By: Katie Johns
In a global economy, it is not wrong to say that offshore software development is one of the fastest growing phenomena. Once touted as an exciting way to save costs and have faster turnaround time, there are a growing number of enterprises that wish to outsource.
But, along with the offshore custom software development project comes the responsibility of managing an offshore software development team. Though it might sound like an easy task it requires a seasoned leader(s) and/or team players (depending on the size of the offshore custom software development project). The management of an offshore software development requires the project manager to deal with unique challenges like language barriers, cultural and socio-economic differences.
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Most of the offshore projects fail due to lack of communication and mutual understanding. The offshore software development projects seldom fail owing to lack of technical expertise. To start with, the offshore IT development team must have a clear understanding of your business and your business vision. They must be clear with the project goals. You can schedule several meetings if the team is not clear with the project goals in a single meeting. It doesn’t imply that you give them hours of trainings, but a few video briefing sessions should work. The other aspect that you can brief them about your target customers. Once they are aware of your customer profile and their needs, you can be sure that you’re on the same page.
Do you understand the most common challenges of managing an offshore remote team?
- Skimming through the email clutter
- Time zone difference
- Different dialects and accents
- Requirements may get lost in translation
- Lack of transparency
- Lack of control
I will not go further to cover the merits and demerits of outsourcing, but I do want to provide you with effective ways to address the biggest challenges in offshore custom software development projects.
1. Define meeting schedule
The stem of most of the issues in offshore custom software development projects is communication. If you define, from the start of the project, the frequency of meetings, people who are required to attend, and the agenda of these meetings. It is also critical to capture the minutes of the meetings so that actionables are not missed.
Structured meetings can streamline communication and engage all the stakeholders equally.
2. Communicate business purpose of the project
While it is critical to give a technical understanding of the project, it is also important to communicate the business purpose of the project. Organize a few sessions with the business developer/ business analyst so that the offshore IT team members are clear with the business context of the project.
3. Use project management tool(s)
There are several project management tools available today. It is better to use an online project management tool that helps you to report bugs, tasks, perform follow ups and question the team members. You must mandate, with a defined guideline, the use of the tool so that there’s a routine around using them.
4. Define deliverables for each stage and quality standards
Once you divide the project in stages, you need to define acceptance and delivery criteria for each stage. This will help you to meet project timelines on time and avoid any delays.
You must also ensure that offshore IT team members are aware of the quality standards followed and understand the Quality Management System (QMS) to implement while working on the custom software development project. Ensure that you have a quality plan and a team of offshore software testers.
5. Challenge software developers
Developers like to be challenged and offshore software developers are not different. As a client, you might have an idea or concept in your head, but the offshore IT team might come up with a better solution. They can suggest better designs and ideas for a problem at hand and recommend a better and more plausible technical solution.
If you’re seeking a reliable, experienced and trustworthy offshore software developer to work on your custom requirements, you can speak to one of our experts to discuss your business needs.