The Do's & Don'ts of Managing an Outsourced ReactJS Development Team
It’s okay to feel a little reluctant when you first begin a collaboration with an outsourced development team, especially if we’re talking about our ReactJS gurus. Managing a team located hundreds of kilometers away can make you feel a little insecure, and that’s alright. But you want to build a product fast, maintain a high level of quality, and keep costs low, right? Let’s face it, putting together an in-house React.JS team takes time, patience, and of course, money.
This is where outsourced teams come in. Even though you might be working with someone in a different country, in a different time zone, there are ways to make you feel like they’re sitting at the end of the hallway. We’ve already covered how to go about hiring React developers generally, so in this article, our main focus will be on the do’s and don’t of managing an outsourced React.JS development team.
We’ll share some of our biggest no-nos as well as some of our own best practices to help you get started - and what’s more, if you need help selecting the right company, 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.
1. Choose Communication Channels Wisely
Developing a great product is all about understanding the needs, wants, and expectations of your client. Software developers - React.JS developers included - are often perceived as being natural-born introverts, easy to spot in any company because they wear headphones all the time while coding at the speed of light on a laptop.
Whilst that may not be true of all developers, it is an important reminder to choose communication channels wisely, especially when managing your team remotely.
Prior to moving on to the actual development of your product, selecting between the pool of communication tools available is vital. Skype, Slack, Zoom, and email have proven to work beautifully for us. However, let’s not forget that every team should also have a product manager or product owner. That guy or gal is the “brain” of your team, or better said, the alarm clock that wakes everyone up when it’s time to have a call.
Having a timetable in place for daily/weekly/monthly calls with the team goes hand in hand with your chosen communication channel. For example, Zoom is excellent for video conferencing. Seeing the people you work with matters a lot when managing an outsourced team because it helps put faces to the people you talk to.
Slack, on the other hand, is better suited for group communication, as well as one-on-one chatting. Teams usually have a dedicated channel that includes the whole team and the client, but you can also set up private channels to share thoughts or work progress, and exchange ideas to ensure the actual development of the product goes as smoothly as possible.
Our approach: We believe communication goes beyond choosing a tool to have a conversation. It’s equally important for us to have a high-end audio-video system in place for everyone to be heard and seen. Believe it or not, we’ll make you believe we’re sitting at the end of the hallway and not thousands of kilometers away. As for our in-house conference rooms, we have about five different rooms, each one equipped with massive flat-screen TVs - so you can see us all - and of course, a tablet at the door linked to one of our favorite scheduling apps, Robin Powered. Managing an outsourced React.JS development team has never been easier provided that all parties involved commit to communicating regularly to build rapport.
Pro tip: Treat your outsourced team like a partner and they will become one.
2. Build a Relationship Based on Trust
Contrary to popular belief, long-distance relationships do exist in the software development realm. To make it work, all parties involved must commit to nurturing that relationship, one which will only work if it is based on trust. With the rise in popularity of different tracking tools and communication channels, it’s no wonder that remote working in IT has boomed in the past 10 years.
Following your decision to hire an outsourced React.JS team to build your next million-dollar product, the next step should be to settle on a strategy that works for both you and your outsourced team.For example, start with scheduling daily calls in the incipient phase of product development to get to know the people working with you. As the team gets a good understanding of your needs and wants, it’s safe to switch to weekly calls. This will enable your team to enjoy a bit of freedom, work at their own pace within a given timeline, and focus on what needs to be done.
Trust has to be earned, and although there’s no way of knowing you’ve made the right choice, it pays to give people the benefit of the doubt; especially if they have a good reputation. Don’t hesitate to ask about past projects completed, deadlines, and challenges faced and fixed.
Pro tip: Dig deeper into your potential team’s company culture. If they’re allowed to work from home, it means their own company trusts them. Why shouldn’t you?
