Building the corporate culture
The biggest decision companies usually face upon adding an offshore team – how should it be integrated into the existing corporate structure?
- Should it be under the same umbrella or should it be considered an outside team?
- Will it affect the team performance and motivation?
- Should the existing HR be involved or should it be a local one?
Do not experiment with your time. Do not take chances that affect the final goal – being an effective business.
What works locally, never works remotely.
Knowing the overlap time
Accepting an offshore team means accepting all cultural differences.
In some countries, it is required to show up at work precisely in time while in another it is fine to be late 1-2 hours. What type is better for you? Do you think you should control the working hours? How do you think it should be done without breaking the trust and motivation?
There are also timezone differences, including periods of daylight saving.
Following the holidays
Every offshore team brings differences in local holidays – New Year celebrations in Russia, Catholic Christmas in Ukraine, Kurban Bayram in Tatarstan, Thanksgiving in the States and Canada (which are on different dates) and so on.
Skipping some of the holidays is acceptable but should be communicated well ahead of time and accepted with respect. Some holidays are optional while others are nationwide days off.
Ask for the list of holidays and plan your work accordingly.
We adopt agile management as the main operation style to communicate teams of different origin. It is applied in an iterative and incremental way while fitting engineering activities and products deliveries to the company style and culture.
There are no standard structures or typical schemas. Every and each model is different.
Making use of proper tools
Just to name a few:
- Communication: Skype, Slack, WhatsApp, Telegram, Hangouts
- Source control: GitHub, BitBucket, local repositories (Git, SVN)
- Documentation: Local Wikis, Google Docs, Office 365, Amazon Web Services, Dropbox
- Task management and planning: Trello, Jira, Wrike, Asana, Monday
New ones are created on daily basis.
Maintaining constant communication
In the office, one can always stop by and ask questions or grab a coffee and have a conversation in the meeting room.
What happens when your people work remotely?
How do you make sure they are at work and they are available for communication?
Be available for them and they will be available for you.
Establish a system of daily follow up calls and regular one-on-one conversations. Be available to answer a call whenever a team member requests it.
The proper hiring process is the key factor to your project success. In order to make the process right, all the local specifics have to be understood well.
While specifying that your technical interviews are very hard and complicated may attract developers in Israel, some European developers may consider you as being rude and skip for another employer.
While headhunting is the key component in bringing people on board, trust is the key one to keep them in. This is correct for an in-house team and the factor gets multiplied when talking about offshore.
- Be honest with your engineers
- Do not promise things you don’t mean, just in order to hit the next milestone
- Ask for more but provide more in exchange
- Be flexible but do not lose control
- Approach with small initiatives instead of waiting for big requests
- Appreciate the work publicly
- Expose team members to the rest of the company
- Let team members communicate directly – Russian developer writing directly to the Canadian product owner
- Bring your offshore team to the calls with clients – give them insights of the work they do
Trust brings self-sufficiency which brings time and money saving.
Setting code repositories
Should you be afraid of “foreigners stealing the code”?
Should you “divide and control” the repositories?
Should you avoid providing the master password to the offshore team?
Build the trusted connection and you shall not be worried.
Is it trusted yet? We will help you understand.
Establishing the payment process
Ask your team what is the preferred payment method, what is the latest acceptable payment date and how frequently would they want to receive the money.
- Upwork service delivers to any country but the invoice is generated by the site and not by the person. The payments are also delayed for security reasons and to make sure the client received the work.
- Payoneer delivers with no delays but there are no invoices either. It’s like putting money on the debit card.
- Bank transfer is great but does not leave tracks of an official salary.
Would you prefer rather having an official local representative to stand in the middle and pay the money to your people? That is an option too.
What is your management style?
- Do you drive by scaring people to be fired?
- Or would you rather pay extra money for special achievements?
- Do you cultivate excitement and proudness of working with a well-known company or, maybe, a very unique product?
- If no money drive extra motivation, would you consider supporting self-education? An English course or advanced level development in the relevant area is an option too.
You might be combining some or all of them.