Managing Project And Communication With Offshore Development Team

managing offshore teams

Project management and communication are important pillars of any software development project. Distance and cultural differences, language barriers, and time zone variations can all add to the complexities, thereby making managing these two elements difficult. Discover how to ace them to build a collaborative and productive offshore dev team.

Collaborating with an offshore team is a tried-and-true method for businesses to leverage global talent and streamline processes while allowing entrepreneurs to focus on their bottom-line company goals. It’s true that offshore development offers lower costs and swarms of high-quality software development experts.

According to Verified Market Research the offshore software development market was worth USD 122,257.5 million in 2021 and is expected to be worth USD 283,457.5 million by 2030, increasing at a CAGR of 10.13% between 2022 and 2030. It is not by chance that US companies, as well as those from established economies, seek savings and quality services overseas. According to SharpMinds, India presently holds 44% of the IT outsourcing business, followed by China (33%), Brazil (10%), South Africa (8%), and Eastern Europe (5%). So, trends indicate more partnerships with offshore dev teams in the future.

However, working with and managing offshore teams is not plain sailing. In a nutshell, it’s similar to working with a remote development team, with identical issues arising from time zone variations, ineffective communication, a lack of physical interactions, and so on. This article explores how to overcome these obstacles concerning communications and project management while working with offshore teams.

How to Manage Project and Communication with Your Offshore Dev Partner

Project management and communication are important to any software development project. However, when you are working with teams provided by offshore software development services, how effectively you manage these two elements decides the success of your project. Here, we discuss some key practices using which you can manage project and communication effectively and streamline product development.

Foster relationships from onset

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success,” as Henry Ford once remarked.

When first collaborating with an offshore team, ask if it considers communication skills to be a key competency, if they coach and mentor personnel to encourage communication and collaboration, who will fix potential communication barriers.

Just like when you hire in-house employees, you may evaluate CVs and conduct in-person or online interviews with each offshore developer for your outsourced project or dedicated team. Even if your remote workers speak flawless English, keep in mind that you may be seeing or understanding things differently. Never be afraid to ask direct questions. A little research on the culture of the remote staff will reduce the likelihood of misunderstanding or conflict.

Endorse yourself as a partner rather than a customer. Recognize the offshore team’s role in your project and thank them for their hard work and dedication to the success of your company. Reducing the use of “you” and emphasizing the term “we” will help to reinforce the idea of teamwork.

Exhibit a big picture

It is not enough to delegate a work and expect it to be completed if you want quality results and a smooth collaboration between your business and an offshore team. Leading a remote software development team requires significantly more involvement and commitment. The most important thing is to offer a basic image of your product and clearly clarify your end objective.

The developers must grasp what your firm is all about, what your core vision, goal, and values are, what product you want to make, and what user problems you want to answer with the final application or software.

According to Brian Dhatt, CTO at BigCommerce, states that while establishing their own R&D office in Eastern Europe, he focused on the onboarding plan for each team member, as this will assist members to better grasp their opportunities within the organization.

When all of the important facts are in place, software developers will be able to make more informed decisions during the work process, ensuring the required progress and quality.

Seamless circulation of the product roadmap

Every team member should be able to get the information they need at any moment. Easy access to technical documentation or another single source of truth for product specifications promotes project knowledge sharing and helps to avoid numerous communication difficulties. If appropriate, authorized team members should be able to view and edit the project knowledge base.

It may include a project description, a prototype, a Confluence page, a project wiki, problem logs, and so on. However, make sure the resource eliminates any developers’ doubts regarding the look and function of any feature. A style guide, for example, includes the product’s design ideas and details. When distant developers need to add a new feature rapidly, such as a dark mode, they can do so without the assistance of a designer. This saves the client both time and money.

Have a holistic strategy for communication

“The most crucial elements of offshoring are to enable a team which is prompt in communication and ensure messages are well articulated across,“ says Faiz MH, CEO of NeoITO.

If we take a glance at a successful example then Zoho is a software company that has offshore development teams in India and China. They have established clear communication channels, use project management software to track progress, and have regular check-ins to discuss project goals and expectations. Now zoho is a well established enterprise of offshoring.

Let’s take a look at how streamlining communication can be the best strategy for your business.

Define communication protocols

Communication protocols can be defined as a set of agreed-upon rules and procedures for communication that aim to ensure clarity, efficiency, and effectiveness. By establishing clear protocols, organizations can reduce confusion, increase efficiency, and avoid costly mistakes or delays. Communication protocols can also help to build trust, improve collaboration, and promote a culture of transparency and accountability.

Prioritize asynchronous communication

By prioritizing asynchronous communication, organizations can improve productivity, reduce interruptions, and create a more flexible and efficient communication culture. However, it is important to ensure that individuals are still able to connect and collaborate in real-time when needed, to avoid silos or communication gaps.

