In recent years, nearshoring has been gaining ground in many industries. It has become especially popular within the IT sector. Starting from Western Europe and spreading towards the US, it is a trend that doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon.
Nearshoring is a type of offshoring where some of the business processes are transferred to a company in a nearby country (usually in the same time zone).
The quality of nearshoring and the final product that results from this type of work, depends mostly on the organization of the team, and the tools used for communication between the company headquarters and the nearshoring outpost. There are many different methodologies used by various companies in order to achieve the best possible work dynamics in nearshoring.
Most software development projects employ Agile method for their work and team management. For example, Scrum is a great option for simplifying projects that cannot be planned from start to finish. All progress and obstacles are recorded and communicated daily, all functions are evaluated on an on-going basis and reassessment or direction changes can be performed at the end of each day. All these traits make this type of methodology ideal for nearshoring teams.
Some companies have tried to apply the agile development method in offshoring, but the spatial and temporal differences can sometimes be an obstacle. Considering that nearshoring is done in countries which are geographically nearer and in the same or similar time zones, it removes all the possible issues that might exist in the application of this methodology.
By using Agile, companies are making collaborative work more efficient and effective. In addition, project managers can do their jobs more quickly and with minimal effort. This in turn enables success in delivering the ideal final product within the given deadlines.
Communication is one of the major factors in leading a successful nearshoring team. The cultural proximity allows for easier and faster understanding and completion of tasks. Email was the main means of communication for a long time, but has now been supplemented and even replaced in some instances by live communication tools like Skype, Slack, WebEx, GoToMeeting, etc.
Weekly and monthly meetings can be held via video chats and with no need for the project manager to actually make the trip to the nearshoring location. However, most companies with nearshoring teams recommend occasional face-to-face time, either bringing the nearshoring team to the company headquarters or having the managing team visit them on location. This is a great way of building a more personal relationship between the nearshore team and the project management.
Another important aspect of leading a successful nearshoring team is appointing an on-location team leader. This way the project manager has a go-to person for most of the major project issues. In addition, the on-location team leader would be in charge of team building and inter-team communication. In addition, organizing monthly live workshops can present a major benefit for overall nearshoring team improvement.
The success of an IT nearshoring team usually depends on two major factors; the project management tools and the quality of communication. In recent years, Agile methodology has had a very high success rate in nearshore project management. The real time project monitoring and input helps project managers catch potential mistakes or discrepancies in time to correct them without delaying the work schedule.
The communication aspect is crucial for running a successful nearshoring team. While temporal and cultural closeness are an asset, the lack of communication and team spirit can be a major pitfall in nearshoring work organization. So instead of just relying on technology, it is equally important to invest and focus on the human element of a nearshoring team. Combining the latest technology with good team building and team leading practices is a sure formula for running a successful nearshoring team.