In today’s world and with the existing technology there should not be any excuses not to solve the problem of communication with your offshore teams. Communication, being the number one complain for most offshore engagements, is the first issue you should tackle.
Do you communicate with your offshore team by email? Do you send each other status reports and leave it at that. Do you communicate the same way with someone sitting in the next office to you? Probably not.
Encourage, if not force, you teams on both sides to communicate regularly and directly. This communication needs to be visual, not by phone or email. Only a small percentage of communication involves actual words: 7%, to be exact. In fact, 55% of communication is visual (body language, eye contact) and 38% is vocal (pitch, speed, volume, tone of voice). What this means that if you are using email (or even instant messaging) to communicate you are only operating at 7% of capacity. When done by phone you are still going at 45%.
This does not mean that you to invest in expensive video conferencing equipment. A simple webcam and a headset combined a free Skype or Google Hangouts account will allow you to achieve what you need.
For my teams (onshore and offshore) a simple webcam and a headset are as standard as a computer. On top of it we have multiple sets of HD webcams with USB extension cords combined with Plantronics USB Speakerphone/Mics. This allows us to have all meetings, regardless if its individual or groups, by using video equipment.
Technology today doesn’t leave any reasons not to use it to improve your collaboration with remote outsourcing teams. Here are few tools worth considering.
- Skype – http://www.skype.com – Lets you have a conversation with another person using video and voice. Works great from either your computer or a mobile device. Free.
- Google Hangouts – http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts/ – Lets you have a conference call with up to ten people. You can talk, chat, share screens, and collaborate. Works great on mobile devices. Free.
- ooVoo – http://www.ooVoo.com – Lets you talk to up to 12 people at once with voice and video. Free