The digitization of our lives is increasing every year. Remote work is not new, but it became viral due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Something that was available only for a small group of freelancers and entrepreneurs is now a standard at many companies. Also, it’s a benefit that employees are actively looking for.
Outsourcing also wasn’t created yesterday. With offshore software development, many companies have to work with teams that are located in different time zones. The conclusion is simple. Even though some enterprises want to make people come back to the offices for good, their low success rate proves that remote collaboration is not going anywhere.
After years of working face-to-face with most of our stakeholders, we adapt to the new reality. However, there are many challenges that can still occur when working with remote teams. This article is dedicated to raising productivity, removing obstacles, and building a friendly, efficient work environment when outsourcing software development to an IT company. Let’s jump right in.
Effective collaboration = success
First, we should establish a few facts. In many areas of business, the level of effectiveness corresponds with the quality of the final result. It’s definitely the case for software projects. A remote team has to know what is expected and how they should deliver their work to plan the production process and execute it within an estimated timeline. That’s why all involved sides should prepare several things before the cooperation even begins. Discussing the rules of communication, required resources, and all the details of the future system are necessary to create a framework for remote partnership between a client and a software agency.
By following the best practices we mention below, you and your outsourced team will work effectively towards a common goal, which will lead to a positive project outcome. There are several benefits of such an aware and proactive approach. The morale of your team will increase, which will influence their engagement. You will always feel in control, but you won’t have to micromanage every task. In case you want to introduce any changes, you will know exactly how and when to talk about them. An effectively managed remote cooperation is also crucial to staying within the predicted budget and meeting deadlines. If you don’t know how to achieve all that – don’t worry. Here are our recommendations.
5 tips to succeed in a collaboration with a remote software development team
We will always underline one thing – these tips are not only for clients. First and foremost, to effectively collaborate with an outsourced remote team, both sides need to work together. Every involved party should be open to discussion, ask questions, follow the previously agreed-upon rules, and put effort into achieving the project goals. Then, they can create an extraordinary software product without major hiccups. Here’s our advice that will help you find out if the direction is right and if everything is in place.
1. Establish clear communication guidelines
That’s probably the most essential thing to do during the initial phase of cooperation with a software company. The first step is to pick the right channels and tools. Most IT partners use Slack, Google Meet, or Zoom for calls and day-to-day messaging. You can always negotiate if you prefer something else. Email can be another great way to do regular check-ins and receive the most important updates. Google Drive, Dropbox, or other cloud-based storage space is ideal for file exchange.
When you know what you will be using to talk, it’s time to decide when you will talk and what about. Setting up team meetings at consistent intervals is a must for any software collaboration. Some clients prefer short daily calls, others opt for weekly meetings, but being constantly in touch is necessary. Every session should have a clearly defined agenda, so they are productive and deliver outcomes for the next stages of work.
At G-Group.dev, we always encourage our programmers to be open and honest in communication with clients and each other. We believe that it’s the main factor in efficient collaboration with a remote software development team, as well as in producing spectacular deliverables. During the first few meetings with potential partners, we also ask them to always speak their minds. It can help eliminate potential misunderstandings and let us understand their business, objectives, and end customers better.
2. Define roles and responsibilities
Next, you and your partnering firm should ensure that each team member knows their specific role and what tasks they need to take care of within the project. Without this step, there might be a lot of delays and confusion. Everyone should always have something to do, which means that team composition has to be thought through. To avoid downtimes, a detailed plan is required. It’s composed during workshops or within the first few meetings with the client and adjusted accordingly during the course of the project.
We are aware that every collaboration has to face challenges, difficulties, and dilemmas. It’s almost impossible to escape them, but there’s definitely a way to resolve them smoothly. Providing clear guidelines for decision-making and problem-solving when the project starts is a must to know what to do when something unexpected occurs. It’s all about predicting potential risks and being prepared for them.
3. Set achievable goals and deadlines
Speaking of workflow strategizing, a professional IT company will invest a lot of time into creating a manageable action plan. You should be with them during that process because you know exactly what the final result should offer. Each large goal can be divided into smaller tasks that will be reviewed during regular team meetings. Such an approach allows you as the product owner to quickly see the first results and deliverables. Also, it’s the best way to be in control of the process and detect potential issues early.
Remember that even if your time-to-market is short and your primary goal is to showcase your brand’s software solution to the public, task deadlines need to be realistic. Coding, testing, design – all these activities require time to produce great results. Most things that are done in a hurry usually present low quality. What’s also crucial is to regularly review the established goals and deadlines. Adjusting accordingly to the current project situation will raise productivity and showcase areas that require attention.
4. Utilize project management tools
Third-party apps and platforms were created to make our personal and professional lives easier. Using them in remote software projects is one of the best practices that will always be proposed by a professional IT company. The most popular ones are Asana, Trello, and Jira. They are perfect for assigning tasks, planning the next iterations, and tracking progress. Usually, your partner has a proven system used for communication, project management, and other tasks. They will invite you to participate in it, so you can be an active part of the project.
Thanks to the regular meetings we’ve mentioned above, all involved parties can perform status updates to keep everyone informed about what’s going on in the project. Data collected in tools is perfect to do that. It provides a visual representation of the workflow and can be easily edited when plans change. When you look through the tasks, boards, and other features of a chosen app, you will feel in control and have a sense of being a part of the team. You will also be able to assess how productive is your outsourced team and what challenges they face.
5. Be involved in the production process
We’ve mentioned already that your insight is priceless for the software development company. You are the one that knows your business, industry, and customers best. IT partner can suggest the best approach to achieve your goals. Nevertheless, your ideas and requests are crucial to kickstarting your collaboration with a remote software development team and the production process itself. Be present and in touch with your remote team. That doesn’t mean you need to talk to them for hours every day. Attend meetings, answer their messages, and be up-to-date with the process to stay on the right course.
Being the product owner in a software development project is all about balancing control with trust. You want to know what’s going on, but you also need to let the team do their work. If you decided to outsource your IT needs, that means you found a partner that you believe in. They know what to do to deliver a product that will look and work as you desire. All they need is your guidance in terms of specific requirements your company might have.
Final thoughts – finding a well-prepared remote partner
There’s a whole article on our blog dedicated to picking the right software agency that will meet your needs and expectations. Here’s an addition to it. Check if the remote team you want to work with meets the points mentioned in this article. We know that outsourcing can be tricky. Many brands had a bad experience because they hired a partner that had communication issues. In some cases, they couldn’t really get involved in the process either. To avoid that, you need to research the company thoroughly and not be afraid to ask questions. You want to know every detail about your future collaboration. Nothing should be hidden.
Read the full article on choosing an IT provider. It will help you find out what steps to take and what you should discuss when first contacting them. You can even prepare a list of questions based on this article and your individual needs. This way, you will pick the right partner and have a successful collaboration with a remote software development team.
We’ve written this article based on our experience within the field of software outsourcing. For more than 15 years we’ve been working with globally located clients. We know how to design a collaboration workflow to be efficient and satisfying for all sides. If you’re looking for a software company that will fulfill all of your needs, you can rely on G-Group.dev. Give us a shoutout, and we will get back to you to discuss your project idea. Let us take care of your business. We will help you elevate it to become the next top company within your niche.