So your company has decided it was time to expand its development efforts, and you’ve opted to supplement your software engineers via an outsource development firm. You can hire developers from onshore, nearshore, and offshore companies, so the sky’s the limit on the talent you can find.
You’ve found the perfect hiring firm that’s put together the ideal team to fit your needs, and the team is ready to hit the ground running. Problem is, you already have a team of in-house developers that will need to work with the outsourced team. On paper that sounds like a no-brainer. When reality comes into play, you’ll quickly find out that it’s so cut and dry.
In fact, you’ll find there are hurdles you probably didn’t think of, some of which can become sticking points with your developers, managers, and projects.
With that in mind, how do you go about integrating those teams? What plans do you have to make, what priorities do you have to set, and what tools should you employ? That’s exactly what we’re going to dive into, so you can be sure that there’s next to no drama or complications when these 2 teams come together.
And so, without further ado, let’s make this happen.
This is something you’ve probably not thought of and no training seminar will clue you in on. The first thing that’s going to happen when you announce you’re bringing in outside help is that egos are going to be bruised and your in-house team will assume they’re being replaced.
This may be furthest from the truth, and your in-house team may be on absolutely solid ground, but, without fail, they’ll still make that leap in logic. When that happens, you must set your priorities straight and reassure those in-house developers that they aren’t being replaced.
Unfortunately, ego is a very fragile beast, so this won’t be a one-and-done issue. Until those teams are working together like a well-oiled machine, you’ll have to assure your staff their jobs are safe. No matter how frustrating this is, you must make it a priority otherwise, you’ll wind up with a mutiny on your hands.
Figure out the time zones
Here’s another issue they don’t teach you in business school. When you outsource developers, you might wind up with a brilliant team from a different part of the world, who exist in a completely different time zone than your business. When that happens, communication and collaboration can become an issue.
To that end, you have 2 choices:
- Hire only from software development outsourcing companies that are in your same time zone (or a similar one).
- Make compromises and allow some developers to work on a flexible schedule.
Either way, it’s imperative that you accommodate for the difference in time zone, otherwise your teams will wind up totally out of sync with one another.
Be clear with policies
Your business has set policies for all employees. When you bring in a team of outsourced developers, they’ll have a separate set of policies, as outlined by the organization you hired them from. Do your company a favor and craft a separate set of policies that will apply to the new team.
These new policies will include the standard items (such as NDAs and general work environment issues), but might also include special entries for working with the in-house team. What’s important here is that you make sure every policy is clear and applicable to the project at hand.
Next up is regular meetings. This, of course, will require that time zones be taken into consideration, but you must hold regular meetings that include both the in-house and outsourced teams. The more you do this, the more you’ll make sure the new team feels like part of the project, which will have the added bonus of those developers investing more into the work.
These regular meetings can be video, audio, telephone, or even chat. The platform doesn’t matter so much as the regularity. At the least, you should have weekly meetings. If possible, make them daily (and always at the same time). Keep the meetings open, so everything feels as though they have a voice, but also make sure there’s a structure to them.
Have the right tools
Finally, you need to make sure your company employs the right tools for this collaborative effort between teams to be successful. At a bare minimum you’ll need:
- GitHub – for code collaboration and versioning.
- Zoom – for video meetings.
- Slack – for messaging and further collaboration.
You might also make use of a Content Management System to share documentation, policies, and other important information. In the end, these tools can go a long way to make or break the integration of your outsourced and in-house teams.
You might think integrating an outsourced development team with your in-house staff is nothing more than an introduction away. If that’s how you approach the process, know that you’re in for a rather bumpy ride.
It doesn’t take too much time to prepare for such a collaboration, but the effort you put into this beforehand will make a huge difference in how seamless the integration goes. Remember, this is all about doing whatever you can to ensure a successful project.