An offshore team is always a challenge to coordinate with, may be in terms of communication or culture of work followed. Conducting an offshore software development or testing has become a common phenomenon these days due to factors like talent acquisition, meeting deadlines and henceforth developing a global software team of professionals working towards pursuit of a common goal. No matter how big the size of a company is – small, medium or large, they can have a distributed work environment.
Some issues do arise while managing an offshore team when communication isn’t well organised between local and offshore teams. The reason for such miscommunication could be –
- The degree of commitment each team is willing to offer
- The level of knowledge people in both teams have in terms of usage of a tool or knowing a programming language
- The degree of transparency shared among people of both teams
What is offshore management? Offshore team management is prevalent among quality analysts. There had been numerous instances where outsourced projects have failed due to communication gaps that eventually resulted in inability to meet project deadlines. Handling an offshore management team needs a manager’s insight into how to align communication between local and offshore team’s across time zones, languages along with the need to organise a face to face interaction.
Regarding offshore management there are few things that form an important part of consideration, as follows:
- Ensure unity of both teams: It is important for the management to ensure that the local and offshore teams work in sync adhering to the norms of the organisation’s work culture.
- Transparency: Making a collaborative effort towards achieving a common objective demands the team to keep the work process a transparent one. A good manager is someone who takes initiative to analyse the work that is going on, is a well-coordinated one and ensure that everyone is working on the project with one aim, working on the same methodology.
Maintaining uniformity is of paramount interest as that helps to ensure no discrepancy is arising from differences in approach or techniques followed in order to acquire the goals.
- Dedicated Management: In some cases, a project manager is seen heading several projects which could sometimes lead to complexities and delay in deadlines. Therefore while working on an offshore software project, one needs to have a dedicated project manager who is devoted to the project. Some of the desirable characteristics of a good manager are –
- Using right software tools, such as JIRA to report bugs or issues. JIRA enables us to add comments, questions and feedbacks which could be a very useful thing for the person at the receiving end.
- Audio visual medium of communication are great aid in mitigating chances of errors
- It is important to lay down a basic set of rules or parameters that help to assess the ongoing tasks
- Develop a sense of belongingness: Despite of distance factors the team should feel connected because that will eventually infuse a sense of trust and companionship between the external and local people. The teams must also shift their work to a different location on for a specific duration, say few weeks, so that they feel a sense of belongingness to the work culture and what exactly is the scenario going on at the location.
- Manging work on a single platform: Having a central repository for all work details is the best solution for a seamless work environment. Resorting to a central platform requires-
- Accessibility to all the members associated with the project
- The team must follow a single technology or method to ensure uniformity
- Every engineer should be well informed about the proceedings within the project, hence information should be well organised
- Enhance troubleshooting skills: An efficient Quality engineer is the one who is an adept at troubleshooting errors quickly and independently. Well drafting the bugs or issues could delay work for some reason which would affect the overall productivity of the team.
- Review and audit process: Frequent review and analysis of quality analyst’s activities could prove to be a fruitful one as that would enable identifying loopholes, planning future endeavours and assessing whether the goals have been delivered on time. A quantitative approach could prove to provide a valuable insight into a project’s progress, success and obstacles.
An offshore management for software testing has emerged as a successful story for many software companies for reaching heights of glory. Businesses are gaining a lot from such ventures as companies are able to reach a wider segment of audience and gaining several organisational benefits as a result of such associations.