How do you know an outsourced team is on the right track? It doesn’t feel outsourced. For this to happen project managers (PM).
Both local and international companies tend to at some point outsource talent.
How do you know an outsourced team is on the right track? It doesn’t feel outsourced. For this to happen project managers (PM), or at least project management skills, are necessary. It doesn’t matter if your company is local or international. It’s a reality for everyone.
Research predicts half of the U.S. workforce will be at least partly freelance by 2022. So we should all focus on how to make it work. It’s not about time zones or like minded cultures. Businesses could fill entire teams with freelancers from anywhere in the world and better position themselves locally. All they need is to follow some basic guidelines. And PM skills such as flexibility, method and knowledge of the field to manage outsourced and inhouse teams.
As an outsourced resource for companies, we provide not only language experts, but also project managers to get complex jobs done. And to integrate our team with the client’s seamlessly. Here are some of our guidelines.
When should you outsource?
There are plenty of reasons. Time-sensitive projects that require more resources that won’t be needed later. Additional coverage. Specific areas that fall out of your scope of expertise.
And in these cases, freelancers reduce payroll costs and solve these specific or irregular needs.
But, in most cases, freelancers are remote. That’s something to prepare for. It’s a good thing, because it gives you access to talent outside of your local region. There’s a wider offer. But time zones, unfamiliarity with the brand and not being the top 1 priority of this person demands extra attention when organizing the project.
Classic problems and solving them with skill
TIME DIFFERENCE OR SCHEDULING CONFLICTS
Time zones and competing with other client meetings is a reality. This is where a PM comes in to make sense out of all the calendars.
Some ways a PM will typically solve:
Find a middle ground – It’s not important for everyone to work at the same time all of the time. It’s more about finding ways to make some of these hours overlap. Maybe the whole team will never be present, but the people who need to meet will meet. For short daily’s, or only planning and then a-synch chatting. That will depend on the criteria of the team and ability to bring order of the PM.
Research beforehand key dates and holidays– Be clear beforehand if each person works according to their countries non-working holidays. And research how many of these you should contemplate to meet deadlines. The ability to anticipate possible problems and plan accordingly is a key skill.
LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION
When working with a remote team, communication is crucial. Some countries have a good grasp of the English language, while others don’t. Some people are okay with messaging through personal platforms such as whatsapp or telegram. Some would rather stick to professional social platforms. All this needs to be defined and agreed upon for teamwork to work out.
If English is the common language, but not everyone is native, some common ground should be set. For example, the need to use simple language to explain tasks, deliverables, and overall goals. A good project manager will contemplate this and facilitate the making of these agreements.
A lot of interpersonal skills come to play here. Each person has a different style. And they are unlikely to change for each client. So identifying overlapping interests, work styles and the most appropriate team building activities is part of the job description. Specially to turn misunderstanding into opportunities. And avoid unrest.
For many companies, setting unrealistic expectations is one of the top problems of outsourcing.
A PM tackles this problem by defining and identifying each team member’s roles and responsibilities. And by doing so, minimizes mistakes and misunderstandings. Project briefs help calculate the scope of work that needs to be done.
NEED FOR LEADERSHIP AND ACCOUNTABILITY
If everyone is responsible, no one is. Holding accountability for tasks helps divide work, make each hour more efficient, and work in sync in a clearer manner. The PM makes sure things are on track, and each member takes care of what they do best and agree with the group.
Useful work tools
Skills are not enough. Man made its way through evolution because it learnt to make the most out of tools. Project management has developed many of these to simplify communication. There’s virtual collaborative spaces to chat, ask for updates, deliver content and more. Some of the most popular include:
- Asana: a project management platform lets you organize projects and tasks. With the chance to add project requirements such as due dates, project type, tags, and assignees.
- Trello: project boards from Kanban to Scrum. Its mix of boards, cards, and color-coding make visualizing project management and tasks easy.
- Instagantt: for simple task management. Easy to learn and use, even when tracking multiple projects.
- Basecamp: for large teams, multiple projects and notification controls.
- Jira: for software and product roadmaps. Jira’s tools are focused on companies creating new products or releasing updates, so you and freelancers can more easily perform related tasks such as tracking bugs.
- Monday: project management systems, styles, and tool integrations. Fully customizable..
Is there a project that involves localazing, translating, interpreting or any language requirement coming up? Contact us at Stillman. We can handle it for you.