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Solutions To Overcome Top Challenges While Working With Offshore Development Teams

Zobaria Asma

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In the current landscape, an increasing number of worldwide businesses are embracing outsourcing. They recognize its potential for boosting growth, enhancing productivity, and cutting costs through offshore teams.

Yet, alongside the benefits come challenges working with offshore development team.

Working with and managing a distributed team leads to offshore team challenges. In order to ensure a timely, and upto par quality delivery, it’s crucial for the managers to pay close attention to and resolve the offshore development team problems in a timely manner.

At CodeNinja, we have been successfully managing offshore remote teams through years of experience.

In this blog, we listed key challenges working with offshore team. Based on our experiences, we’ve shared the strategies to effectively manage these problems.

10 - Key Challenges Working With Offshore Teams

There are 10 common mistakes to avoid while working with offshore teams. These offshore team problems are following:

challenges working with offshore team
Key Challenges Working With Offshore Teams

Unclear Goals And Unrealistic Expectations

It’s important to have a clear vision, precise goals, and realistic expectations. Effective communication of these elements is equally critical. 

Often, the company struggles to communicate these in a concise manner. This leads to misunderstandings on the software development team’s end. This adds to the challenges of working with offshore developers.

If offshore team members interpret requirements differently from the onshore team, it can lead to misaligned efforts, rework, and project delays. 

These disparities can stem from language barriers, different work cultures, and variations in the understanding of project goals.

Solution

In order to avoid these challenges working with offshore development team, ensure that you communicate the following in a realistic manner:

  • What is it that you are looking for? (end-user requirements and the product’s functionality)
  • What is your budget?
  • What are your deadlines?

     

Pro Tip: Use a software requirement specifications (SRS) document to list down all your requirements.

  • Document All Communication
    Put all instructions in writing for your offshore team’s reference. This prevents vital information from getting lost in translation during product development.
  • Confirm Understanding

Ask your offshore team leader to repeat the instructions. Even if they seem to agree during video conferences, this step clarifies any uncertainties.

  • Regular Alignment

Coordinate consistent alignment sessions between onshore and offshore teams. This not only strengthens collaboration but also ensures shared goals.

Using this approach helps provide a roadmap for the project. It gives a clear picture to the software development team as to what is expected of them. 

The software development teams can better fulfill the requirements and expectations. Along with that, you’re in a better position to quantify and monitor the progress.

Communication Challenges

Communication challenges are common, whether managing a team onshore or offshore. Below are the most common offshore software development team problems that stem from a lack of communication.

According to insights from a Clockify publication, language barriers contributed to significant miscommunication challenges.

These challenges affected 65% of companies in terms of interactions between managers, executives, and other staff members.

This issue resulted in reported inefficiencies for 67% of the companies, while 40% experienced difficult collaboration due to miscommunication.

Geographical Separation and Time Zone Differences:

Offshore teams often operate in different time zones, creating windows of overlap that require careful synchronization.

These gaps can lead to delayed responses, extended project timelines, and hindered decision-making. 

The asynchronous nature of communication can hamper the real-time exchange of ideas and updates.

Solution

  • Time Zone Management: Use time zone conversion tools that display team members’ local times, helping everyone identify overlapping working hours for efficient communication.
  • Distributed Work Hours: Encourage flexible work hours to accommodate overlapping time zones, allowing team members to collaborate in real-time.
  • Shared Calendars: Utilize shared calendars to schedule meetings and collaboration sessions during time zones that suit all team members.

Cultural and Linguistic Diversity:

Diverse cultural backgrounds within an offshore team can give rise to misunderstandings. 

Nuances in language, communication styles, and interpretation can lead to misinterpretations of requirements. This results in code that doesn’t align with the intended functionality. Bridging this gap becomes crucial in order to resolve challenges working with offshore software development team.

Solution

  • Glossary of Terms: Create a shared glossary of terms specific to the project, ensuring that everyone has a consistent understanding of key concepts.
  • Clear Documentation: Emphasize the importance of detailed and precise documentation, which minimizes the risk of misinterpretations.
  • Feedback Loop: Establish a feedback loop where team members can ask questions and seek clarifications without hesitation.

Information Loss and Fragmentation:

The distance between teams can contribute to information loss or fragmentation. 

Critical details might not be communicated effectively, causing confusion and inaccuracies during development. This can result in deliverables that deviate from the envisioned outcome.

