The ideal approach for offshoring technical roles

by Chris Winfield-Blum  - October 5, 2018

Offshoring is often thought of as an opportunity to reduce costs and effort involved in managing “low value” tasks or basic functions such as; telemarketing, telesales, social media or basic administrative functions.

Change Fox has helped organisations build teams of technical resources for over five years, ranging from; software & desktop support agents to senior developers with a wide range of language & architecture requirements.

Offshoring technical roles, however, takes time, effort, preparation and effective execution to realise the potentially huge benefits for your organisation.

Choose your initial roles to test your processes

If this is the first time that you are going to be integrating offshored staff (note this is very different from outsourcing) then it is strongly recommended to start with roles that are going to test you and your teams’ ability to work effectively with offshored staff.

Obviously, if you only have a single role requirement, then that will be your choice, but if you are looking to fill multiple roles then we suggest you choose one or two that;

  1. Already has clearly defined processes, frameworks and/or tools to work with
  2. Follows processes that are easy to document and handover
  3. Can be working independently to an extent

Examples of ideal roles to start your technical offshoring journey with include;

  • Helpdesk or Technical Support
  • QA and Software Testers

Prepare now for tomorrows success

While you are considering whether offshoring is right for your organisation, we strongly encourage you to reflect on your current processes and work as a team to identify areas of your operations that should be better documented. Ideally this documentation should be as close as possible to “follow the bouncing ball”, but be realistic about that given the technical nature of these roles.

This documentation is going to be very important as you start offshoring operational functions as this will reduce the “hand-holding” required during your new team members integration and onboarding and it is really a win-win for your organisation as;

  • You will be able to use the documentation in the future regardless of your decision regarding offshoring
  • You will be able to use this opportunity to review your processes and checklists and consolidate your information
  • You will be able to use the documentation for future staff inductions, regardless of where the staff is based

Look at collaboration tools

As you start to manage dispersed teams, the need for effective collaboration is going to become more important. I will not go into too much detail on this topic as I have covered this thoroughly in a previous article you can find here;

Support your entire team

Do not forget that this change will affect both your local and offshored teams so ensure that you are working with both to;

  1. get your processes right and then understood by the entire team
  2. set your expectations and measure both teams against them
  3. ensure that results are exceeding business requirements

Seek feedback, direction & ownership from your team

One of the most critical aspects of successfully offshoring technical roles is to seek regular, formal and/or informal feedback from your team. This can come in the form of onboarding checkpoints, discussions and feedback opportunities or informal discussions with individual team members. We find that a regular coffee with team members to see how things are going gets more genuine and useful feedback that formal interactions, but this is going to be something you need to decide based on your teams’ culture and attitudes.

Further, you want your team members to be empowered to provide direction, suggestions and recommendations for your teams and the processes that will ultimately be supporting your customers. This is also going to encourage ownership of the outcomes from your team and ensure that it is not viewed as your “pet project” and responsibility.

Ultimately, these items are discussed and addressed as part of the Readiness Check and Process Design stages of your offshoring engagement with Change Fox but it does not hurt to have considered these things prior to working through these things with us in the near future.

So do not be scared to dream of building a team of exceptional technical talent offshored. We will, of course, be there along the way to guide and work with you and your team to exceed the expectations you have.

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Chris Winfield-Blum

Software enthusiast, operations & project manager, MBA graduate, team builder, creator, developer, writer and father.

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