How to effectively Communicate with Your Offshore Development Team

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Communicating with remote teams is a challenge because there are several factors that disrupt the flow of ideas between two parties. Communication is disrupted for several reasons: limitations in communication technology, cultural misunderstanding, and time zone differences.

Conveying ideas becomes a challenge when you have to deal with technical barriers, cultural barriers and different working hours. To resolve communication problems, software companies need to adopt a fast, and efficient communication model, structuring meetings to ensure important information is conveyed effectively and efficiently. The best option is to have a stand-up meeting.

What is a Stand-up Meeting?

A stand-up meeting is when a team has a business meeting where all team members and the team leader must stay standing throughout the meeting. The purpose of standing is to keep people uncomfortable in an attempt to inspire attendees to keep the meeting short and productive.

During stand-up meetings all team members relay the following information:

  1. What did they do yesterday?
  2. What did they do today?
  3. Are there any problems disrupting their work?

The stand-up meeting ends after all team members update their team leader. Team members try to find a solution before moving on to resolve other problems disrupting productivity. Stand-up meetings focus on team productivity and progress. A different meeting must be held to address issues, not related productivity.

 

Stand-up Meeting in Agile Software Development

Stand-up meetings are useful in agile software development because this method of software development requires collaboration and frequent communication by a team. Hence, stand-up meetings are an excellent way to make sure teams are staying productive, meeting deadlines and tackling problems. As this knowledge is shared with everyone in the team, in the event a team member falls ill, someone else can easily step in. Another benefit of carrying out stand-ups is that it prevents the development from being stuck on one issue for too long. From the moment it is brought to light, due to the level of transparency fostered, multiple people can attend to it.

However, stand-up meetings are effective when teams are kept to smaller groups. A stand-up meeting should consist of no more than 12 people. If too many people attend the meeting, then it takes a long time to complete, negating the purpose of the meeting.

Conducting Stand-up Meeting With An Offshore Team

Stand-up meetings are the best way to monitor offshore development teams. The brisk, focused nature of the meetings keeps the meeting focused and productive. The meetings are focused on only three questions, so there is no room for misunderstanding due to cultural differences.

However, there are some challenges to implementing stand-up meetings with offshore teams. Time zone differences prove to be a significant challenge because finding an agreeable time for both parties is tough. Moreover, conducting a stand-up meeting via Skype or Google Hangouts is cumbersome. Hence, the best way to do stand-up meetings is to appoint a team leader who is physically present with the offshore development team. The team leader will conduct the meetings, take the feedback and relegate it the onshore team.

Other Meetings To Consider

Stand up meetings are the best way to communicate with offshore development teams. The short, focused nature of meetings makes it the best meeting format to overcome cultural barriers and time zone differences. However, one disadvantage of stand-up meetings is the lack of time dedicated to face-time, where teammates can relax and bond with another. Face time is invaluable because it helps bridge gaps between offshore and onshore teams, which is very important if they are going to be working together on a project.

Maintaining an open communication channel for all personnel throughout the day is another way of improving information flow. Here team members can bring up their concerns, help solve problems and discuss any aspect of the project in full transparency to all members.  This not only ensures that everyone is kept aware and updated, but also aids in ensuring smooth flow of development and prompt addressing of issues that arise.

 

The article has been written by the EFutures team(www.efuturesworld.com).
This information is our opinion, through our experience in the industry and other content sources.
If you would like to contact us, please email @Ricky.

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