Top Ten tips Create Strong 4 Communications
The distance between remote teams working on the same project can be eliminated by use of communication tools such as IMs, VOIP-based phone calls, online meeting tools and other electronic mediums. However, communication is only as good as the information provided. All relevant documentation and domain knowledge must be continuously shared with members of the offshore team.
Clearly Define Roles 3 and Responsibilities
To ensure that all members of the project team understand their expected tasks, it is vital to establish clear roles and corresponding responsibilities early on. Create a collaborative, pyramid-style team structure for the offshore team, so that the key people responsible for daily communication with the rest of the project team are identified, along with an obvious reporting hierarchy.
Language 2 Eliminate Barriers
Working with remote teams on different continents/countries requires strong and effective communication. It’s critical for the key contacts between the offshore team and the project team to familiarize themselves with the pronunciation and grammatical styles of each other, while also ensuring that the offshore team obtains International English certifications, such as TOEFL. In addition, when possible, I recommend that the team leaders from the vendor side and client side visit each other’s offices to understand the culture of the companies and to instill a sense of partnership.
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1 Know Your Team
It’s important to address people correctly. People respond well when somebody knows how to spell and pronounce their name. To infuse a sense of team spirit, attach a face to the person who is communicating via e-mail, phone or IM. Have a kick-off meeting for a project team, where each person introduces himself or herself with some basic personal information such as a hobby or interest, to help establish a ‘human-side’ to the offshore team. While meeting in person might not be a possibility or even desirable, given that we are talking here about learning to create global team-working, the liberal use of video conferencing can really improve the relationship with remote teams – and people need to get used to it.
Establishing and managing an offshore team is a complex challenge. Cultural differences, time zone variations and lack of face-to-face time contribute to the intricate nature of the offshore team model. In addition, some companies focus too much on cost-cutting objectives. To successfully manage an offshore test team, a company needs to focus on people, processes and communications.
About the Author Mush Honda is QA Director at KMS Technology, a provider of IT services across the software development lifecycle with offices in Atlanta, GA and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. KMS services include application management, testing, support, professional services and staff augmentation.