Solution

  • Centralized Repository: Create and utilize a centralized documentation repository that stores all project-related information, making it easily accessible to everyone.
  • Regular Updates: Develop a practice of frequent updates through project management tools, ensuring everyone remains informed about progress and changes.
  • Clear Communication Channels: Define primary communication channels for different types of information to avoid scattering details across various platforms.

Lack of Informal Interaction:

Casual interactions, often overlooked, play a pivotal role in fostering rapport and understanding within teams. 

In an offshore setting, the absence of impromptu discussions around the coffee machine or spontaneous brainstorming sessions can hinder the exchange of creative ideas and solutions.

Solution

  • Virtual Coffee Rooms: Set up virtual spaces, like chat rooms or dedicated channels, where team members can engage in casual conversations and share non-project-related insights.
  • Scheduled Informal Sessions: Organize periodic informal video calls or chats to encourage spontaneous discussions and brainstorming, mimicking the in-person experience.
  • Collaboration Tools: Utilize virtual collaboration tools for daily, weekly, or monthly catch-up sessions.

Whether through Zoom, or brief daily “huddles,” maintaining contact with your team is pivotal for offshore team success.

Missed Deadlines

Missed deadlines is another common offshore software development team challenges.

If the offshore team is unable to meet the deadlines, it may be due to multiple reasons. 

The team may be new to the project and therefore feeling overwhelmed. Another reason could be that they’ve got too many requirements to meet in a short period of time. 

Either way, miscommunicating expectations and/or deadlines are also a major contributing factor. 

Solution

  • Avoid Overwhelming Demands:
    Balancing high expectations with undue pressure can lead to subpar quality. Excessive pressure can heighten stress, eroding productivity. Organizations must assess task difficulty, attainability, energy investment, and employee confidence, streamlining scope to essential elements.
  • Inclusive Estimations:
    Involve all team members in scheduling discussions. By gathering insights and feedback, organizations can enhance work environments, empower employees to set realistic expectations and generate more precise deadlines.
  • Adjustment Period for New Teams:
    Allocate ample time for new teams to acclimate, often requiring 2 to 3 months.
    Particularly amid evolving work cultures due to the pandemic, addressing concerns and facilitating smooth transitions through effective communication aids adjustment.
  • Embrace Risk Management:
    Prioritize risk management by identifying and assessing potential risks tied to operations and decisions.
    Develop contingency strategies to counter unforeseen issues that could stall projects.

Pro Tip: Pay special attention to third-party risks, exploring avenues like Service Level Agreement reviews for solutions.

Rising Turnover Rates

The National Association of Software and Services Companies reported that overseas vendors face a high turnover rate of up to 40%. 

Low retention rates hamper productivity and the quality of outcomes. 

It’s an alarming situation and a cause for concern for companies that are looking for offshore outsourcing options. 

Solution

Managing turnover rates is one of the trickiest offshore teams problems to tackle. It is an ongoing endeavor requiring consistent adaptation and dedication to building a robust workforce.

  • Competitive Compensation and Benefits:
    Offer competitive salaries, developmental prospects, and enticing benefits.
    A Glassdoor report reveals that 57% of survey participants consider salary and benefits as the primary influencers in their decision to accept a job offer or not.
    Adapting to employee preferences and needs, such as flexible hours and remote options, helps retain valuable staff.
  • Efforts to Keep the Workforce Satisfied:
    Effective onboarding, mentorship, regular performance reviews, work-life balance, professional development, team-building, and transparent communication contribute to a stable and satisfied workforce.
  • Cultivate Core Values: Nurture a lasting sense of belonging and purpose by emphasizing growth and diversity, and fostering an environment of mutual support and encouragement within the team.

Remote Team Feels Isolated

Engaging offshore teams can result in detachment from the company’s core brand and vision due to limited exposure to internal processes and events. 

Human interaction often holds significance for them, particularly with their onshore counterparts.

Dependence solely on text chats for task communication can lead to confusion and misinterpretation. This increases miscommunication risks and muddles project objectives.

In extreme cases, remote workers might struggle not only with project specifics but also with grasping the company’s overarching vision and brand. Such disconnection could result in burnout and demotivation for output creation.

