Good, streamlined communication is at the heart of all successful software development projects. It’s almost a cliche to say that good communication is essential for business success – but that’s for a reason. When a team needs adequate communication channels, problems will likely arise. Regular reporting and information conveyance to one another is critical in the development world, especially when many individuals – and several separate teams – are working on different aspects of an application.
It is unavoidable for teams to encounter problems, bugs, and delays. But when one team depends on another, when the success of one aspect or iteration depends on the success of another in the hands of a different team, it is essential to understand what is happening at both ends of the spectrum to avoid disasters. Considering that these separate teams work in different locations, possibly even in different time zones, we can see how a defined, regular, and dependable communication process is critical.
Outsourcing of Remote Teams
It’s almost unavoidable for a company to hire a remote team to work on a business project at some point. Whether it’s a brand new app for the company or an entire bespoke-built software suite to boost productivity, there will come a time when the company will consider the benefits of hiring a remote team. Of course, this is a wise decision. Offshoring development to a location like Russia can save you thousands of dollars. Still, it’s natural to be concerned about how workflows will be managed and adequate communication will be achieved.
How to Improve Communication Among Remote Teams
The project manager
In the first instance, it is critical that each remote team be assigned a PM who will be responsible for keeping each team informed of what is happening, when it is happening, and where it is happening, as well as ensuring that the client knows who they will be in primary contact with as the development progresses.
For effective communication management, daily updates are required. At the end of each day, the PM should compile a report outlining the project’s progress and distribute it to other remote teams and the client. It’s a simple procedure, but keeping everyone informed is critical.
Furthermore, sending the update in the evening will give everyone time to review and ask questions before work resumes.
Weekly phone calls
Although asynchronous communication is sometimes required, especially when teams and clients work in different time zones, ensuring that real-time communication opportunities are scheduled regularly is equally important. Weekly calls are a simple but necessary solution. The PM will schedule a weekly phone or Skype call with the client and other remote team PMs to ensure that work is proceeding smoothly and everyone is on the same page.
Best Practises for Improving Outsourcing Communication
Assuring that everyone understands what is expected of them
Setting clear, realistic expectations and ensuring that the outsourced team members fully comprehend them are essential for effective communication (and collaboration) during outsourcing. The more specific and clear they are at the start, the less likely there will be later misunderstandings. A trustworthy outsourcing partner understands that it takes two to tango and actively participates in developing realistic and measurable expectations based on their experience and practice.
Ensuring that team members have adequate language skills Outsourcing communication is typically conducted in English, so fluency in the language is required for your outsourced team members. Theoretically, this could be any other language you and your software development vendor agree on, but it makes little difference. A trustworthy outsourcing provider will ensure that their team members speak intermediate to proficient English, with any additional language being a bonus.
Creating early communication channels
After the contract is signed, responsible providers discuss how they will contact their clients. Another significant advantage of working with such a company is that it already has a well-established and tested communication algorithm that you can use immediately. However, reputable vendors always inquire about their clients’ preferred communication channels. If there is one, they will use it to provide exceptional and satisfying service to their clients.
Creating distinct channels for various needs
Once you’ve decided on your outsourcing communication channels, a good rule of thumb is to designate one channel for each type of information exchange. For example, you could agree to send/receive reports via email, video conferences via Google Meet, and quick questions via Slack. This will allow both teams to avoid being unnecessarily distracted from work — for example, when they receive an email that they don’t need to respond to right away — and, as a result, be more productive.
Sharing the use of project management tools
Emails, reports, and online meetings are useful, but top outsourcing companies also provide their clients with access to project management tools. These tools give them extra peace of mind by making tracking progress much easier, and they feel more in control of the processes. Furthermore, the tools save significant time — simply browsing the platform can answer the client’s question, eliminating the need to schedule a call or send another email, effectively improving outsourcing communication.
Choosing an appropriate time gap management strategy
Time zone differences may be a barrier to effective outsourcing communication, but they are not with a reputable provider. A reliable software development company will organize their work to make it as easy as possible for their clients worldwide.
Getting the most out of your time and effort
Many companies that outsource software development wish to reduce micromanagement. We completely understand this and, throughout our practice, have developed a communication system that has proven effective for many of our Clients.
Choosing the frequency of meet-ups
Aside from agreeing on how frequently to provide reports, outsourcing vendors who place a high value on client relationships always discuss the frequency of online sessions at the kick-off meeting. Furthermore, they assign dedicated people to participate in these meetings — typically, a delivery manager (possibly local), but if not, a project manager or a team lead.
Wondering How to Create Effective Outsourcing Communication Quickly and Easily?
Effective communication is critical if you want your outsourcing project to succeed. It is possible to achieve this through a set of tried-and-true practices and the appropriate technology. If you’re looking for a dependable software development company that understands the communication process and how to assemble appropriate teams, contact us!