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The Simple Truth Behind Managing an Outsourced IT Team Effectively

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The Simple Truth Behind Managing an Outsourced IT Team Effectively

As more and more IT companies are executing mass layoffs in 2024, the global IT talent pool is swarming with freelance IT experts. The silver lining here is that more businesses are turning to outsourcing their IT needs to experienced developers and engineers at affordable fees. However, while hiring freelancers comes easy, finding the best way to manage an outsourced IT team brings its own set of challenges.

Start by Understanding the Outsourcing Landscape

The IT outsourcing market is booming. According to Statista, the global IT outsourcing industry is going to be worth $512.5 billion by the end of 2024.

When it comes to outsourcing IT services, an increasing number of companies are opting for countries with lower labour and living costs. The main reason behind this is to save substantial amounts of money while getting the same level of knowledge and experience.

Professional IT outsourcing companies are well aware of this trend, which is why they tap into the talent pool of specific regions and countries. They seek out the most popular services in demand and recruit freelancers based on that. For example, cyber security and cloud computing are in high demand at the moment, so technical delivery managers are always in talks with established senior developers and engineers, ready to take on any project.

Offshoring vs Nearshoring IT Services

Outsourcing in IT varies from offshoring to nearshoring, each with its own set of benefits and challenges.

  • Offshoring IT services: Cheap but challenging due to different time zones and language barriers. For example, if you were to manage an outsourced IT team in India from NYC, you’d need to navigate a 10.5-hour time difference.
  • Nearshoring IT services: Cost-effective and less challenging in turn of cultural differences. A common example of this approach is companies that outsource IT specialists from Eastern Europe, finding the sweet spot between affordability and quality.

Set Clear Goals and Expectations

One of the keys to efficient remote team management is clarity. By defining your objectives from the very start, you can manage an outsourced IT team without wasting time or resources. Here are three fundamental bases to get you started:

  • Specify everything: Clearly define the project scope, timelines, and deliverables. For example, instead of saying “improve website load time,” specify “reduce website load time to under two seconds.”
  • Use SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound.
  • Get regular feedback: Schedule weekly or bi-weekly meetings to review work progress and adjust as needed.

Find Ways to Communicate

To successfully manage an outsourced IT team, you need to establish a strong sense of communication. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to achieve this today:

  • Leverage software. Use custom tools for communication, project management, and tracking metrics (e.g. Slack, Trello, Zoom, Google Meet, etc.)
  • Regular updates. Encourage daily or weekly status updates. Experience has shown this prevents small issues from turning into major problems.
  • Time zone management. If your team is spread across multiple time zones, find a common time that works for everyone for essential meetings.

Build Teamwork with Trust

Trust is a critical component of any successful outsourcing relationship. Invest time in getting to know your team. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings, provide constructive feedback, and show appreciation for good work.

Understand and respect cultural differences to foster a positive work environment. Remember, a team that feels valued and understood is more likely to be motivated and committed to the project’s success.

Take the time to make a personal connection with the team, celebrate milestones and give credit where credit is due. Nobody is expecting you to throw them a party. A simple praise in the form of a message can do wonders when it comes to building trust.

Finally, embrace your role by encouraging your remote team to come to you with anything that they deem important. People will always do their best for a manager that they can speak openly to.

Monitor and Evaluate Performance

It’s important to establish a system for monitoring and evaluating the performance of your outsourced team. Otherwise, what’s the point of investing time and money in finding and hiring skilled web developers? Here are three simple steps that you can take to ensure quality work:

  • Set Key Performance Indicators. KPIs might include project completion rate, code quality, or response time to tasks.
  • Use performance management tools. Tools like Jira or Asana can help track these metrics effectively.
  • Adapt and improve. Be open to changing strategies based on performance reviews. Sometimes, you’ll need to switch project management tools mid-project to improve the team’s workflow.

Legal and Security Considerations

Navigating the legalities and ensuring data security are paramount in outsourcing. Ensure that contracts are clear on aspects like data protection, intellectual property rights, and compliance with relevant laws.

Implement robust security protocols and ensure that your outsourced team adheres to these standards. Regular audits and compliance checks can mitigate risks associated with data security and legal liabilities, especially when dealing with sensitive data.

Conclusion

If you truly want to manage an outsourced IT team efficiently, it will require a blend of clear communication, trust-building, and strategic oversight.

Once you define your operational model and objectives, you can establish a transparent way to communicate, track performance, and build trust. This approach not only drives project success but also fosters a productive and positive working relationship with your global talent pool.

Claire James