For those who are prepared, outsourcing work and managing remote teams is a rewarding task, both for your bottom line and your time management.
Managing the right team can actually represent the best and highest use of your time, if you’re an entrepreneur, startup, or agency. Not only does outsourcing leave time and resources available to work on growing your business, but after reading this post, you will also be free to go about about it in the most efficient way possible.
Many remote teams provide good project managers and very streamlined processes. For example, at Capital Numbers we manage projects on a team by team basis. Our project managers work closely with their teams and upper management to make sure everything is arriving on time and quality is assured. But at the end of the day, the final choice on several major decisions will be left up to you.
This level of control is a good thing, because you don’t want a remote development partner who will control the entire project. The best model is to leave the day-to-day details of the work to the project managers and the team, but to oversee the “big picture” on your end.
So how does that work? We’ve noticed over and over again, the people who become highly effective at outsourcing have several very good management habits. Whether you represent a startup or an agency, or you’re an entrepreneur, practicing these habits will empower to outsource project after project and get great results every time.
So what are they?
1: “Hands On”
Sure, you’re outsourcing so you don’t have to do everything yourself… but a certain amount of hands-on management is going to attract good results if you do it right.
Now, “hands on” doesn’t actually mean doing every step of the project yourself. So what does it mean? It refers to being active and opinionated in regards to interviewing, assembling, and communicating with the team. Of course, a good outsourcing company will provide what they consider to be the best candidates for the job. At capital numbers, these candidates will be vetted and interviewed, and you’ll have a chance to speak and consult with them before you start work together.
However, even if the provided candidates are very skilled, there’s always a chance they won’t necessarily be able to provide the specific skillset you want. In that case, you’ll have to request someone who can.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and listen to advice and suggestions. You’ve hired the team for skills you don’t possesses, so do trust their knowledge of the technical aspect of any project. Further, understand that some form of setback or small “catch” in the project is unavoidable and probably not your team’s fault— clear communication can solve most issues. So encouraging your team to communicate and share with you— even bad news— is an important habit to develop for someone who is outsourcing
2: Being Flexible
The nature of outsourcing inherently rewards flexibility. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan, despite the team’s best efforts. At other times, the client has to cause or request delays because another project is taking up more time than they allotted for. And sometimes the project is more complicated than anybody knew at first, so it requires a greater investment in hours.
Regardless, another great habit to develop is the ability to think and make decisions “on your toes.” If your “hands on” process is really good and the communication with your team is great, every person involved in the project will be able to jump in front of problems before they occur. (Good project management systems will be able to help with this as well).
But again, as the head decision maker, it’s your responsibility to adapt to changes and act even under shifting circumstances. For example when a launch date is coming up and the team needs your decision on something, it’s always better to at least make a choice than to put the decision off and push the launch date back.
Again, almost nothing goes 100% according to plan the first time. But just being willing and able to deal with changes and act when flexibility is needed will go a long way toward keeping your project on track.
3: Tracking Everything
An underrated and super-important part of working on any project is the clerical or managerial work. It might not be glamorous and might not be what you want to do at the end of the day, but it’s vitally important to keep track of the of numbers, accounts, dates, targets, reports, milestones and more.
A shocking number of people who want to outsource do NOT keep track of all of this. They think they can remember it or keep it all in their heads… and usually, that’s exactly what leads to delays and stalled projects.
Not only will your team and project managers be documenting everything on their end, but they will eventually rely on you to do the same. That way we can double check data and compare notes. This will reduce confusion… but that’s not all. Keeping track allows someone to pick up where you left off, in case you have to devote attention to another project or take a vacation and you need someone to manage it while you’re away.
4: Bringing Out Productivity in Yourself and Your Team
Finally, the best outsourcers bring out the most productive characteristics of themselves and their team. They just naturally engineer productive ways of thinking and working to keep on top of things and get the best effort from their team.
Some of this will involve things we already talked about… for example, keeping track of everything and communicating well. But another part of it is engineering a productive environment.
That means not only expecting the best work from your team, but also yourself. It means creating a motivational, positive atmosphere. After all nobody does their best work when they don’t like the client. It means ensuring that your team has everything they need to properly carry out the tasks you’ve assigned to them.It also means giving positive feedback where needed.
If you want to get the absolute best out of your outsourcing experience, cultivate these four habits. Being hands on in terms of communication, being flexible, tracking everything, and engineering a productive environment will make your outsourcing venture the absolute best it can be.
Sure, it will be more lucrative in terms of money and time. But it will also help to keep you as low-stress as possible and mentally assured of a good outcome.