How to Streamline Communication Processes With an Outsourcing Software Development Contractor
As every manager or HR officer will tell you, team management is a challenging endeavor that often presents countless challenges. It is even more difficult to coordinate offshore teams where even the slightest breakdown in communication can jeopardize an entire project. Speaking of communication, we will touch on the ways you can streamline communication processes with an offshore software development contractor in order to reap maximum benefits from a project.
1. Organize a Face-to-Face Meeting to Kick Things Off
Working with a remote development team may be a great option financially speaking, but sometimes, communication and language barriers may result in expensive errors or conflicts. As such, it is important to organize a physical meeting with the contractor, or their representative, where you can discuss in detail the terms of the contract and clarify any misunderstandings.
Keep in mind that people from different parts of the world have distinct personalities and need different forms of guidance and communication. For instance, a developer from South Asia may be a little bit timid to the extent of doing everything you ask, even if it’s wrong. This is different from say, someone from the USA or Eastern Europe who may be more confident in their assessments and discussions.
Having a face-to-face meeting gives you a clue into the personality of your contractor and further allows you to probe and ask questions on areas you find ambiguous. Additionally, physical meetings strengthen the bond between you and the contractor and aids in developing mutual trust.
2. Hold Regular Progress Talks
Software projects are often costly affairs, and you probably don’t want to wait until the handing over to check for and correct mistakes. For that reason, include a clause in your contract to the effect that the contractor gives you weekly updates on tasks completed and project progress. That will not only enable you to control time and costs overruns, but will also allow you to make a positive contribution and ask for changes early enough.
While regular talks are a good thing, you need to be careful not to come off as overbearing or as micromanaging the contractor. We recommend establishing mutually agreed “conversation sessions” and sticking to them. It is convenient for both sides to communicate mainly inside the agreed days, except for emergent cases or when the communication is extra urgent. That way, the developers will have the time to concentrate on the prioritized tasks and you will be able to focus on the in-house business processes.
Above all, create an environment where your contractors feel free to discuss with you everything regarding a project and where you can also ask all sorts of questions. As mentioned earlier, remote software projects are very much dependent on effective communication between stakeholders.
3. Occasionally Invite Them to Teambuilding Events
Teambuilding events are highly regarded in the corporate world as essential towards building strong interpersonal bonds amongst colleagues and between management and staff. In software engineering, some projects can continue more than a year and may involve more than one company.
In such cases, it’s advisable to organize teambuilding events where all the staff involved can meet, play games and generally interact with each other outside the stressful work environment. The staff will subsequently be more unified and will communicate better after such interactions and the winner can only be you and your project. Teambuilding participants will also learn about each other’s strengths, weaknesses and fears and they will thus have better communication and effectively get along with their tasks.
On your part, hanging out with your contracted staff is a great way to assess their personalities as well as their strong and week sides, and further build a lasting rapport with them. Understandably, it is annoying to plan such events when your partners are in different continents, but it’s absolutely worth it.
In the current business world, you can’t realistically function without outsourcing services or products. This is especially so for intensive software development processes where it’s difficult to find decent experts in-house or even locally. Then, hiring an outsourcing software development company can be a solution. The key is to set up a working relationship based on mutual trust, honesty and integrity.