The Do's & Don'ts of Managing an Outsourced Big Data Develop
Businesses leverage data to make important strategic decisions. In order to stay competitive in data-driven markets, they need to become data-driven themselves. When putting together a Big Data development team, turning to outsourcing is not uncommon.
During our work at SoftwareMill, we’ve discovered a few important ingredients that make outsourced projects successful. Based on this experience, we’ve put together a list of the do's and don’ts of managing an outsourced Big Data development team.
Contrary to what you might expect, technical competencies are often not enough to efficiently work together. It’s effective communication and common understanding that are typically the crucial ingredients for stress-free cooperation.
If you are struggling to put together a cooperative development team, we can help you to select the right company, just tell us what you need. We can do the work for you and connect you with up to 5 companies within 72h that match your need- all for free.
How can you make your Big Data collaboration successful?
#1. Invest in establishing solid relationships
The world of outsourcing demands both sides of the contract to cooperate and establish a good partner relationship. To achieve this, it’s important to think about how you present the new team inside your company and how you kickstart the project.
Each developer has a slightly different technical background, preferences, habits, and rituals. However, a team of good engineers must establish common standards regarding the quality of code and software engineering processes, ensuring they can work well together. At the beginning of any Big Data project, provide a space to meet in person (or at least on a video call) to have a chat and set out rules for the project.
By holding such a meeting, it’s possible to make roles and responsibilities easy to understand, while also agreeing on project milestones and goals so the entire team is on the same page and knows how to work together. If you invest enough time to properly onboard your outsourced team, both sides will start to see the partnership grow and make the relationship beneficial for all involved.
#2. Create a space to foster good communication
To really make the most out of your work with the outsourced team, you need to leverage synchronous and asynchronous communication. This will allow you to juggle different tasks while effectively managing internationally outsourced projects.
Holding regular meetings will help you coordinate the software development process and enable you to ensure that you’re going in the right direction. Checking in on a regular basis will help you stay on track with the project as the sooner you discover misconceptions during project delivery, the easier it will be to fix them.
Normally such meetings happen more frequently at the initial phase of the development process. Later on, especially when the project is going well, their frequency drops. Even when everything is going as planned, the role of such meetings cannot be underestimated when it comes to team building and keeping track of the project milestones.
For both real-time and asynchronous communication, conversations can happen over live video or via a text-based format. Slack is super helpful if you’re dealing with a time zone difference and keeps the communication smooth so everyone shares the responsibility for the end result.
Check out 5 ideas that shaped our communication in a 100% remote, software development company.
#3. Set responsibilities for everyone (but stay agile)
When choosing a Big Data development team, it’s important to create an operational structure that allows all members to take advantage of each other’s work. When everyone knows their responsibilities, it’s easier to reach and communicate on a daily basis.
You may sometimes want to request incremental changes without entering into a negotiation. That’s where the agile methodology comes in. The agile framework consists of quite a few meeting formats with sprint reviews being the one event you should not miss, as a client or product owner. This is the time when your Big Data team can double-check on the project’s milestones, your vision, and the overall feedback.
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What should you avoid when dealing with Big Data outsourcing companies?
#1. Don’t just rely on written communication
Avoid getting into the habit of only ever communicating through Slack or other written means. You’d be surprised how often video communication comes in handy. It sparks small talk, allows remote teams to have regular meetings, and is also a nice reminder that there are real people made of flesh and blood on the other end of the line. Taking time to get to know other teammates during video meetings has a strong impact on the team’s performance.
This is the same for in-person meetings. Sometimes it can take a lot of costs and effort to organise face-to-face meetings, but coming together in person can have a positive impact on the coordination and cooperation between your teams. Consider an occasional on-site visit for deep planning and team building at least once during the project lifespan.
#2. Don’t forget about different time zones
Not scheduling meetings that suit both parties can be really annoying and lead to the feeling that one of the parties has to make unnecessary sacrifices. Don’t let the different time zones turn into a blocker when it comes to communication between teams.
What works in our projects, especially when we’re in time zones that are separated by a few hours, is adjusting our working hours every two weeks. One week we work later hours and one week our client’s team works earlier hours. That way we have more hours during the day for synchronous work and communication. It also makes video status updates possible.
#3. Never block access to important information
Your team needs the necessary background information and materials to help them in further managing the project. This key data needs to be stored in a place that is accessible to everyone, as it’s being discussed, amended, and developed.
Essential project documentation must be easy to find, along with a backlog of goals and any changes. This will make it easier to work together and improve the overall effectiveness of the project.
Achieve your goals with a proactive approach
All of the above do’s and don'ts can help you effectively manage internationally outsourced projects. On the other hand, however, these points mean nothing if the outsourced team has no understanding of the business context of the project. It’s on the manager’s shoulders to come forward and explain the business background to the developers.
The developers should be prepared to work in an agile manner, actively asking questions about their client’s business, including such topics as future plans, software features and company goals.
In our experience, we’ve realised that a proactive attitude from both parties is essential for outsourcing big data projects. It helps to merge diverse organisations into a cohesive unit that can effectively work together towards a common goal, helping you to achieve your goals more quickly and efficiently.
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