How to Effectively Communicate with the Offshore Development Team for Best Results

How to Effectively Communicate with the Offshore Development Team for Best Results

If you’re wondering what offshore software development is, in simple terms, it means outsourcing IT-related tasks to a third party be it an agency or an individual developer. The offshore part of it simply entails that the said service provider is physically located in a different country or even on a different continent.

You can find out more about the most popular offshore development destinations and their peculiarities and also read about developers salaries in our guide to software developers’ rates and check outsourcing hourly rates in different countries. Chances are, you’ll find your development team in Eastern Europe.

Qubit-Labs are here to offer your business some top-notch Ukrainian developers.

Typically, if you’re looking to outsource a big project, hire a long-term team or simply plan to come back with other projects in the future, it is advisable to hire a full-scale software development agency rather than a separate freelancer or a team of individual developers.

There is a wide range of tech tasks that can be outsourced. Mobile app development, web development, UI/UX design etc., and if the project is complex, you’ll need a team of different professionals (ex: designer, QA engineer, and mobile developer) who are used to working together and can deliver the whole project from A to Z.

Let’s suppose you’ve hired your team of developers and delegated your project to them. One of the most important matters to pay attention to is communication. Being able to properly get your goals and wants across to your team and to keep a healthy, clear and to-the-point communication is the key to the future success of your project, as well as the key to avoiding redundant spendings.

There is an abyss of tools, apps and programs created in the past two decades that have significantly eased team communication, business planning and team management. We’d like to pay special attention to some of them and make the interaction with your offshore developers more efficient and pleasant.

Telegram Chat

Millions across the world have trusted Telegram with their communication, both business and personal. There are several reasons why people are choosing this messaging app over its prominent competition like WhatsApp, for example. Here they are:

  • Cloud technology

Telegram is cloud-based: this entails that one can enter and view chats from several devices simultaneously thanks to instant sync.

  • SIM card independent

Telegram accounts aren’t tied to SIM cards, hence, one can use the app without a smartphone. If you want the communication to be strictly professional, your team need not have the app on their phones and can communicate with you solely from their working computers. At the same time, this is flexible in a completely opposite direction.

  • Multiple accounts

Apart from being multi-device, Telegram is multi-account: you can manage multiple accounts simultaneously through the app while having multiple different chats, too. There can be a formal communication channel for you and your team, akin to email, just faster; and then there can be an informal chat.

  • Newsletter mode

”It allows sending unidirectional messages where the administrator alone can share content. This can be useful for a “Task Chat” or any updatable information on your side.

  • Storage

You can share nearly any file format through Telegram, while the maximum size of that file can be 1.5 GB. Having developers working on a big project will require a ton of file exchange and some of them can get pretty heavy.

  • Bots

You can create chatbots within your chats to handle some of the coordination matters such as vacation days, calculations, automatic replies and templates.

  • Security & encryption

Every business values security and confidentiality – ideas are the most valuable asset today. Telegram has always paid special attention to encryption and security, to the extent of offering a $300,000 reward for anyone able to hack into their system at some point.

Slack

Slack has been a favourite communication tool for tiny companies and huge corporations alike. This revolutionary app came to help us with email overflow and centralization of our work conversations. It also makes project management easier – it is said to “reduce the number of useless meetings by 25,1%”. It compartmentalizes communication and will serve you well in interaction with your offshore developers.

  • Multi-platform

Slack is available on all devices — computers, smartphones, tablets – and is instantly synchronized across them. Working with an offshore team, you don’t want to waste time on synchronization issues.

  • UX & UI

The tool has a very intuitive and user-friendly interface that is customizable. All files and chats are synced, archived and searchable, while the built-in Slack-bot tool helps you navigate and never lets you forget stuff – a very important function for doing business that wants to keep track of things.

  • Multiple subscription options

It comes in a “freemium” version but offers 3 paid subscription options, too. Each of those come with different features, so you can decide what level of functionality is suitable for you without overpaying (if paying at all).

  • Topics

Communication through Slack is much more organized as each channel has one specific topic, while the topics can be endless. Different members of the team could be included in different discussions to optimize everyone’s productivity and time.

  • Cross-tool integration

Slack integrated other tools such as Skype, Hangouts, Google Docs set, Twitter and more. The deeper you dig into Slack, the more powerful it becomes.

Trello

This one’s here to help manage the process for you and your offshore developer team. Trello will help you distribute tasks, set deadlines and control the outcomes. The Trello team seems to also constantly come up with new power-ups and tweaks in processes to make the use of the tool smoother and more effective.

Some web developers warn that at times Trello can turn into an untamed beast if the workflow isn’t properly set up from the start, but once you and your development team dedicate effort and attention to set-up, things will run smoothly and efficiently.

  • Detailed organization

You can organize your projects on the board, categorize, assign them, and follow their completion through every stage. You and your team can use all sorts of labels, custom fields and question forms to track down every little project.

  • Keeping up with Consistency

Setting up a consistent meeting schedule is a good policy to have. Trello’s meeting structure helps every member of the team feel valuable and able to add value to every discussion. The meeting management tool here is rather advanced and extremely customizable, making it very effective.

