Going offshore and building a team in another country is a concept that has gained significant popularity in the recent past – and for a good reason. By building offshore development teams, you get access to the most talented and passionate developers, at a fraction of the cost as compared to hiring local talent from the US and Western Europe.
However, if you are looking to go offshore but aren’t entirely sure if your company is ready for the transition, this piece is for you. In this piece, we prepare a checklist for your business – essential factors that need to be ticked off before you decide to move your business offshore.
1. Try Working Remotely
If you’ve never worked more than 10 feet away from your team, it’s a good idea to try it. You can work from home for a week or two, or even work from a coworking space away from your team.
The main reason why this is so important is that it will give you a real-time experience of what working with an offshore team will feel like. Given the fact that your offshore development team will be hundreds and thousands of miles away, an experience like this will go a long way in helping you decide if this is something that you can comfortably get on board with.
2. Do you have a clear list of requirements?
Sometimes, companies are sure that they want to invest in an offshore team, but once the talk progress with an offshore development company, they realize that their requirements are vague and uncertain.
To avoid that, make sure that you have a clear list of requirements that highlights the short and long term goals for your business and your offshore team. This will help you and your offshore partner come up with a solid action plan on how to proceed with your move offshore. Remember, nothing is as vital to success as explicit requirements and expectations.
Your hiring process speaks a lot about the kind of recruitment strategy that you follow for your business. The best way to establish a foolproof recruitment strategy is to ask yourself questions every time you hire a candidate. Are they as experienced as you would want them to be? Do they practice self-learning, or are they going to be extremely dependant on you? These are crucial questions that need introspection.
Then, communicate this with your offshore development partner. By knowing your hiring requirements, the vision for your company going forward, your partner will be able to guide you in a much better way.
3. Do you encourage cultural diversity?
If you’re looking to offshore to countries like India and the Philippines, you’re going to interview a lot of developers whose culture is unlike anything you may have come across before. They may consider a different approach to tasks and problems, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise when that happens, neither should you resist it. Instead, you should be able to understand where they’re coming from, their thoughts, and give room for them to be heard.
So, before you transition offshore, ask yourself if that is something that you can work with? Do you encourage programmers from different countries and cultural backgrounds to be a part of your development team? These questions are incredibly important as they determine how smooth your partnership with your offshore team will be.
4. Do you have the right collaboration tools in place?
You may already have a list of tools that your in-house team works with. However, when working with remote teams, collaborative software and tools become more important than ever.
Ensure that you have a source code repository in a place like GitHub or GitLab, where both your offshore team and the in-house team can add source code securely. If you have a significantly large team working on your development project, it is a good idea to invest in continuous integration tools like Jenkins, TeamCity, and CircleCL.
Task management tools are an absolute must because the only way you’ll know what your offshore team is working on is to have it documented somewhere. Without a task management system in place, neither your in-house team nor your offshore team will have any idea what the other is working on.
Famous task management tools that are worth checking out include Trello, Jira, and Asana. You can even use something as basic as spreadsheets. A spreadsheet that contains the different tasks of each employee and their progress is a good starting point. You can also add the spreadsheet to a cloud platform where every employee’s tasks are tracked in real-time! This allows other employees to be well-informed of their team’s tasks, processes, and roadblocks, regardless of who is in which office.
Video conferencing tools like Skype, Zoom, and GoToMeeting, and instant messaging tools like Slack, HipChat, and Telegram are also essential to establish an effective communication medium between your teams.
5. Do you practice documentation?
If you haven’t been updating your product documentation, you must do it before you decide to work with an offshore development team. The primary reason for this is that your offshore developers will have no prior information about your product. For them to transition smoothly into their new roles and get up to speed on all the processes and products that are being built, they will need to consult on up-to-date documentation.
Only when this is in place can your team in another country gain knowledge about the different business rules, databases, server environments, files, and the progress of a project. This helps them understand how your development processes work so they can contribute to building quality software.
By taking into account these simple considerations, you can prepare your company for a smooth and seamless transition offshore! This also acts as a checklist of sorts for you to be able to decide if going offshore is something that your business can handle.
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