Best Practices for Managing an Offshore Testing Team
- January 26, 2021
- Hassan Shafiq
The term ‘offshore testing’ means outsourcing of a testing project or some tasks of the testing processes to a third-party agency in another geographical location. It is essential to prepare yourself for managing an offshore team virtually over video calls and through other digital channels. Most organizations usually prefer offshoring to keep their costs low or to avoid a high tax rate and stringent regulations.
What is Offshore Testing?
Consider a scenario where you have just signed up for another project and you are looking for building a new team for the new project. You are trying to estimate the time, resources, budget, people, coordination, effort, etc. that will contribute towards achieving this new project. In order to achieve this, you can target a new team at a new place or split the team i.e. hire a few people offshore that will work with the in-house team. So when it comes to creating your own offshore software testing team, it may take some time and effort.
So, when you think about building offshore teams apparently seems a simple task. But what is it to handle another few people in your team based in different geographical locations? With newly onboard resources that are already part of your team does not mean that your next new software app will be delivered to your doorstep. Managing offshore teams is a tricky process in the modern tech-world and especially when it comes to physical constraints.
Best Practices for Managing an Offshore Testing Team
Cost-effectiveness, diverse workforce, etc. are a few major advantages that an organization can get from offshore team management. So if you intend to work with offshore teams it requires going the extra mile by following best practices to manage these teams effectively. The following practices will provide meaningful insights that can help in managing offshore teams more effectively and efficiently. These guidelines will also help to know how successful this model is for pre-planned and structured software projects.
Share Your Product Vision with Teams
Adding a new offshore testing team is not an easy task. One of the most important keys to the success to manage offshore teams is to make them aware of the big picture. In order to keep it as big as your dream, you need to explain the product vision. Typically, leaders are viewed as leading the team towards their goals. Teams look up to their leaders who have visualized where they are directed and where others need to follow them.
Setting SMART goals
Make sure you set SMART goals for your team – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. Regardless of their geographical location, employees need to set a bar for their personal and professional goals. Team leaders can play their part by effectively aligning, both short and long-term goals towards achieving business goals. A good leader always sets achievable goals for their teams and their future aspirations through regular one to one virtual meetings. They can also do that during their regular project status and sprint planning meeting schedules.
Designating Regional Team Leads
Each offshore team should have a regional-specific team lead who has close coordination with the QA teams on a daily or regular basis. These team leads have a better idea about the regional cultural differences, so they can better integrate those cultural values in their offices. Having said that, depending on the project requirements team leads can remotely be assigned. Thus, it should be assured that their managers have accepted the cultural values that will impact their productivity.
Proficient Language Skills
English is an internationally spoken and accepted language, and ensuring that your offshore team has a comprehensive understanding of English is an important part of managing offshore teams. Nevertheless, the local offshore teams cannot get away with strong communication and language skills, whether they are software developers, testers, project managers, or marketing professionals. This needs to be ensured from the beginning of the process in their tests and interviews, that strong verbal and communication is a mandatory part of their skillset that needs to be evaluated.
Managing Time Zone Differences
Another major challenge that a manager comes across when managing offshore teams is the difference in time zones. If you have teams working in the US, or Canada, or others located in the Gulf, there is a lot of difference in the time zones. So to handle such a structure it is essential to overlap a few hours after dinner time with offshore teams. A few minutes or an hour is more than enough for sprint discussions, meetings, scrums, etc. Apart from being a challenge, it can also provide you an edge as well. During the night time, teams in Canada and the US can also provide support and assistance to the clients. It is a complementary approach that can help in managing offshore teams effectively.
Secure Data with Remote Access VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is used to access private networks to connect remote users or users working at different geographical offices. VPN access uses the trend to bring your own devices principle that means users can use any device they feel comfortable using, whether it is a laptop, mobile device, or iPad.
There are multiple benefits of using a VPN as they create secure networks and add an extra security layer like a farewell to company assets. Companies managing offshore teams in diverse geographical regions need to secure their data and need to have a better quality VPN.
In a nutshell, organizations are primarily looking for cost-effective solutions to run their businesses, and therefore as compared to the local market, offshore teams are economical businesses. In this article, prospects have been highlighted for those companies struggling to build offshore testing teams. By following the right choices, you can increase the productivity of your offshore testing teams. Building offshore teams are already proved to be a successful platform when it comes to adding diversified talents to your project. These recommendations will help you manage your offshore software testing team in a more effective and efficient manner.