Essential Ingredients for Improving Communication in Offshore Outsourcing
Communication acts vital to the success of every business transaction, which is all the more true in case of remote outsourcing. Since the outsourcing partners are typically located in different time zones, establishing proper and effective communication is essential. Whether it is documentation or transferring project requirements overseas, clear communication is necessary in offshore outsourcing. However, this one aspect is often cited as troublesome for IT buyers as well as service providers, who point out that it is difficult to interact with colleagues located in another part of the world.To achieve efficient communication or improve existing communication channels between outsourcing partners, a practical approach involving simple steps can be adopted.
Here are some key ingredients that can smoothen out the dealings in an easy manner are:
Setting Up a Written, Organized Schedule Of Daily and Weekly Meetings – Although telephonic conversation is the foundation of communication between any IT buyer and service provider, the first step towards improving that process is preparing a written organized schedule of meetings. This schedule will highlight daily as well as weekly interactions between all team members, which may be conducted over telephone or on a video conference. These interactions may range from 15 minutes to an hour or more, depending on the points to be discussed. Based on each interaction, the oral communication done needs to be documented and converted to written for further reference in future. In order to get a better understanding of each other’s requirements, regular interactions between overseas colleagues is essential. When this process of regular interaction and documentation of the key points from that discussion is followed properly, it can lay the basis of a stable communication between outsourcing partners.
Employing a Useful Online Project Management Tool – A project management tool with distinct sections for reporting tasks, bugs and questions is a necessity. This will help team members to get quick responses and answers to their queries. Since both the IT buyer and the service provider companies will have access to this tool, they can utilize it to create better collaboration between them. By developing a guideline around how the online project management system is to be used by both partners, easy communication can be fostered. Things can really work in a systematic manner, if all the documents, written conversations and summaries of meetings can be uploaded on this system for future reference. To improve communication between the partners, this tool needs to be reviewed regularly to check for latest queries and daily reports.
Developing a Set of Guidelines Stating Requirements Clearly – It is important yet challenging to document what is required of the ultimate end-product. Despite this difficulty, the service provider needs to document the requirements specified by the IT buyers. This document must reflect the standard and quality of product the buyer demands along with the possible inputs from the service providers as to how they are going to execute the project. Although, the process of documenting a set of guidelines may go through repeated trial and error attempts; it still needs to be done in order to ensure that the thoughts and understanding of the clients and the service providers are aligned. This guideline will act as a learning framework for both the partners, helping them evolve their process in due course.
Thus, only if some of the above mentioned ingredients are properly put together it can result in effective communication between outsourcing partners. With the establishment of clear communication along with continuous efforts to improve it, successful outsourcing relationships get established.
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