Gathering a team of highly-qualified, experienced experts on a limited budget isn’t exactly a piece of cake. Many companies (such as, for instance, our clients Bellame or Projekt Magazin) have found a solution in a relatively new method: outsourcing, i.e, employing remote teams of experts.
Remote employee management issues
Once you find professionals ready to work for you remotely, you can safely forget about the office rent and workplace arrangement expenses. You can also forget about extra charges demanded by experts from your country. If you live in the USA, for instance, remote employees from Eastern Europe would charge significantly lower prices as opposed to those from America.
However, issues and challenges may appear if the foreign team consists of not two or three specialists, but of several dozen. How do you manage an offshore development team if you are physically unable to be present at your new outsourced team workspace? Based on that, can such an arrangement be productive at all? Is it initially doomed to failure?
By no means! Let’s figure out how to manage offshore teams of dedicated workers as though you weren’t separated by a long distance at all.
8 tips for remote team management
How do you communicate with offshore teams most effectively? Here are 9 simple steps to take to establish the most productive long-distance interaction possible.
1. Test them out
Your potential employee might have an impressive resume, and they might be the most pleasant conversationalist on Skype. But none of that matters that much until you give them the terms of reference of your project and see what you get as a result; only then will you see what level of professionalism they will demonstrate. Experienced employers always prepare a test task. It helps to define the level of crucial skills required for further work on the project. Such tests are (and usually must be) completed in no more than a week. Yes, time is money, everybody knows that. But with dedicated tests, it would be highly unlikely for you to be cheated by fine words and great promises. The potential employee’s field of expertise will also be defined more easily.
2. Assign a local team manager
When you’re planning to set up a working arrangement with a remote team, you should (and most probably would) realize that it is impossible to watch over everyone at all times. Still, someone has to monitor the efficiency of workflow. For this purpose, take the most experienced member of the team and make them a manager. Make sure to pick a person with strong professional skills and who possesses a significant level of authority among their colleagues.
3. Make all in-house data private
Some projects imply involvement with and the use of unique info or personal user data. The data stored online is always vulnerable and susceptible to hackers and other network scammers. Moreover, private data that specifies someone’s identity must be employed in strict accordance with the recently updated GDPR regulations. In order to avoid issues related to data leaks, take care of its secure transfer means in a timely manner. In take special care to forbid your remote employees from connecting to public WiFi channels during work and restrict database access to the highest reasonable extent.
4. Create a general chat room
A dedicated online chat for in-house corporate discussions will help your remote experts stay in the heat of the workflow. It can be a place where a team may discuss both work-related and miscellaneous topics. The most frequently used environment for that is Skype. There is also Slack, which offers more advanced, all-around communication capabilities.
5. Use task management software
Planning, organizing, and distributing working tasks in the remote mode can be quite difficult. An unsystematic approach to the workflow organization as a whole may cause failed deadlines, untimely transfers of tasks by one team to another (this mostly happens when working processes involve application development) or the unfortunate loss of completed tasks. We would recommend employing specialized software in order to avoid all of those sad possibilities. With the help of such cloud software as Jira or Redmine, for instance, you’ll be able to automate workflow management to a significant extent.
6. Arrange team building activities
It’s difficult to ‘inject’ experts with the corporate spirit from a distance. If you are based in the same city or country, you can arrange corporate get-togethers from time to time. Things may be much more difficult however if we are talking about remote cooperation on the international level. If you intend a continuous cooperation, you might as well organize informal meetings for all interested at some type of resort once every six months. As a more affordable option, you can offer an all-expenses paid trip to your office and a few days accommodation in your country for the most distinguished team member. This can additionally motivate other team members and make it more interesting and even, for a lack of a better notion, competitive to work on your project.
7. Communicate with your remote employees personally
How do you get maximum productivity from offshore team? It is crucial to remember personal communication. Maximally productive work cannot only be based on the discussion of work-related issues. Try to find out as much as possible about your remote workers by discussing, in addition to work, their personal interests, hobbies, and plans for life. Don’t forget to also give them credit for any good work done along with that. With such a manner, they will feel that they’re as much a part of your working force as colleagues from your office. Additionally, you’ll be able to indicate how much your remote team members’ values and business goals correspond with yours or your business’s and timely allocate the people that came to your project strictly for the sake of money.
8. Define your company’s general development directions for remote employees on a regular basis
Our list of offshore team management tips is concluded with more of an abstract recommendation – define the future goals of your company. You’ll probably find this tip obvious. Nevertheless, not all distant workers will have a clear image of exactly what you are trying to achieve with your business and the whole purpose of your particular project. It’s virtually impossible to gather in your team only the people ready to work for the sake of an idea. But it’s still possible to find those that are really passionate about what they’re doing. You should gather your outsourced staff together (be it in the general chat or otherwise) exactly for the purpose of highlighting the nearest growth plans of your company.
Offshore Team Management Tips: Conclusion
Follow our best practices for managing your offshore resources and you’ll be able to set up really trusting relationships with your remote staff despite the many kilometers that may separate you. You will also be able to infuse enthusiasm based not only on salary but on similar business goals.
However, you might not even want to bother with how to manage a remote team of developers or other experts. If you are looking for a fully-formed team that manages internal workflow independently, let us help you! Our team of developers from Ukraine have been building top-notch mobile apps and websites based on Drupal for years. We are always glad to cooperate with new people and will offer you an utterly honest and high-quality service.