Pros and Cons of software development across time zones5 min read
With more businesses now seeking to empower employees to work remotely or extend their talent pool across the globe—it’s more common to operate across multiple time zones.
A distributed team makes a lot of sense when it comes to software development, because advanced digital skills are in such high demand and the field lends itself to technology-driven collaboration.
Of course, the world is a big place, and there are both challenges and benefits to working across a number of time zones.
As offshore technology partners to many organisations based in Australia, the UK, and across the Asia-Pacific region, Groove Technology understands what’s required to successfully work together on technology projects while spread across different schedules. Use our insights to take full advantage of a global workforce.
Remote and offshore teams can help you build better software
Local skill shortages are a reality for many companies. Recruiting globally or outsourcing to high-quality offshore partners gives you reliable access to the right people. It's a long-term play that will ensure you can develop the most engaging and useful software products and mobile apps to meet your customer or user needs.
In particular, offshore teams that can be engaged as needed gives you greater flexibility. There are many stages in the life cycle of developing an application, from market research, to building a minimum viable product (MVP), and testing, through to enhancing and maintaining solutions.
If you can confidently master working across multiple time zones you can engage global software development services—at any point during your project—to improve your business outcomes.
Collaboration looks different when working across time zones: the cons
I know that entrepreneurs and business executives worry about whether disjointed processes, clashing schedules, and a lack of face-to-face contact will create confusion and delays that can also add to costs.
Managing software development across multiple time zones does take effort to manage. Last-minute meetings, ad hoc work, and shifts in direction are harder because they require planning and coordination to keep all members of your team in the loop.
But guess what? That’s often a better way to work.
In our experience working remotely to augment our client’s teams, these limitations encourage:
- Having a clear roadmap, priorities, and clarity on tasks and responsibilities.
- Establishing structured ways of obtaining and receiving feedback and approvals.
- Communicating openly and regularly to improve understanding.
- Establishing processes and accountability mechanisms you can depend on.
You can achieve productive, efficient, collaborative and agile teams that work in different parts of the globe by adopting methodical approaches, open communication and clever use of technology.
Three tips to easily manage time zones across distributed teams
1. Use collaboration tools that make it easier to understand the different time zones of your team, share work and messages, and schedule meetings. Set expectations about people’s availability, regular meetings like sprints, acceptable turnaround times, notice required, and how your team members will respect each other’s boundaries (everyone needs time off!).
2. Develop and refine processes that match the specific needs of your software development project, with models and workflows that take into account your remote workforce. If you’re engaging remote talent through an offshoring partner, ensure they are flexible enough to align with your processes yet have a mature and in-depth understanding of your methodologies and the software development lifecycle.
3. Focus on the traits of your remote team. Ensure you hire or outsource to the right people. Effective remote teams require individuals that can communicate well, are inherently motivated, and have a proven track record of thriving in a distributed environment.
Overcoming time zone issues improves app development: The pros
By avoiding issues in working across time zones you can make the most of technology and leverage people with the precise skills and experience you need to ensure the success of each project. That allows you to reap the benefits of multiple time zones, which include:
Richer input, less groupthink
Diversity of expertise, experience, and cultural knowledge is key to achieving success in a global economy. Offshore employees are exposed to different influences, ideas and trends that can help you to challenge assumptions and create a product with broader appeal. Even if you have a very specific, localised market—improving internal decision-making by working with people with different experiences is a positive.
Increased availability, more action
One of the most obvious advantages of an offshore team is that work is being completed across a 24-hour period. Outputs can be delivered in a more continuous way, rather than being bound within the business hours of your local office. Your team doesn’t all have to be online at the same time to get stuff done. With clear direction and clear processes, tasks can seamlessly transition between team members who are currently working, to enhance productivity.
Fewer distractions, more deep work
Remote and offshore teams still need guidance, interaction and support—but the truth is that moving to a distributed model gives everyone in your team more opportunity to prioritise and concentrate on work. Time differences can further enhance distraction-free working environments where team members have time to think, understand and delve deeply into tasks. When you’re asking developers to create elegant solutions to complex problems, that’s a bonus.
Time to build an offshore team to develop your software?
Custom software development, mobile app development, and building the digital transformation solutions that enable new business models needed to delight customers requires having access to a depth of technical talent.
Why wouldn’t you avail yourself of the best people—regardless of their location—to design, build, test and deploy your company’s mobile apps and software solutions?
If software development outsourcing is on your radar, the talented Groove Technology team is experienced in working across time zones to help you achieve amazing results.