Ensure continuous uninhibited dialog

Creating an environment where individuals feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, ideas, and concerns openly and honestly, without fear of judgment or reprisal. By ensuring continuous uninhibited dialog, organizations can build trust, foster collaboration, and create a culture of innovation and improvement. This can lead to more effective communication, better decision-making, and improved outcomes for the organization as a whole.

Arranging daily scrum meetings is a good approach to align with the team and stay up to date on the progress of your project. Scrum meetings increase process visibility by asking your team members to answer three key questions:

  • What did you do the day before?
  • What are your plans for today?
  • What problems have you encountered thus far?

These sessions also serve to increase familiarity and build trust.

Know that little things go a long away

When you see team members working well together, you must recognise and appreciate it. One of the most powerful motivators of employee success is recognition. In a recent study of great places to work, 37% of participants felt that continuous praise would motivate them to do a better job.

Apart from that, acknowledging good teamwork will encourage other team members to do the same. It has the potential to create a virtuous loop that boosts your productivity and teamwork. You can even include an incentive to promote even more collaboration. Optionally, you can even add an incentive to promote collaborative behavior further.

It can be as basic as creating a virtual hall of fame for prominent offshore and in-house team members who demonstrated exceptional teamwork. As an incentive, you could even plan a yearly trip for your in-house and offshore personnel. Managers should not be the only ones who give recognition. It would be ideal if you also encourage team members to acknowledge their coworkers. These techniques can help your firm develop a culture of remote cooperation over time.

Resolve Overlaps

Working with offshore dev teams means you’ll most likely be working across time zones. The global offshore software development market has been developing at a faster rate with considerable growth rates in recent years, and it is expected to increase significantly in the anticipated period, 2023 to 2031.

Seeing this rise in offshoring can seem to be beneficial but operating with time differences may appear difficult, but you may take advantage of it by overlapping your work periods. For example, if you are in the United States and your offshore team is in the Philippines, they are 13 hours ahead of you. While that is a significant time difference, there might be 3-4 hours of overlap while working in the late afternoon or evening.

This time slot is great for scheduling meetings, team huddles, or anything else that requires you to actively communicate with your offshore team. This eliminates the issue of working across vastly different time zones and ensures smooth collaboration for development success.

Bridge roadblock

Collaboration technology enables more effective offshore development teams. For example InVision a software company that specializes in digital product design. They have successfully managed projects with offshore development teams by using collaboration tools such as Asana, Slack, and Zoom, and by providing clear documentation and regular check-ins.

Tools like Trello, Slack, and JIRA assist the development team in making the collaboration workflow simple and visible. Despite the variations in time zones and geographies, these technologies do not replace sitting in a room together, but they do assist keep the entire staff on the same path, making them indispensable for offshore team management.

Remember, it’s nothing without KPIs and OKRs

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) are both useful tools for evaluating performance. KPIs are specific, measurable metrics that help you track progress toward a goal or objective. OKRs are a more strategic framework for setting and achieving objectives, and they typically include multiple KPIs. Here are some steps for implementing KPIs and OKRs to evaluate performance:

Identify key results: Once you have your objectives in place, identify the specific results that you need to achieve in order to meet those objectives. These should be measurable and achievable within a specific timeframe.

Set KPIs: For each key result, identify one or more KPIs that you can use to measure progress. These should be specific, measurable, and relevant to the key result.

Establish baselines: Before you begin tracking your KPIs, establish a baseline for each one. This will give you a starting point for measuring progress.

Track progress: Use a dashboard or other tracking tool to monitor your KPIs over time. This will help you identify trends and make adjustments as needed.

Review and adjust: Regularly review your KPIs and OKRs to ensure that they are still relevant and aligned with your organization’s goals. Make adjustments as needed to stay on track.

Let’s take some examples of KPIs and OKRs

Objective: Increase the number of successful software development projects delivered on time and within budget.


  • Project delivery success rate (percentage of projects delivered on time and within budget)
  • Project delay rate (percentage of projects delayed)
  • Defect rate (number of defects per software release)

Key results:

  • Improve project management processes to reduce the number of project delays
  • Increase the number of qualified software developers in the offshore team
  • Reduce the number of defects and bugs in software releases

Closing Thoughts

Benefits of offshore software development teams are many, but fetching them depends on how you manage projects and streamline communication throughout the project lifecycle. Know that offshore team management is difficult but rewarding when you know how to manage these two pillars.

Establishing clear goals and expectations, communicating regularly with your offshore staff, cultivating a positive working relationship, managing cultural differences, and providing training and support are all critical to success. You can effectively manage an offshore software development team and deliver high-quality software projects if you follow these best practices.

As a custom software development agency that offers ace offshore teams, we can help you understand how technicalities in offshore development are handled and how to manage offshore development team. So, connect with us in case you are looking to build an offshore team.

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