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How to manage a nearshore software development team?

Reading time: 5 min

Nearshoring is one of the best ways to boost a software development project – especially now, when working remotely has become a necessity for many companies due to the COVID-19 situation. This type of outsourcing brings a lot of benefits and is highly effective, but it also requires switching to a more organised and process-oriented management approach.

Managing a nearshore software development team can be challenging due to several reasons:

  • there’s no physical space where team members can actually meet and talk,
  • people often don’t know each other very well, and the team integration process itself also becomes more difficult,
  • it’s harder to maintain transparent communication and a proper level of understanding among the team.

However, one shouldn’t necessarily perceive these things as problems – but as big and exciting challenges that can be overcome by following a few best practices for managing a remote team. We’ve prepared a short crib sheet that sheds some light on this matter for you.

Managing a nearshore software development team: 10 best practices

Procurement stage

  1. Have team members meet in person or organise a video meeting
    Don’t underestimate the power of getting to know your team. If possible, organise a face-to-face meeting; if that’s not an option – a video conference will do the job as well. It is important to just get to know one another, and have a chance to chat both formally and informally in a friendly atmosphere. This will help make future communication easier and smoother.
  2. Define requirements
    Both sides of the cooperation must have a clear understanding of the project requirements. They both need to know what the expected outcome is and share the same perspective of what it should look like. Plus, there has to be an explicit mutual agreement on how the software will be delivered and managed, and how everyone will communicate. Don’t leave any room for potential guesswork that can lead to confusion.
  3. Define roles
    In order to run a flawless cooperation, you have to first establish some sort of hierarchy in the decision-making process and define areas of responsibilities – as precisely as possible. Clarify expectations for each team member in advance to reduce the risk of miscommunication and make sure that each person is aware of his or her role within the ecosystem.
  4. Structure the governance model
    A governance model must be strong and effective, meaning that the terms of cooperation must include certain mechanisms and procedures to be followed in case of various situations that may occur during the cooperation.
  5. Manage the contract
    Put all of the most crucial details and arrangements right inside the contract. Having everything in writing will allow you to refer to important details whenever you need to. Also, since people have a general tendency to remember things differently, it’s a good idea to have something on paper to help keep track of things more accurately.

Development stage

  1. Use adequate tools
    Working with a remote team requires leveraging a variety of tools to ensure project efficiency and help make the team easier to manage. Daily stand-up and weekly status meetings, video conferences, task management, time tracking, file sharing, chatting, and so on – all of these activities require secure and trouble-free solutions.
    Check out this article to get an idea of what the ideal toolbox looks like.
  2.  Follow established procedures
    When you’re running a software project, you want to avoid any chaos. This is why established procedures are so important. But having them on paper is one thing, and following them is another – and these two things should be inseparable, no matter what. Processes and procedures cannot just be empty phrases because they are what structure the entire cooperation and ensure stability.
  3. Communicate with transparency
    Honesty and transparency are one of the most important things in any cooperation process. So, always be fair and try to give constructive feedback – this improves workflow and helps everyone learn lessons for the future.
  4. Use the specified mechanisms you have in place, if necessary
    Everything that you put inside a contract is there for a reason. So don’t hesitate to use any specified safety mechanisms to deal with emerging issues, because this can save an entire project. Remember that a quick and adequate reaction to a current situation may help you save a lot of time and money in the future.
  5. Keep engagement high
    This may be the most challenging and the most significant point. Keeping a remote team engaged is not easy, but we have some tips that can help you with this:

    • show your willingness to cooperate and your passion for the project,
    • be honest and always prepare for meetings,
    • make yourself available and easy to contact,
    • be of assistance, whenever needed.

This way, you can expect your nearshoring company to mirror your approach and show an equal level of engagement.

Wrap-up

This list of best practices proves that managing a nearshoring development team properly is necessary and important from the very beginning of the project, even prior to the actual development phase. The procurement stage and all of the included preparations lay a solid foundation for the entire cooperation. Of course, these arrangements should be implemented during the development stage – so that they will be able to have a meaningful effect on the project.

If you would like to learn more about nearshoring, start a cooperation with an IT partner, or have any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

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