How to Manage Offshore Development Teams: 15 Tips


How to Manage Offshore Development Teams: 15 Tips how to manage offshore development team

Hiring an offshore team is a great way to streamline your development processes and create great products with a highly experienced team. But without proper guidance, even the best team can fall apart. So, how do you make sure that doesn’t happen?

To help you out, we’ll be discussing 14 tips on managing offshore development teams so that you can utilize all the expertise your team brings. Let’s begin!

1. Hire The Team That Suits You

Offshore partner vendors know how to create a great team, along with helping you create a great team for your business. While recruiting partners can be helpful, you can save additional costs by emphasizing a few details yourself.

  • Start With A Clear Goal In Mind
  • Conduct Performance Based Assessments For Determining Individual Efficiency
  • Be Patient Throughout The Process To Find The Most Compatible Member

2. Set Clear Goals That Don’t Make Your Budget Overflow

Without proper goals and project oversight, the budget can spiral out of control at any moment. There are many things you must constantly keep an eye on if you don’t want your budget to overflow.

  • Are your programmers paid on retainer, or are they charging by the hour?
  • Does the output of the developers match your expectations?
  • Are you keeping track of the hours in case the contract is hour-based?
  • How much will the vendor charge you if they need more rebuilding hours?

3. Get The Right Communication Tools

With the right effort put into communication, offshore development teams can double the output. It’s vital to choose the correct method of communication and the right tools to constantly be in touch with your team.

Each team member may have many different concerns and questions regarding different objectives and the procedure to achieve said objectives. Answer each question quickly, and watch the team’s efficiency skyrocket.

4. Overcommunicate Every Time

This seems like a bad idea on a surface level, but it can clear up any miscommunication during development.

The language barrier is a big concern when working with offshore teams, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. You reach out multiple times to ensure your instruction is explicit and the devs don’t misinterpret anything.

Terms or phrases getting lost in translation is a common occurrence that causes miscommunication. With overcommunication, you get to guarantee that they understood all the instructions provided and that the final vision of you and the team is on a parallel.

5. Boost Your Team With Agile Methodology

Agile software development practices are slowly becoming the industry norm and not just a highly sophisticated working method. More and more companies are adopting agile methodology in their workplace, and your offshore team shouldn’t be any different.

Before you create your time, it’s best to choose a team or vendor with prior experience working with agile development practices, and their addition to your team can significantly boost your development progress.

6. Debrief Your New Team Right After Onboarding

Only relying on agile isn’t good enough. You should do a detailed debriefing of your entire time right after onboarding. You can argue that everything was said in the contract before since an outsourcing contract requires you to mention the nitty-gritty of your project before they agree.

But when the whole team is working with you, a direct meeting specifying all development life cycle parameters is extremely important. Despite having a detailed contract, a ton of questions can arise:

  • Which internal protocols have a chance of interfering with the consulting programmers?
  • How will the team ensure data security?
  • Is there any kind of approval process they should be working within?
  • How much frontend/backend access freedom will the team need?
  • How will the team collaborate with in-house employees if the need arises?

Always try to provide written documentation that details the answers to all questions every time. This way, new team members can quickly grasp everything that’s been going on so far. Written documentation also allows you to reconsider all work progress.

7. Create a Work Schedule With a Time Difference In Mind

When recruiting team members from around the globe, the time difference becomes a concern. But if you time it correctly, your offshore developers can be your biggest asset.

With the right scheduling, your offshore team will be clocking in right after your in-house developers are clocking out. Though programming 24/7 is only theoretical, this is as close as possible.

Another effective method is to overlap your schedules by a couple of hours. This way, you and your team have enough time for meetings, Q&A, and planning.

8. Simplify The Communication Process

Not everyone can be equally fluent in English, which is entirely understandable. When communicating with your offshore team, you might also face the issue of language barrier. The best way to eliminate the possibility of miscommunication is to simply use your communication method entirely.

Speak in sentences with limited but comprehensible vocabulary while avoiding metaphors or cultural references that aren’t relevant to the culture of your team members. This way, your entire communication becomes straightforward and obvious.

When you provide clear directions with short statements, you reduce the risk of them assuming anything and going in the wrong direction.

9. Organize Your Workflow

When managing projects, you should establish step-by-step operational procedures that can help each team member better understand the project they’re working on.

