A Moron’s Guide to Managing Offshore Web Development

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From glass rooms in towering sky scrapers to virtual meetings across planet, the online business community has come a long way in recent years. Still, the concept of offshore teams to develop websites and software is still considered hefty work. So how does one go about finding, contracting, interconnecting and managing an offshore team, effectively and brilliantly?

How does one manage an offshore team?

How can we manage a whole team of workers over the wireless connections when we can barely stand footing in the physical world? You ask? Fret not oh savvy folk, we have the complete guide for you. Here is a simple list to help you manage your offshore development team.

  • Communication is key to every door:
    Think of offshoring as hiring your virtual employees. Treat them the same as you would your onshore counterparts. Constant communication and meetings to share relevant information and set time goals is a must from the get go. Not only does it help in clarification of the project at hand, it also allows to build a higher level of engagement and understanding with offshore employees. It makes all the difference between an engaged and a disengaged team.
  • Recognize Cultural Differences:
    The grand global e-community is the biggest of enigmas. When offshoring, cultural differences between you and the offshore team are paramount. Recognizing cultural holidays, practices and traditions not only allows a better understanding between you and the team, it also allows for a long term relationship and guarantees higher success ratings. NEVER ask your offshore team to work on cultural holidays. NEVER ask your offshore team to perform a task against their culture. ALWAYS be respectful of cultural norms.
  • Authority comes with clarity:
    You are not the customer. It might seem redundant to state, but it is the biggest mistake many people make when offshoring. Make your stand from the beginning of this corporation. You are the boss. What you say, must go. The artificial layer of communication between you and the offshore team is not as robust as in onshore dealings. Hence, it’s easier for the offshore team to sidetrack and forget who’s in charge.
  • Video Conferencing as e-face to e-face meeting:
    It’s easy to email and chat on the web. It’s not so easy to have e-face to e-face meetings with offshore companies. But nonetheless, it’s the most important step in building a solid relationship with your offshore counterparts. While it might be difficult to arrange due to time differences, be sure to have a constant video conferencing schedule. Allow this time to serve as both a social ice breaker and a professional project update. This way, the offshore company knows that you’re invested in the project and will be productive and on their toes 100% of the time.
  • It’s Not a Dictatorship:
    Counter argumentative to the third point, while you may be in charge of this project, you are not a rueful dictator. The foundation of cross-border collaboration and the key to building a successful offshore business relationship is to embrace it as a partnership. Treat the team same as you would with a full time onshore team. Oversee day to day activities and stay in tune with your team schedules. This approach will enable the team to really feel like they are a part of the higher chain and in turn they’ll show as much investment in the project as an owner would.
  • Fulltime onshore lead to ensure offshore productivity:
    6.Many people have the notion that they can manage an offshore development team in their free time. Unfortunately, Offshoring is a full time job. Hence, it requires fulltime attention. Granted, you can’t simply drop all your other responsibilities to manage an offshore team. That’s why we recommend that you put together a small onshore team. This team will have the sole purpose of explaining business priorities and project enhancements to the offshore team. Not only will this improve communication but it will also help give a technical direction and establish a 24/7 personalized channel between you and your offshore team.
  • Provide information and detailed brief:
    Information is key to a well-oiled offshore/onshore management. Since offshore teams are removed from direct action, give them as much information as you can about the project that they are working on: who it’s for, the clients’ likes and dislikes, how it affects the business market. The more information provided, the more accurate result is going to be. This goes for both professional and personal information regarding said project.
  • Be Generous:
    This goes without saying, being a kind and approachable leader makes all the difference in the world. Give compliments, ask about personal engagements, and show a keen interest in the daily lives of the offshore team. In layman terms, basically just make your offshore team, your ‘work family’ and treat them as such. Be sympathetic to their problems, even if you can’t solve them yourself. Sympathy and generosity goes a long way in building a leadership standard and a good working relationship.
  • Ask Questions:
    Never assume anything. Always state the obvious and always ask questions. The offshore team would be reluctant to share any issues or concerns about the project until it’s too late and that could risk the project. Always be on top of the game. Ask about every aspect of the project you’re heading. Raise your concerns, however obvious and inquire plenty. This will ensure that your project runs smoothly and gives accurate results to your standards.
  • Lastly, Add Some Style:
    Always leave on a good note. So your employees know that there are plenty more opportunities awaiting them in the future. They’ll put in more effort and time on current and future projects. And you’ll have yourself a loyal crew.

While it might seem like a lot of effort and conscience to manage an offshore development team, it’s really not. Most of the tips lined above are simply natural, psychological traits that harness themselves in 90% of human personality. In other words, you don’t need to put in as much effort as you think you do in offshoring. Contrary to popular belief, managing an offshore team is not purely for the tech savvy folk. Anyone can partake in this newest venture in the business world. And of course implementing a few tips and tricks will solidify your management skills. We guarantee that if you practice our tips, you’ll not only successfully build yourself an offshoring empire but you’ll also gain the traits to become an empowering leader for the onshore ventures we’re sure you’ll conquer.

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Shamim Rajani

is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Genetech Solutions, a one stop shop for all web services specializing in Web Development, Customized Web Applications, Social Media Marketing and other IT related services. Follow her on twitter @ShamimRajani.

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