Best Practices for Building Communication with Offshore Teams

August 11, 2017

Working with offshore developers is a common practice for businesses looking to augment their staff and reduce project costs. There is software development talent available around the globe, but, similar to your onshore team, without clear direction and open communication, offshoring projects will not yield quality development. In order to achieve a cooperative relationship between you and developers abroad, good offshore communication is essential.

To help you find success with software development teams across the world, we put together our best practices for communicating with distributed development teams.

 

Set Leadership Roles Up Front

As the point of contact, your project needs leadership who will follow the project closely to help resolve communication challenges that may arise across teams and cultures. Having clarity about business goals off the bat is a must for the entire team. There is always a risk of consuming valuable time to correct initial misunderstandings of objectives; assigning leadership roles both onshore and offshore to relay project information directly ensures your offshore projects run smoothly from start to finish. Throughout the life of the project, their role is to ensure that onshore and offshore developers understand the client sponsor’s business case and project objectives.

Work Closely with Offshore Teams

This means scheduling meetings and collaboration time regularly across different communication channels: phone calls, instant messaging, email, and issue management systems. Establishing such communication pathways right away during project kick-off encourages consistent and expected communication throughout the project. It is important to note that allowing extra time at the beginning of projects is necessary for more frequent communication while the team is getting established, as it helps to identify and raise issues early. Being in touch often will build a strong relationship and trust as projects advance.

Promote Positive Engagement

Being across the world doesn’t mean you can’t engage with offshore teams like you would with co-workers in your office. Start conversations with questions like “How are you doing?” to show care in how people are feeling. Giving encouragement and praise often is another way to promote positivity, and will strengthen relationships as well as put meaning into development work.

Make In-person Visits

Agile methodology is founded on the principle of frequent, high quality communication. Perhaps the best way to create a strong relationship with your offshore team is to meet with members in their country. In-person interactions allow you to see past what technologies limit to get a better sense of how teams work on projects and with each other. Having personal connections is valuable for developing trust, powerful collaboration, and inspiring greater enthusiasm in projects. In our experience, the strengthened working relationships are far more valuable than the cost of airfare!

Planning thoughtful communication with offshore software development teams is necessary for the timely project completion you’re looking for — and for long term success. To reach your technology goals, contact us to connect with the best offshore talent in Costa Rica and Eastern Europe.