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How to manage an outsourcing development team

How to manage an outsourcing development team

Business owners always have a desire to reduce their expenses and optimize development process, and there is nothing wrong about it. Outsourcing is a profound solution for a successful business development strategy, but together, with the benefits that business owners get via hiring outsourcing team, they may face with some related difficulties to outsourcing team management. Is it possible to control a third-party team from the other side of the world? How to do it more effectively? You will get answers to these and many other questions right now!

Four factors that cause difficulties in communication

Before sharing management tips, we present four factors that can cause difficulties in communication between outsourcing development team and a client:

1. Culture

When you have cultural differences with your development team, you can misunderstand them. We highly recommend using Ukrainian outsourcing development teams as they are easy to understand, share European culture.

2. English speaking skills

Language barrier plays a crucial role in communication between partners. Make sure you and your outsourcing team speak at least one common language and understand each other well.

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3. Education and experience

Your outsourcing team may have a better education and experience. It does not mean they are kings and can rule the world, but they can solve tasks in different, more efficient way.

4. Other factors

Professional developers are introverts and sometimes they are lack of soft skills. This can cause difficulties in communication. Try to discuss all the details of the project with BA and do not put too much pressure on developers. Let each person to do a job he is good at.

Top 9 tips to manage your outsourcing development team

1. Find out more information about your outsource development team.

Before you hire third-party developers for your project, check the experience your team has. The best way to find out information about a company is to contact them. Some companies can’t announce their secret project, so it is better to get information straight from the horse's mouth. Find the company’s phone number on their official website and call them.

To have productive communication, tell the company’s representative the main idea of your project and discuss your project technical requirements. If you know what programming language or framework you need for your project, ask developers to tell you about their experience. If you are not restricted with time and budget, visit your outsource development team. Face-to-face conversation allows people you to define a developer’s knowledge and skills much easier than phone calls.

2. Share more information about your business with the outsourcing team

Business owners want to protect their ideas and do not like to share particular information with the outsourcing development team. It is important to remember that a successful business always builds on trust, and it is not reasonable to keep secrets from your partners. If you still have some doubts, before you start the development process, sign a Non Disclosure agreement (NDA) together with the outsourcing company and sleep tight.

3. Use appropriate software for each task.

There are different software that helps developers, designers, and BAs to communicate with each other. For quick communication you can use Slack, Skype or WhatsApp; for technical tasks management it is better to use Jira or Trello. Newcomers do not like Jira as it requires some time to understand how it works, and after some time they will realise Jira benefits and enjoy it. Communication is a crucial part in business development, and modern software tools make it easy and comfortable.

4. Find out the time zone difference between you and your team

Time zone difference is not as big problem as many people think. Though, it can cause some uncomfortable situations when partners misinterpret each other and miss the meeting. To avoid such confusion, organize Skype calls with your outsourcing team beforehand and remember to mention the time zone as well. Respect your outsourcing team working schedule, and try to set time for a meeting at a time suitable for both parties. No one likes to work in the middle of the time, and even if they agree to work it won’t be effective.

5. Use code management solutions

Most modern It companies use Git, Bitbucket and other collaborative software tools to manage their code. Make sure your outsourcing team aware of these tools and actively use them as it allows planning a project, collaborate with colleagues on code, test and deploy the project. Using Bitbuckets developers can do different tasks simultaneously, and after that unite them into one smooth system. This is called Branch model and it allows to check the quality of the code with the help of Code Reviews.

How does it work?

Each developer creates a piece of code. To check a partner’s code, the developer sends Pull Request and makes a revision of that piece of code. If there are some bugs found in the task, developers fix the bug. When everything works well, new feature merges to the whole code body. As the result, the code is checked at least twice, and a client receives a robust product without bugs.

6. Keep a visual contact with your team

Even if you lack time, do not neglect Skype video calls with your outsourcing development team. It is scientific fact, that people understand each other better when they have face-to-face communication. Make sure you have a video Skype or Slack meeting with your team at least once a week or once per two weeks, to build mutual trust with your development team.

7. Establish two-way communication

Make sure you keep in touch with your third-party team on a regular basis, every day or at least once a week. Build trust between you and your team. Their problem is not only their one, do your best to help your development team to solve it. Your vendor should not be afraid to tell you about some project difficulties. If they smile and say “everything is ok”, this can be the first signal that something goes wrong, and they can’t tell you about it.This can cause missing deadlines and even crash of the project. To prevent this, discuss all the potential risks with your vendor and action plan in a critical situation.

Make sure your outsourcing team uses Agile methods for project management. Plan Slack, Google Chat or Skype meetings, and do your best to be present on each of them.

8. Respect your outsourcing development team

Mutual respect is a solid foundation for a successful business. To achieve this, you need to treat your third-party team as a partner and trust them your project. When you entrust the project to your vendor, he will feel responsible for the product quality and do it with more enthusiasm. Nothing can show your respect to your outsourcing team better than your attitude. Learn the names of your developers, designers, and BA, show your interest in their life (now only project), and never start yelling at your team. Be thankful and generous, and your outsource development team will do everything and even more for you.

9. Visit your vendor

To establish healthy relations with your developers, visit them or invite them to your country. While organising a trip for one person does not require much errands and resources, a trip for several people make take a lot of time and money. Planning a route, help them to apply for a visa, arranging hotels, restaurants, and other stuff for your development team can be quite overwhelming. So, just grab your bag and tickets, and make a visit to your team. It is a good chance to know more about your outsourcing partner and explore a new country!

Summing up

Whether you want to develop a project for yourself or for your client, outsourcing is a perfect way to save your time and money. Though, to manage your outsourcing development team successfully you need to follow some rules.Do not keep secrets from your team and share with them as more information about your project as you can and sign your NDA before your start development process. Keep in touch regularly with your team via Slack, Skype, WhatsApp for quick communication, and use Jira or Trello for task management. Built a mutual respect with your outsourcing team and treat them like a partner. Do your best to visit your team or organize a trip for your developers, and you will never have problems with outsourcing development team management. Still have some questions? Contact us, and we will answer all your questions regarding outsourcing team management.

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Checklist: Is your IT department ready to implement an idea from scratch into a mobile/web application?

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