Alexandra Titova / 13th June, 2016

7 Golden Communication Rules in Offshore Software Development

agile offshore communications

It is hard to work with in-house software developers when there is no mutual understanding. With a remote software development team, it is almost impossible.

Even though communicating efficiently may seem like a difficult task when working with a remote team, here at Eastern Peak Software we aspire to, and have proven that effective overseas communication is possible. We are going to show you that it really is achievable to maintain an efficient offshore communication process and, as a result, receive an outstanding product.

Communication problems in software development

First let’s take a look at the core aspects of offshore communication that are responsible for the majority of communication problems in software development. In order to manage these problems, it is necessary to identify the ones that are most critical.

1. Management issues

Without a doubt the most efficient way to manage is to be there, on site with your team. However, effective worldwide communication management can mitigate problems to such an extent, that the distance between you and your team becomes nearly irrelevant.

2. Development coordination issues

Having your in-house team work simultaneously with your offshore development team can result in inconvenient work schedules. It is hard to coordinate the work of your in-house and offshore development teams, especially when they work in different time zones. To alleviate such complications, an abundance of brilliant solutions have been created for remote co-working to be achieved successfully.

3. Culture and mentality issues

Team chemistry greatly influences the software development process. It can either improve or spoil the final result. With offshore development, it is more difficult to establish good relationships with a team that has a different culture and mentality.

Offshore communication rules at Eastern Peak Software

Rule #1: Maintaining full transparency

We understand that it’s a great challenge for our clients from the US or Western Europe to entrust their work to a company that is not located in the same city,or even in the same country. It’s not just a different location, but also a different language, different culture and different mentality. They can’t manage the development process as they can with their in-house team. We understand this and do everything we can to make sure that our clients are aware of everything which is connected with their project.

From the very first day you meet us, all of our processes are transparent.

Rule #2: Arranging personal meetings

This is an important priority for us. We don’t just want to build a partnership with our clients, we want to build a relationship them. Personal meetings between clients and their offshore development team are invaluable. Not only should they meet at the very beginning of the project, but also several times throughout the lifespan of the project. The latter being of most importance. Very often, our clients come to our office and work alongside their offshore team for a few days. This is a perfect opportunity to get to know everyone better, and to also explore the city and to get a more in depth look at the local culture. Another option is to invite the team on a business trip to meet the clients and their in-house team. It is completely understandable why some clients would prefer this option. This is a great opportunity for the offshore developers to cooperate more closely with the client’s team, synchronize their actions, and simply obtain inspiration and motivation. In addition, the client does not need to spend 2-3 weeks away from their daily routine. Our specialists frequently visit Israel, UK, Western Europe or even to the USA, either for long or short periods of time – it’s absolutely up to the client.

Rule #3: Ensuring daily or at least weekly calls

Regular project discussions help make teams truly agile facilitating timely risk assessment and change adaptation.

We offer our clients two ways of offshore communication with their offshore team:

  1. Firstly, they can work with offshore developers directly. Taking an example from one of our projects, Gett. We implemented an approach for conducting daily standups, with both sides: our developing team and their in-house team. In this case the client’s project manager coordinates the efforts of their in-house team.
  2. Another option is to use the help of one of our experienced project managers. They are skillful and reliable, allowing a client to take some time from dealing with technical difficulties and dedicate their valuable time to other business matters. Apart from English they also speak Russian, Arabic, and Hebrew. Being able to communicate with a wide array of people is an advantage worth noting here. Different time zones do not cause any trouble for us. We are always eager to adjust our working schedule if needed.

Rule #4: Using agile communication tools preferred by our clients

There is a set of tools that we prefer to use with our clients. However, the main criteria for the selection of tools that we use is based on how convenient it will be for our clients and their preferences. You can find more details about the types of tools here.

Rule #5: Always keeping our clients informed

Our clients have access to our task tracking tools, such as JIRA or Youtrack. This means that they can see the progress that is being made at any point in time. This is how they know: who is doing what and for how long, which features will be added and when, how many bugs have been found and fixed and of course how their money is being spent.

Rule #6: Reporting every single step

Our managers and developers are ready to do as many reports as needed. These can be brief daily reports via email about all the work which has been done or detailed reports about the implemented features and all the bugs which have been fixed. The number of reports that a client receives, the frequency with which they receive them and the general content of those reports depends entirely on our client’s needs. Our number one priority is to make our work as transparent as possible.

Rule #7: Being polite and pleasant to work with

The key to successful communication, not only in business, but in all spheres of life, is that it brings pleasure to both sides. With Eastern Peak Software, clients should feel free to discuss every desire and all their thoughts and requests are welcome and taken into consideration. They always have our full attention and the assurance that our team strives to go above and beyond for them.What do we get out of it? Well that is easy, what we get is what matters most, your trust and gratitude.

Following these rules helps establish and maintain truly efficient offshore communication. If you are still having doubts, then try it for yourself. We can confidently say that we are a living proof that the breakdown of communication with an offshore development team can be substantially reduced.

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