How to Manage an Offshore Development Team

Photo of author

By Pratik H

It’s no secret that offshoring software development comes with a lot of benefits. But not the easiest thing to do. After signing that contract with the provider, you might think you will sit and wait for the surprise app or software.

But you’re wrong, there’s a lot that you need to do for the project to be successful. Since offshoring comes with a new set of challenges. You need to find ways you can manage your business successfully.

The good news is, in this article, you are going to learn ways to manage offshore development teams effectively.

Share Your Vision

A lot of new entrepreneurs make a mistake of delegating  the work to development without sharing a vision plan. As an entrepreneur, you need to share a full product vision with the team. The developer needs to know what your goal is, why you care about this project, and where you are going.

In other words, you need to paint a picture of your vision to them. That way, they will make smart decisions when they work on your project. You also need to show that you have the upcoming work items on your to do list. That way, they will know they have a long term job.


The biggest challenge about working with a remote team is communication. It’s so easy for developers to be left in the dark about lots of things. Only for the business owner to come with new changes. If you are working in an office, it is easy for your employees to communicate to you what is happening.

If you want your offshore project to be successful you need to over communicate with the team at hand. You don’t just need to talk once a week or a daily but you need to engage them on a daily basis. That way, you will ensure they are doing their work great.

When it comes to communication, you can use Skype or Zoom. For document sharing, you can use G Suite, Slack, or Microsoft Sharepoint. Agile is a great  software for project management. With Agile, your team will deliver small chunks of work within a specified period called sprints.

Overlap the Work Schedules

One of the biggest problems facing  offshore development teams is working on different time zones. For instance, my team can be in America and my offshore development team in the philiphine. There’s a 13 hour difference between the USA and the Philippines. What that means is, you have to overlap your work schedules you have.

Depending on the schedule you may have to communicate with the team early in the morning or late in the evening. The difference in timezone can also be a blessing. You may find  that while your team is sleeping, the offshore team can handle customer care support.

But if you have some extra dollars a month to your offshore team. They can change their schedules.

Spec the Project from the Start to Finish

If your local and offshore team can exchange ideas, you’ll be at a better place. The point here is to minimize the “black box’’ effect. A good project manager is one who is involved in the project from the beginning to the end. 

Ensure to also engage with the team in the planning processing. In addition to that, you also need to involve every party at each step of the process. If you have an idea on how you want the project to be built, you can put that into the project spec.

As a project manager, you shouldn’t leave things too vague expecting the offshore team to check with you. To eliminate such scenarios, you need to put things into detail.

Create SMART Goals

Use the SMART method to create concrete measurable goals for your workers. When you have SMART goals, you have no room for confusions or misunderstandings.

In other words,  you have a clear goal and timeline. Having a SMART goal is valuable when you are working with offshore developers. When you have leave no wiggling, you allow offshore workers to make progress without  worrying so much.

Protecting Data Security

Before you commit or delegate work ensure  that you have secured all your data. A study from the pricewaterhousecoopers found that data security is a growing concern when you are working with foreign companies. 85% of people surveyed reported  at least a data breach in 2015.

Ensure to discuss with your offshore team so that you can work in vulnerability within and outside the office. The contracts and legal agreements have to be airtight.

Treat them like Your Team

The biggest problem most business owners have with the offshore team is creating an “us  versus them’’ mentality. Your offshore team should not be at arm's length. Your offshore team has to feel they are part of your team, it is just that they work remotely. How does an offshore team feel like you trust them:

  • By avoiding the “us vs them’’ mentality

  • Include them in every communication

  • Make sure they are presented in the company and team meetings.

  • Meet them everyday online using Zoom and Skype

  • Pay them visit once or even twice a year.


Managing your offshore development team is challenging but rewarding. The perspective and ideology of your team may be different but you need to  gain understanding which is important for long term success.

Before you commit, research on how you will lay a solid foundation and how you will manage the time. To summarize:

  • Lead with effective communication and goal-setting

  • Ensure the team is engaged and invested

  • Project speccing and setting objectives.

Lastly ensure they have real work to do. Paying a developer in India $25 per hour, does not mean that you give them shit work. The development team are not your juniors. And if you have worked with developers in the past, you will notice they have shitty projects. If you want to have a top talent, give them work or project that challenges them. The world has great developers and you need to treat them like one.