Solution

  • Create an Inclusive Environment:
    To foster inclusivity, avoid an “us vs. them” mentality.
    An inclusive environment celebrates diversity, enhancing a sense of belonging.
    Regular inclusion in meetings and open communication nurture genuine relationships, preventing isolation.
  • Share the Vision
    Enlighten remote teams about the company’s vision from the start.
    A well-communicated vision empowers smart decision-making, innovation, and goal alignment.
    Workers who understand the vision contribute effectively to long-term objectives, enhancing morale and confidence.
  • Embrace Video Conferencing
    While onsite visits might not be feasible, video conferencing bridges gaps.

It enhances emotional connection, strengthens relationships, and fosters healthier work dynamics.

Pro Tip: Use tools like Zoom, Webex, and Google Meets, to promote open communication and minimize detachment.

Poor Quality Outputs

Notably, offshore team outputs may not always align perfectly with company expectations due to factors like remote team adjustments and frequent internal changes.

The absence of established standards or communicated guidelines can lead to diverse task executions, hampering output quality and brand consistency.

Solution

  • Set Achievable Standards:
    Document all communications in writing to create a concrete project foundation.
    Establish a technical template accessible to all, ensuring efficient communication and preventing information loss. This sets clear expectations and promotes consistent adherence.
  • Implement Ongoing Learning:
    Incorporate a quality assurance role or feedback mechanism to enhance output quality. If costly, create a scheduled feedback system. 

Pro Tip: Enabling continuous learning about projects empowers the team to deliver refined results.

Progress And Performance Tracking

Monitoring the progress of offshore remote teams is among the most common offshore team challenges. That is the case due to geographical separation and distinct work environments. 

Communication hurdles and time zone differences can hinder real-time updates. 

Additionally, assessing their work requires navigating varying cultural norms and understanding, impacting the accuracy of progress evaluation. 

Maintaining effective oversight becomes crucial to ensure that the goals are being achieved and project outcomes are being delivered on time. 

Solution

  • Strategize Communication:
    Clear communication is pivotal, especially with a distributed offshore team. Establish well-documented communication processes and agreements.
    A shared strategy encompassing meeting schedules and communication channels facilitates accessibility and connectivity within the team.

Pro Tip: Adapt to electronic communication through voice or video calls, considering cultural nuances for effective interaction.

  • Leverage Appropriate Tools:
    Explore the array of communication tools available, including video calls, instant messaging, real-time document sharing, and synchronized calendars.

    Pro Tip: For tracking and reporting, consider tools like Jira, Trello and Basecamp. These tools promote streamlined project management.

Why Choose CodeNinja Offshore Software Development Projects?

CodeNinja stands out with a complete offshore software development solution – from conceptualization to delivery and continuous support.

Our team remains at your service 24/7 throughout the entire software lifecycle, including design, integration, and management.

Moreover, conventional software development lags behind in speed and efficiency. At Code Ninja, our expert team crafts potent applications, saving time and costs through reusable components for swift development and heightened flexibility. 

We achieve 3x efficiency by rejecting the outdated ‘broken’ conventional process. 

We’ve transitioned into a robust ‘low-code’ software development approach, sidestepping sluggish, exhaustive start-from-scratch methods. 

CodeNinja’s Outsourcing Models:

  • Software Outsourcing: CodeNinja pioneers efficient software outsourcing, aligning your goals with skilled global resources for seamless, impactful development.
  • Dedicated Development Team: Experience the power of a dedicated team from CodeNinja, where expertise meets commitment, driving long-term success for your projects.
  • Staff Augmentation: Elevate your projects with CodeNinja’s flexible staff augmentation, adding specialized talent whenever needed to amplify your capabilities.

Embrace our agile prowess for accelerated, impactful software solutions.

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Conclusion

Around the globe, businesses and IT companies are embracing the potential of remote offshore teams. Yet, mastering effective management is crucial for optimal results with your remote developers.

If you’re facing challenges working with offshore team, looking for a reliable partner that can resolve all the offshore developers problems – your search ends here.

At CodeNinja, you have the option to hire offshore developers or enhance your existing team with skilled  professionals from various countries.

CodeNinja stands at the forefront of outsourcing remote developers across diverse technologies and domains. 

Begin scripting your company’s success story today by onboarding word-class remote developers.

Zobaria Asma

Technical Content Writer

Zobaria is a Technical Content Writer at CodeNinja – scaling businesses in the SaaS, Quick Commerce, Food-tech, Data Analytics, Healthcare, Ed-Tech sectors through SEO & Content Marketing.  For the last 5+ years, she’s been working with both local and international marketing agencies.

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