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How to Manage an Offshore Development Team

  • Written by Allan Diel Caranguian

Assuming that your company has decided to set up an offshore development team, there are a few key considerations to think about to make the most of this arrangement.

Before we dig in more, let us first define some terms in this article.

What is outsourcing? Outsourcing is the process of hiring a dedicated team or individual outside of your company to work on a specific project or task. A company may hire dedicated developers to fast-track a project or hire an individual to complete a short-term job.

What are the perks of hiring outsourced developers?

There are a few key benefits: first, it can be cost-effective; second, you can hire developers with specific skill sets that may be difficult to find in your region; and third, you can hire developers who can work on a project full-time, which can help to speed up the timeline.

  • Cost-effectiveness. Hiring an offshore development team can be more cost-effective than hiring in-house staff when done correctly. This is twofold: first, you may be able to hire developers at a lower hourly rate; and second, you will not have to pay for the overhead costs associated with maintaining an in-house team like office space, equipment, and benefits.

  • You may be able to hire developers with specific skill sets that would be tough to find in your area. Suppose you are looking for a developer with experience in a programming language or framework. It may be easier to find someone with this experience in another country.

  • Full-time work. When you hire an offshore development team, you can hire developers who can work on your project full-time. This is worthwhile because it can help to speed up the timeline and ensure that the project is completed according to your schedule.

Where to best outsource developers?

There are a few popular countries where companies outsource: India, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

Each of these countries has its advantages and disadvantages. Philippine-based developers, for example, are often proficient in English and may have similar cultural references, which can be helpful for communication.

Developers can work on a flexible schedule to meet your expectations and requirements. A total of 1,200 hours a year is the average time Philippine-based developers spend working. Moreover, Philippine-based developers excel in customer service and have a strong work ethic.

Considering you hire a team of developers from the Philippines, how can you manage?

Seven ways to manage an offshore development team

Now that we've looked at some of the benefits and drawbacks of outsourcing, let's take a more in-depth look at managing an offshore development team.

1. Define roles and responsibilities

When you hire an offshore development team, clearly define each team member's roles and responsibilities. This will help avoid confusion and ensure everyone is on the same page.

2. Establish clear communication channels

Regular communication is essential to the success of any team, but it is imperative when you are working with a team that is located in another country. There are a few different ways to communicate with your team: email, video conferencing, chat apps, and project management tools.

3. Set clear expectations and deadlines

Another important consideration is to set clear expectations and deadlines. It will help avoid misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.

4. Use a project management tool

A project management tool can be beneficial when working with an offshore development team. This tool can help you keep track of deadlines, assign tasks, and communicate with your team.

5. Test the waters with a small project

If you are unsure about outsourcing, you may want to start with a small project. It will allow you to test the waters and see how your team works together.

6. Be patient

When working with an offshore development team, it is essential to be patient. There may be some bumps in the road, but if you are patient and communication is clear, things will run smoothly.

7. Have faith in your team

Finally, it is crucial to have confidence in your group. If you hire a reputable and skilled team, they will be able to handle your project and meet your expectations.

Five setbacks of offshore development teams

Even though there are many benefits to hiring an offshore development team, there are also a few drawbacks that you should be aware of.

1. Time differences can be challenging

One of the challenges of working with an offshore development team is the time difference. Depending on where your team is located, they may be working while you are sleeping or vice versa. This can make communication difficult at times.

2. Language barriers can be an issue

Another potential issue is language barriers. If your team is not proficient in English, it can make communication difficult. There may also be cultural differences that you need to take into consideration.

3. You may not have control over the work environment

When you hire an offshore development team, you will not have control over their work environment. This can be a challenge if you are used to working in a specific way.

4. You may not be able to meet in person

Another drawback is that you may not be able to meet in person. This can make it challenging to build relationships and trust with your team.

5. You may need to hire a project manager

If you decide to hire an offshore development team, you may need a project manager to oversee the project. This can add to the cost of the project.

In summary

Managing outsourced developers can be challenging, but it outweighs all the setbacks. Outsourcing developers can help your business grow.

In the corporate world, 64% of businesses say that the main reason they outsource is to "improve company focus." Companies can invest more time and resources into their core competencies by outsourcing.

Outsourcing can also help businesses save money. Companies can save up to 30% by outsourcing non-core tasks.

Considering these things in mind, outsourcing is not just a popular option, but it is the best option to stay in the competition.

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