Software

How to Efficiently Manage an Outsourced Software Development Team

A software engineering firm with years of software development outsourcing experience, Waverley Software shares the best remote team management practices they apply to keep the work efficient and customers satisfied.

However far from you your engineering team is located, whatever the difference in time zones, you can be successful if you build the right process from the start. In order to make sure your team is productive and right on track, you need to take certain measures to establish the right communication and build trust. First, you need to set up a seamless onboarding and people management process for your team members. Also, proper project management is crucial in successful project delivery. One more important element of the development outsourcing practice is security measures and intellectual property protection, ensured by the corresponding legal documents and cybersecurity mechanisms. Let’s take a look at each aspect of effective outsourced team management in more detail. 

Smooth Onboarding

Having conducted strict candidate selection with multiple interview rounds, business owners want to feel their remote development team as a natural extension of their in-house team straight away. Smooth onboarding and adequate further management help unite the efforts of both teams and ensure seamless integration.

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The effective project onboarding starts with clear lead-in explanations of the key tools used by the team for communication with each other and the client, task assignment, tracking, and reporting, project information storage, and other required instruments. Each team member must be aware of the legal and security peculiarities of the project and sign the corresponding documents regulating the questions of intellectual property and non-distribution of information. They also get familiar with the collaboration methods adopted by the project team, personal progress and development monitoring process, workplace issue reporting and management practices – everything they will have to deal with in future work. 

Careful People Management

As for the regular project and staff management, there are two basic cooperation models that outsourcing companies employ. You can either let them fully manage your project and the allocated human resources or keep the project management in-house while outsourcing the staff management. In both cases, the outsourcing vendor will be responsible for the people working in your team, their happiness and productivity. 

The main task of a people manager is to take care of your project’s health and prevent staff turnover by making sure each team member is efficient at work and satisfied with the working conditions and the atmosphere. Best staff management practices include setting up friendly communication within the team, regular out-of-work activities and team buildings. Care for continuous professional and personal development is one of the crucial elements for companies growing loyal and highly-valued team members. Supplying the staff with all the needed, up-to-date, and powerful equipment, as well as comfortable workspace, also boosts their efficiency. Respectable outsourcing companies take a humane and personal approach to each team member with regular and on-demand 1:1 meetings, attention to their needs and pain points, birthday greetings and celebrations of individual achievements.

Flawless Project Management

Customers get seamless experience working with the remote teams that have well-organised communication, aligned schedules, timely project meetings, independent but responsible team-members, and transparent reporting. But this doesn’t happen all by itself. Hence the role of a refined project management process. 

Top Project Managers have years of experience behind their back, PMI certifications, and are well-versed in modern Agile software development methodologies such as Scrum, Kanban, Extreme Programming, Adaptive Framework, as well as other methodologies – Waterfall, Rapid App Development, Critical Path Method etc. Fluency in various project management methodologies helps professional PMs to accommodate the software development workflow to the particular needs of a project. Working on the side of software development vendors, Project Managers are responsible for organizing a cohesive ongoing communication between the customer and the development team. To this end, technology provides a variety of tools for real-time interactive collaboration, visual and audio meetings, scheduling and workflow planning to be used by the entire team under the guidance of the PM. A Project Manager also keeps track of the project progress and budget, providing the customer with updates on behalf of the development team.

Closer Collaboration

In software development outsourcing, when clients and remote teams are located in different time zones, it is crucial to find plenty of overlapping time slots of business hours for the client and the team to discuss important updates and set up action items. To reduce huge time gaps, business owners often opt for nearshore software development vendors as opposed to the offshore ones. 

On-site visits is also an effective practice for improving business relationships, building trust, and establishing rapport between the customer and a remote development team. And this face-to-face communication works both ways. Developers from the outsourced team enjoy visiting the client’s in-house team to work more closely with their colleagues and spend some out-of-work time together, feeling as part of the mission. Business owners feel more confident about their software development vendors when they can come and meet their extended team members in person, explore their office facilities, and observe the working process first hand.

Security Measures

When dealing with the digital world, data security comes as important as financial and legal matters. To keep safe from the known security threats, the best way is to employ an IT administrator or an information security specialist either as a member of your in-house team or as a part of the remote team. Resorting to the services of a cyber security firm is also a good option. 

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Regardless of the party responsible for your data security, you should be aware of the main security points to be covered. First of all, people’s awareness matters a lot, so every team member must be knowledgeable of the key methods of phishing attacks, password security measures, data security protocols in place, and all the consequences of inappropriate use of confidential information and intellectual property. Secondly, a strong security perimeter is equally important for your home and remote offices. So make sure your network endpoints are protected with two-factor authentication and role-based access rights. Physical access can be limited with an alarm system, monitoring devices, admission control, and even fingerprint/face recognition devices. Finally, even provided you set up a very strong security perimeter, all sensitive data must be encrypted and limited for access.

Conclusion

To sum up, let’s outline the key ideas of managing a remote software development team effectively:

  • Create a smooth onboarding process to make sure your new team members learn the project details and get to work quickly.
  • Assign a people manager to maintain a positive atmosphere within the team and keep the team members happy. This prevents turnover and attracts professionals who value their work.
  • Take an experienced and skilled project manager to elaborate a product development workflow suitable for your particular project and support continuous communication with the team.
  • Keep the time zone in mind when arranging the meeting schedules. Enjoy the benefits of face-to face communication by inviting the remote team members to your home office and visiting them at their place from time to time. 
  • Check up on the data security measures employed by your remote team and make sure they meet the required security standards. 

If you feel like your outsourcing development team lacks efficiency, create a checklist based on tips from this article and find out what you haven’t tried yet. Maybe some of this advice will help you. If you are still looking for a software development partner like Waverley Software, take these points as criteria of an effective collaboration model.