Building an effective offshored development team
This is second in our series of how to build great teams, this time we will focus on software development teams!
Published 23 Jan 2019
We've talked a lot about the benefits of offshoring, so we won't highlight the details of; reducing costs, increasing growth, increasing diversity and all that stuff. What we will do, however, outline a six-step plan for building an effective software development team.
#1 - Get those tools & processes in place first
If your local team are struggling to deliver results, whether they're successful sprints or missed product launches, then offshoring is only going to compound those struggles. You should absolutely review your software development lifecycle and tools to reflect on the following;
- How effectively are your teams' development projects?
- How easily do requirements make their way through the process?
- How fast are escalated development issues resolved?
- How much feedback do you get and what do you do it?
If you're satisfied that all of those things are going to translate well to a dispersed, offshored team.. please proceed to step #2
#2 - Seek feedback from key stakeholders to help define your core requirements
You most likely have great talent locally, so we encourage you to ask them what they believe the business needs in their software development team, ask them;
- What are their pain points or where is the current teams technical limitations?
- What areas do they struggle to meet customer expectations?
- What would they prefer to be focused on in the business to add the most value to the organisation?
These answers should help you to define what these offshored roles look like and how they will help your team and organisation. Once you have the vision for your development support team defined, move on to step #3
#3 - Do not compromise and engage with the best provider(s)
Yeah we, of course, mean Change Fox, but it goes further than that. Not every BPO is made of the same stuff, and you need to consider certain criteria for your partner selection process;
- Do they have existing customers delivering software services or products?
- What is their retention rates?
- Do they have an internal culture that is aligned to your own?
- Can you talk to their customers?
Once you have contacted Change Fox you can proceed to step #4
#4 - Be patient with your team building
Building an amazing team doesn't happen overnight, while there is a huge amount of talent around, finding the combination of technical competencies with the cultural fit and soft skills. You should absolutely;
- Develop strategies with your partner(s) to shortlist the most appropriate candidates
- Don't be afraid to be very specific about types of personalities and competencies that you are looking for
- If your team is going to be expected to work autonomously, consider hiring a team leader first
- Be picky, be picky and definitely be picky
Now you have got your team hired and everybody should be excited, on to step #5
#5 - Execute your onboarding plan, on schedule and to plan
Onboarding is the first real impression that your new team members have of your organisation. That is why it is so important to show them they are a priority, that they are important and that you are going to invest the time and effort to give them the tools they need to succeed together. You should;
- Ensure that your local trainers understand the importance of these onboarding activities
- Schedule your training and onboarding activities with local staff ahead of time
- If you can, schedule a trip to conduct at least some of the onboard in person
You are really tracking well towards offshoring success, time for step #6
#6 - Actively seek & provide feedback from new team members and those working with them
Feedback is one of the most important aspects of reflection and improvement and building an amazing team is absolutely about continuous improvement. Take the time to check in with each of your staff and those who are working with or training them at a minimum;
- Day 1 as a welcome
- End of week 1 & 2
- End of month 1, 2 & 3
- End of each quarter thereafter
Gathering and providing this feedback need not be a formal exercise, a combination of annual or twice yearly formal reviews, supported by monthly or quarterly informal catchups and progress updates.
Pulling it all together
A lot of what we have discussed in this article are key objectives and deliverables for our engagements with our customers, but hopefully, this article has given you insights into not only what we can add to your offshoring initiative but also provides you with a solid understanding of what is required by you and your organisation to realise the significant benefits that offshoring could bring to your organisation.