A professional team is the cornerstone of every lucrative project. Outsourcing is vital when it comes to putting a great team together. But hand-picking talented individuals is only the first step. Shaping a well-structured communication process is an equally important task.
The main reason companies opt for outsourcing is the low price for custom application development. As resources become the top priority, it makes communication with employees a lower priority. It can become a headache to establish smooth customer-provider communication without being coherent, precise or capable to timely provide a case-related response.
Here are 5 things that help stay on the same page with an outsourced development team.
#1. Communicate needs clearly
The messaging between a customer and a provider should be done via an established communication channel. It ensures that the message will be timely received by the team member who can make an informed decision.
In the course of the development, it’s vital to accurately communicate any changes to the initial requirements, deadlines, features, etc. By avoiding delays, drawbacks and extra bug fixing, customers significantly benefit from eliminating unnecessary time gaps and saving related costs.
#2. Define time and frequency
Time and money are the cornerstones of any outsourcing strategy. The customer always seeks for the ways to employ these resources wisely.
The global nature of outsourcing makes it essential to take into account time zones when scheduling a call between a customer and a services provider. It is not a good idea to try to contact the provider’s side at the middle of the night, even though it is already noon on the customer’s side or vice versa.
The frequency of calls, stand-ups, and meetings depends on the scale of a project or the chosen development methodology, e.g., agile development. Whatever the complexity of the project, the exact time and the frequency of communicating ongoing results should be stipulated in the early stage of development.
#3. Split responsibilities
Each member of an offshore development team has different responsibilities. Once a task is allocated, the quality and the speed of its fulfillment is directly related to the workload of one of another team member. For instance, it is not a developer’s duty to communicate with the customer at virtually any convenient time. There is an onshore chief technology officer (CTO) or an external manager responsible for communication concerns. Both a provider and a customer should bear in mind the following:
- Adequate task distribution results in better productivity
- Time-efficiency is an important indicator of the success of the whole outsourcing strategy
- If free to prioritize the development tasks, team members provide a higher quality of a product
These tips may seem simple, but all of them serves in the best interest of both sides of the outsourcing partnership.
#4. Rationalize the level of control
Customers demonstrate a different level of technology literacy. It can result in either insufficient or excessive control for the development team. An experienced provider should be able to clearly explain the chosen development methodology, some related latest hardware and software stacks, etc., to clear up any doubts. It will make the process transparent to a non-tech savvy customer and will reinforce the provider’s experience to a customer with a solid technical background.
The control issue also depends on the project’s complexity, the time and budgeting. It is necessary to agree on the amount of control before the development team will feel perplexed working under pressure.
#5. Be open to cultural diversity
It takes all sorts to make the world, they say. Outsourcing to another country may result in confronting cultural differences. It is crucial to show respect and demonstrate the understanding of traditions and customs. For instance, in China, celebrating the Lunar New Year presupposes many business holidays. Also, in Asia, employees give higher priority to the time spent with families rather than to some working hours.
Communication style should also be aligned with the accepted patterns in one or another country. If in one case openness and frankness ‘plays into the hands’ of communicators, in another case it takes a more nuanced approach to avoid failures.
Having a “big idea” is not enough. If an idea is communicated poorly, it can ruin whatever efforts applied to build business relationships with an outsourcing partner.
Communication, plus budget, plus skilled team – these are the primary prerequisites to a fruitful cooperation. Implementing a new software project idea, customers often come across numerous challenges. Communicating all the need and expectations to an expert provider, they increase the chances of a project’s success dramatically.