep on learning and improving in the entire development process. Moreover, apart from arranging team building events, provide your developers an amicable space to discuss everyday topics too.

7) Give Priority To Communication

Communicate, converse, join– that’s your secret to success when dealing with an offshore development group. The language barrier is the major reason behind miscommunication especially with technical concepts and explanations of ideas; make sure that there is one common language between you and your remote development team to avoid glitches in communication. Make use of the latest messaging apps, these will make communication more efficient and ensure your round the clock availability (or in the pre-decided working hours) to answer queries of your offshore employees and to minimize misunderstandings.

8) Hire a Quality Assurance Engineer

Most beginners are short of funds and usually to manage the costs they skip hiring a Quality Assurance (QA) engineer believing that the developers are talented people and they’ll better check their work themselves. While, the fact is only a QA engineer knows how to test-check your product; he tests the code, figures out the bugs and make the development process more efficient.

If you will keep on going without a QA engineer, the bugs and technical glitches in the product will pile up and eventually you’ll have to spend more time and money to fix them.

Benefits of Offshore Software Development Services

  • Cost and Budget

Outsourcing a remote crew of developers is much more economical than hiring an in-house team and as per demanding quotes , a remote developer will cost you 34% less than your local developer. That’s because mostly the offshore development companies and freelance software programmers are from developing countries like India, Ukraine, Indonesia, etc and therefore they’d cost you much less than your local developer. For example, the average cost of IT outsourcing in India is $18-50 / hour, whereas you’ll have to pay $25 – 250 / hour for similar service in the UK and USA. This is a great cost-effective choice for start-ups who are already running low on funding.

  • Innovation and Quality

Innovation and quality would be the USP of offshore companies; they have groups of highly qualified professionals who are best in meeting your needs and ensuring top-notch final product. Training young professionals and making them as productive as an offshore developer is will be time-consuming or budget-consuming if you’re aiming to hire a mature practitioner.

  • Qualified specialists

Outsourcing gives you a chance to seek the best pool of developers from across the globe. Within your restricted budget range you can get the best experienced and certified developers who are prepared to build up the product just in line with your desires.

  • 24/7 Development Cycle

When you are managing with offshore developers, there is great probability that they will be residing  in an entirely different time zone and naturally will have different working hours; this gap in local and remote working hours can be utilized to make sure 24/7 development cycle. The difference in local days of unique developers residing in different corners of the globe will aid in finishing the project in the least time.

  • Can Focus on The Creative Aspects of The Business

By outsourcing the tough software programming task, you will have more time to spend on core business activities. For start-ups, it’s even more crucial because their business is taking baby steps and require full attention to grow. By sparing yourselves from the development process, you can pay your full attention to the business strategies, its creative aspects, management and implementation of novel ideas.

  • Shared Responsibility

Risk direction to beginners from companies is dicier than it is for established businessmen, especially if the client company is a non-IT company. With outsourcing the risk management and its impact is shared between offshore developers and customers and offshore company will mitigate the risks in a better way because it’s part of their project.

  • No Need for New Infrastructure

Apart from the minimal hiring cost of programmers, outsourcing is proficient in terms of lower operating expenses. You don’t need to rent an office to give working space for the developers, buy equipment and other necessities for software development. The offshore development company will look after all these and eventually will speed-up the development process.

Drawbacks of Availing Offshore Services

  • Communication Barriers

Time-zone gap usually contributes to slower communication and organising meetings with the programmer will be quite complicated as you have to wait for the overlapping hours. Besides, sometimes it results in halting the job for the time being when the developer wants to ask an important question from the customer and have to wait for him to come online.

  • Cultural Differences

Cultural barrier effects when the remote developer lives in entirely different continent than yours, for example, you are in the U.S and the developer is in Asia or UAE, contrary to the situation where the developer will be in Europe or Australia as they’ve almost relatable cultural realities to the U.S. Sometimes language difference create unnecessary barriers and it becomes difficult to properly convince your idea to the programmer.

Best Countries to Outsource Software Development

Following are the top-rated countries for outsourcing software development because of the elite technological services offered by these regions at aggressive prices.

  1. Ukraine
  2. Poland
  3. Philippines
  4. Brazil
  5. Indonesia

Conclusion

Outsourcing IT-related projects to overseas development organisations is today’s truth; it’s a tried and tested successful model. Availing offshore software development services is trickier and fruitful at the same time. Beginners in the field should do their homework before signing an agreement; they need to be explicit in their needs and after extensively evaluating their shortlisted developers, they should select one. One incorrect decision will cost them a little amount of funding and a huge amount  of time. With the help of a QA engineer and by developing an important development process, they can capitalize on the proficient pool of programmers living in different geographical areas across the globe. 

Meta description: This tutorial shows the complete description about the offshore software development company and is a complete guide for startups.

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  1. Offshore software development company 
  2. Software Development

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The Ukrainian firms have headquarters in the country’s biggest cities — Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, and Dnipro. They are GBKSOFT, SteelKiwi, CiklumInfopulseMiratech, Softengi, ELEKS, Intellias, N-iXSigma SoftwareProgram-AceSoftServe, and AMC Bridge.