Our approach: One of our favorite ways of building trust is based on quarterly face-to-face visits to the client and vice versa. It is an opportunity for us to get out of our comfort zones as well as a unique chance to demonstrate that we can rock React.JS development in person, too. Face-to-face meetings allow us to build a closer connection with the client; and by getting to know the client in person, we can develop a better perspective of the product under development as well. Read more about our Canopy case study where we went the extra mile for a product we believe in.
Whatever industry you’re in, we can support you to find the perfect outsourced team to match your needs. 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.
3. Refine Product Backlog and Leverage the Power of Sprints
Agile, productive teams are essential to client satisfaction, regardless of location. This is where sprints and product backlog refinement come into play. Both communication and collaboration lie at the heart of an offshore scrum and agile team. Regular meetings to clarify requirements, refine the backlog and reevaluate estimates are essential because they allow team members to keep track of the work done. It's also a chance for you to reiterate to the team what matters most to you as a client.
Also known as product backlog “grooming”, backlog refinement is a basic Scrum process where team sprints are followed by reviews. These review sessions are critical and you should definitely join in because it is an opportunity to watch your team present their progress and talk about the next steps. One very important aspect of the whole process is feedback. Your team will want to know if the work done so far lives up to your expectations, and during spring reviews you’ll have the chance to speak your mind.
Pro tip: Try not to confuse the power of sprints with micromanagement. It’s one thing to participate in reviews and provide feedback, but it’s a totally different thing to be present for all sprints and make your team feel uncomfortable with unrealistic demands.
Our approach: We believe in agile-driven software development done SMART: specific to the needs and wants of the client, but also measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Yearly roadmaps and sprints every two weeks enable us to constantly review and assess what we’re developing. Here’s how Scrum product “grooming” happens at Thinslices: the team, including the product owner, meets for a weekly/bi-weekly session of product backlog grooming, where we remove irrelevant stories, create new stories, reassess priorities, assign and correct estimates.
1. Avoid Becoming a Micromanager
From the very beginning, an outsourced team already has a manager - also known as the product owner, PM or team lead. As a client - and not an employer - you must be mindful that your role isn’t to be another manager. You’re more than welcome to work closely with the product owner to make sure your project is being developed according to the development roadmap. During sprint reviews, everyone gets involved to share the progress, receive feedback from your side on project demos, and plan for the future. However, micromanagement has no place in agile software development.
2. Stop Thinking You Know It All! You Don’t
Not trusting your team to do a good job is another huge no-no, especially for a complex language like React JS (as we’ve covered in our Pros and Cons of React.JS Development article). Always remember there’s a team lead keeping them united. Just because you haven’t checked their progress in a week doesn’t mean they’re somewhere on a beach drinking margaritas all day long. And if you do trust your outsourced team, stay away from a “know-it-all” attitude.
Believe it or not, your vision for a perfect product may not be realistic. That’s why agile matters so much. Committed teams strive to add extra value with new features, relevant solutions and tweaks you never thought were possible in the first place. All you have to do is to allow them to get creative. Listen more, judge less.
3. Stop Believing in Telepathy. It Doesn’t Work
Communication and collaboration are fundamental when managing an outsourced development team. Great products can only be masterfully crafted when the client speaks up. Whatever you’re thinking, just say it. Telepathy doesn’t work in the world of software development. If you don’t share expectations, thoughts, ideas, and demands, then your team won’t be able to develop accordingly. Therefore, having a detailed project plan in place is critical. Sticking to that plan, discussing progress on a regular basis, talking about challenges while fixing them along the way are crucial to the success of your project.
So, how will you manage your outsourced React.JS development team?
Managing an outsourced React.JS development team is totally doable. But then again, finding your dream team is easier said than done. We at Thinslices, have a holy handbook we cherish that helps us paint a clearer picture of our company culture from the perspective of our people. Working remotely has been proven to work and we’ve tested this methodology over and over again. It’s OK to want to work in your pajamas, take an emergency day off, or escape completely for a week and enjoy some learning days. We believe clients should look beyond a fancy resume of technical skills when choosing their outsourced development team. Truth be told, what you see is not always what you get. Check back next time, as we explore the differences between AngularJS and ReactJS!
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