You should also write down major organizational principles so the team members aren’t breaking any rules or creating a product that doesn’t align with your business vision.

If you’re following agile software development practices, it’s even more important to plan everything before the development phase begins, and the team continues to seamlessly collaborate once the project starts.

You also need to invest adequate tools and resources to boost collaboration among your offshore team members.

10. Always Keep The Work Queue Full

It’s common for developers to get stuck with a specific task due to technical issues or sometimes programs simply refusing to work. Always remember to assign secondary tasks to each developer for cases like these.

When they get stuck on their primary objective, the devs can always focus on a different task until the issue from the prior assignment gets solved.

11. Make Sure The Assigned Tasks Have Meaning

Reflecting on the previous point, don’t just assign tasks because you want to fill up a schedule. While secondary tasks can ensure that the devs aren’t just sitting around in silence, work unrelated to the development process will only result in prolonged development time from engaging the necessary developers in other tasks.

12. Get The Most Out of Each Video Conference

When offshoring, video conferences are the best alternative to a face-to-face meeting. A video conference provides a more human element absent from a typical audio call. Video meetings don’t just get the right message across clearly; they also help you build team cohesion.

Remember, even professionals are humans, and their mood and mindset can also affect the development progress. As the team leader, it’s up to you to ensure that all your team members are in a jolly, productive mood.

Of course, hiding behind the keyboard is easy. But you should still ask for progress and offer help if team members express their feelings.

13. Stop Micromanaging The Team

The worst thing any team leader or project manager can do to a professional team is micromanage it. Micromanagement destroys team morale and takes away the empowerment of individuals, stripping away any motivation from team members for any work to be done.

If you think your project isn’t progressing as you expected it to be, micromanaging the entire team will only make things even worse. In this case, the right move is to consider if your team lacks senior-level leadership and bring in someone more experienced.

When you have the right mix of senior developers and project managers, your team can easily be self-managed and bring success.

14. Use Visual Information To Get Your Point Across

Talking can get the point across. However, the human brain always prefers visual information and captures it faster. When you feel like you’re failing to explain yourself adequately, create a visual representation of the information you are trying to convey.

It can be a picture, an infographic, or a short video explaining your point, similar to a tutorial video. With a mix of visual and audible information, it’s easy to overcome language barriers and relay information more accurately.

15. Treat Your Offshore Team Like An In-House Team

You don’t have to bring the team on-site to treat them like an in-house team. Both you and your team members can be on the other side of the world and treat your team like an onshore team.

The first and most crucial step is to stop creating an “us vs. them” mentality. Treat them as part of your in-house team; they work remotely.

Always remember to include all team members, internal and external, in all sorts of communication so that the offshore team doesn’t feel left out.

When the team is included in all business operations and not just their assigned tasks, they feel more at home and feel compelled to work better.

To Wrap It All Up

Before we finish the discussion, here’s a short list of all 15 tips for effectively managing an offshore team:

  • Hire the team that suits you
  • Set clear goals that don’t make your budget overflow
  • Get the right communication tools
  • Overcommunicate every time
  • Boost your team with agile methodology
  • Debrief your new team right after onboarding
  • Create a work schedule with a time difference in mind
  • Simplify the communication process
  • Organize your workflow
  • Always keep the work queue full (with meaningful tasks)
  • Get the most out of each video conference
  • Stop micromanaging your team
  • Use visual information to get your point across
  • Treat your offshore team like an in-house team

Want to take advantage of all the benefits an excellent offshore outsourcing team can provide? Partner up with Impala Intech today!


What Measures Can I Take To Ensure the Long-Term Success of an Offshore Partnership?

Continuously assess and improve processes, maintain open lines of communication, and build a strong working relationship.

What Is the Role of Trust in Managing Offshore Teams?

Trust is fundamental; it fosters collaboration, transparency, and a sense of shared responsibility.

How Can I Stay Updated on the Progress of My Offshore Team Without Micromanaging?

Implement project tracking tools and hold regular status meetings to stay informed while empowering team members.

What Contingency Plans Should I Have for Unexpected Issues With My Offshore Team?

Prepare backup resources, establish escalation procedures, and have clear emergency management protocols.

How Can I Promote a Strong Work Ethic and Commitment in My Offshore Team?

Lead by example, set clear expectations, and recognize and reward dedication and outstanding performance.