Published on:
May 24, 2021

Optimizing Offshore Performance

Optimizing Offshore Performance

Measuring the performance of your offshore team can feel impossible at times. In our recent study, 100% of leaders surveyed rated themselves a 2 out of 5 in this area.

Are these managers equally inept implementing metrics? Or, is measuring offshore teams much harder than it seems? I believe there's more to this topic, and here are four simple steps you can use to improve your offshore team’s performance transforming them into the team of your dreams.

Clarify the Mission and Vision

Have you articulated well, even for yourself, the vision for your offshore team?

If you created your offshore team to support your in-house folks, you need to build a team that is geared to do that. But, if you want your offshore team to own, deploy, and deliver complex software products, you need to assemble a team with the necessary skills while expanding the number of roles on the team too.

Would you believe that most engineering Managers struggle defining and communicating a clear vision, not to mention sticking to it? Let me emphasize this, you as the leader, must create clarity because no one else will. Then, you must follow through and do it. Most of us have to work extra hard at this, so let us help you.

Action Step #1: With your current or next offshore team in mind, write down your mission for them. Write down why they exist. Ask others for feedback. Is it clear? Will it make sense to them?

Questions to ask yourself:
·      What do you want your offshore team to do or deliver?
·      What are the outcomes you desire for the team?
·      Is everyone on the same page? Onshore and off.

Define Your Success

You might be surprised how many people cannot describe 'success'. Once you articulate the mission, move quickly into this next definition. Doing so will ensure you are working with clarity.

We all need the gift of awareness - and we need regular reminders, so define your success and reference it often.

Action Step #2: Envision the work as being done. What did you accomplish? Write it down. Now, tease out the key goals from what you wrote down.

Questions to ask yourself:
·      What does success look like?
·      What investment will need to be made to achieve it?
·      How committed are you and those around you to attain it?

Over Communicate.

You have your mission, you know what success looks like. Now, get started. And make sure you make a point to communicate effectively, at all levels, and often knowing poor communication eventually destroys projects.

So get ahead of it.

How? Be a dynamic practitioner of excellent communication. We teach each Upstarters to cut through ambiguity with well-articulated questions. We also coach our people at Upstart 13 to know when and how to ask our clients tough questions. We also coach them on how to answer tough questions. Both are important to arriving at the best path forward.

A good rule to live by, "Seek to understand before seeking to be understood."

Action Step #3: Engage the team in a supportive but inquisitive role. They are to be self-organizing, but asking the right questions can be of tremendous value as they work things out.

Questions to ask yourself:
·      What is our status? Who needs to know? How often?
·      Who has the ball right now? What decisions are outstanding? Who needs to make the decisions?
·      Are we blocked? How can we help?

Then, bring it back to your offshore team by asking: How involved is your offshore team in this type of communication?

If the offshore team is not involved, ask yourself why not?
Then, determine if you need to revisit your mission or definition of success before moving ahead.

Check Your Compass

Mission. Success. Communication. Now, tune it with the right measurements.
Drivers need roads and a map. They need to know if they are drifting or staying the course.
If you do not figure out how to measure your progress and results, you are drifting.

Action Step #4: Identify the right metrics that align to your definition of success. Measure, review, realign where needed and find your success.

Don’t know where to start in terms of measuring sticks? Here are some ideas to inspire you:
·      User stories and story points (Preferred if you are using agile)
·      Hours used vs. planned
·      Key features available (and working)
·      Schedule progress
·      Earned Value

One word I use to summarize my thoughts on this particular step: 'partnership.'

If you treat your offshore team as a transaction, you will see diminishing returns.

Let’s review.

To optimize your offshore team’s performance:

Clarify the Mission and Vision.
Define Your Success.
Over Communicate.
Check Your Compass.

From all us Upstarters, happy offshoring!

Need more assistance, we would love to set up some time to talk.