  • In-team updates

Trello lets the whole team to be updated on what’s everyone is doing individually through Team Hub which in turn, eases communication and quality control.

  • Team Building

The tool also has functionality for remote team bonding activities. There’s a space to share postcards from trips, create lists with shareable resources for the team or simply exchange information about themselves. It is important to remember that remote teams sometimes need team-building activities even more than an in-house team.

Clockify

Clockify is a time management tool you could introduce to your offshore team to escape complicated tracking, reporting and billing operations by combining them into one app. It’s completely free and unlimited in the amount of users. If needed, it can help you keep track of your team’s timesheets and billable hours if there’s an hourly rate in place, project completion, reports, schedules and more. It will also generate weekly, monthly & annual reports for your team.

  • Clean and easy

Clockify has a clean, accessible, and easy to use UI that will save you time and probably some frustrations.

  • No spending

It’s Free to use whether you’re an individual or a huge corporation.

  • Multitasking

It allows you to organize work by projects and clients, so if your company is hiring several teams of developers to work on different projects, you can easily manage them, assign tasks and track multiple processes at the same time.

 

Google Meets, Zoom & other video conference tools

Your team of developers might be on a different continent, but it doesn’t mean you can’t see them, get to know them and talk to them in real time. On the contrary, it’s essential that you and your hired offshore team get together and discuss the project.

While Google Meet is a business upgrade for Hangouts, Zoom is a titan on its own. Both, however, are video conference tools of choice for many a business big and small. There are other famous tools in the category, but most of them serve the same purpose and possess more or less similar functionality, so we’ll focus on these two for now.

  • Reach your offshore team anywhere

Both tools allow screen sharing, recording options and a very useful perk at times: the ability to dial into a video conference by phone, so you can reach your team in case of an emergency or if the internet connection is failing you.

  • Click’n’join

Both apps made joining a meeting as easy as clicking a link provided by the meeting host or inputting a meeting ID.

  • G Suite family

One of the biggest advantages of Meet is the additional programs that come with it. If you’re already using G Suite, you and your team will have integrated access to many other Google tools while conference calling each other.

  • Price variety

Both tools have a free option, so you might be completely content with the basic functionality for your virtual meetings. If the free version isn’t enough, both Meet and Zoom have paid plans you can choose from. In this case, Meet wins over Zoom with its paid plans starting at $6 per host, while the cheapest Zoom plan is $14.99.

  • Connectivity

One thing Zoom has a leg up on Meet in is bandwidth adaptability. Testing shows that Zoom works ok even with low bandwidth, while Google Meet requires a slightly more stable connection.

  • Cross-tool integration

While Meet can be very useful for those using G Suite, Zoom can be integrated with other tools such as Slack and PayPal.

Google Docs & Drive

When you’re working on a project with a team that’s not physically close to one another, there is a lot of file sharing and pinballing ideas back and forth. G Suite and particularly, the Google Docs part of it has revolutionized document sharing and co-editing making it the simplest thing.

Using Google Sheets, Docs, Slides and Google Drive has definitely brought an end to unmatching versions of the same documents, failed file attachments and constant worries about whether this or that doc is outdated and which version is the latest.

  • File share

With Google Docs and Drive, you can have simultaneous access to the same set of files and share word documents, spreadsheets, presentations and conduct surveys with your development team.

  • Free basics and frugal plans

It’s completely free to use and comes with a decent amount of storage. If that amount isn’t enough for the project, you can always upgrade the storage plan for quite a small price.

  • Real time sync

Business requires clarity and time wasted on any redundant communication, like figuring out something very technical is money wasted. In g Suite all the documents and files are updated in real time, so no one will ever have to wonder if their changes have been saved and if the version they’re opening is the latest.

Your team might be 6 or 10 time zones away from you and some developers might like to stick to the usual 9-to-5, while others are at their most productive at 3 am. With Google docs, this won’t have to be a problem because everything will be synced in real time.

  • Cross-tool friendly

As mentioned in other tools’ descriptions, G Suite is usually quite friendly for other apps and tools. Even if you can’t integrate it, it will still be easy to send files, add comments and do quick edits.

Communication culture and expanding your team’s conversational capacity are key factors in your project’s future success, so it’s essential that you and your offshore software development team take advantage of any tool, tactic or hack to establish a clear, friendly and professional communication structure.

The easiest way to secure this is by hiring an agency that has experience in working with offshore developers. When you hire a software development company like Qubit-Labs you can rest assured that the experts here will assemble the best offshore team of Ukrainian developers for your project, will help you communicate with your offshore development team, solve issues during the working process and employ all the tools necessary to establish a communication environment set up for success.

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Svitlana Rumyantseva
Project Manager
Svitlana is a PM with legal education and PhD degree in political science. She has experience in managing in-house and offshore/nearshore software development teams including freelancers. She is sure that smooth communication and motivation is the basis of efficient teamwork and successful projects. Svitlana is passionate about networking, achieving great results and acquiring new knowledge.