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08 June 2019

How to manage your offshore R&D team: Ukrainian practice

distant-management

 

Managing a software development team is often a challenge, but when you run an R&D office abroad the problem dramatically escalates. Nevertheless, top tech giants from Europe and the U.S. continue to successfully set up their R&D centers in offshore locations. This article will show you the best practices of remote development team management in Ukraine, focusing on the four main principles:

 

1. Motivation

2. Unification

3. Automatization

4. Dedication

Motivation

 

 

Motivation means enthusiasm and the desire to work. First of all, you need a person – usually a local team lead – who can be a true leader for the team. This person will also perform the role of a “communication channel” between you and the developers. This is crucial for understanding their needs and troubles and thus staying closer to the team.

 

What is more, your team lead will take control of product development and relieve you of micromanagement or other time-consuming operations. A qualified team lead is often responsible for operational management – to maintain the office in a good way. In addition to this, one of the leading roles of this position is teambuilding. This underlines the significance of the position once again.

 

In spite of this, your presence in the life of the R&D team should be evident – become a motivator for them and keep in touch with your team as often as possible via online chats, Skype calls, etc. According to statistics, over 70% of communication is non-verbal, which means that video calls are a good facilitation tool for more productive communication. For this reason, be sure you use video for status calls, online conferences, and feedback. Almost all messengers support instant video messaging in chats – a good way to send that personal message. To evoke more enthusiasm, don’t forget to praise your team more. This technique works well even for mature experts.

 

motivation-teamlead

 

One of the most important perks for tech developers is training. As a caring employer, you should provide your team with technical workshops. It will also enable your remote team to deal with the most difficult issues at work. Teach them the specific features of your tech business and give some soft skills training to build powerful project management. This is much appreciated in Ukraine because here software developers are really into their profession and value foreign practices.

 

 

Unification

 

 

The principle of unification says that all your teams should act as a close-knit family. Yet to make it a reality, you need to apply a unified approach towards all members of your company, including distant R&D teams. It’s crucial to share your vision, corporate values, and culture with all employees, as well as include them into company meetings, big corporate events and parties, strategic sessions, etc. By the way, this also concerns the common group chat for all company employees.

 

Many tech companies host their offshore teams in headquarters. Invite the offshore team for induction trainings, introduce your company and key people, and conduct corporate meetings. In turn, you should also come to see the team’s local office to understand their environment. On-site meetings on a regular basis sustain onboarding and smooth communication in the long run.

Different time zones can be a real headache. Still, it is advisable to decide on the time slots when you and the R&D team could communicate via Skype calls or online conferences. This solution will significantly save you time. There is no need in holding on for a long-awaited response anymore.

As well, to be on the same wavelength with your remote development team, try to simplify your language. Give clear instructions with unsophisticated vocabulary because odds are your offshore developers are not English native speakers. However, in Ukraine the IT specialists have a fairly good command of English, so do not resort to “baby talk” either.

 

unification-team

 

 

Automatization

 

 

Then, consider the software your new development team uses. It should be the same for both in-office and remote developers – in order to avoid errors within the system. If for technical reasons this is not possible, take care of the appropriate communication tools.

 

Every decision-maker in tech realizes the importance of an online management system for good operational performance. Never hesitate to make use of such cloud-based software like Trello, Jira, Asana, and others, which really automate workflow management and provide effective collaboration across teams. The value of these tools can hardly be overestimated when working with an offshore development team.

 

 

Dedication

 

 

The last but not least principle is dedication. This states that your new development team should be committed to the company they work for – and be eager to do their best for overall success. For example, software developers working in an outsourcing company often consider your product as just a project assigned by its employer. He or she can be re-assigned to another project anytime. For a product company, it is crucial that a development team fully focus on a product and has ownership of their work.

The first step in nurturing commitment is trust. Relationships based on trust are always faithful and strong. Say much about your company, provide your team with some insights, and stay open. It will help motivate them to be sincere with you and bring more dedication to their work.

 

dedication-leader

 

Next, get to know them better. You may invite your development team for lunch and ask more about their country, culture, family, lifestyle, etc. Ukrainians love to discuss cultural differences and demonstrate their national customs! Just add more informal talks to your communication and show interest in their lives.

 

Finally, make your development team feel valuable. Do not task them with unqualified work as it might offend them. After all, you hired these tech specialists because of their professionalism, so give them a chance to show it. By completing some real work, the remote development team will be more than happy to contribute to the company’s success. This is also a nice tip for keeping the IT stars in your company. Make them feel wanted and important and you will get a commitment in return.

 

 

Conclusions

 

 

In conclusion, you should remember that the worst idea is to treat your remote development team as just a “gang of techies” – not if you want to gather some real IT talent. By putting these 4 principles (motivation, unification, automatization, dedication) into practice, you will get rid of many unforeseen troubles. Just keep in mind that under the right conditions, remote developers are as qualified and dedicated as your in-office employees. This is your key to ultimate success!

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