Distributed Communications Processes
Softjourn's services are performed within the framework of our objective to "eliminate the distinction between in-house and offshore IT services". In order to achieve our objective, we emphasize on two key issues which often cause offshore software development to fail; Knowledge Transfer and Communications.
The issue defined here is: Communications. When working with a remote team, you need to feel confident that when an answer is needed quickly, you can get in contact with someone who can assist you immediately who speaks the same language. The most important aspect of this issue is to have a policy for the means of communication to be used in each possible situation; urgent, non-urgent, information message, discussion, etc. It is also important that all members of the immediate team have an availability schedule defining when they will be available to receive what type of communications. In this way each member of the team will understand how soon they can expect a response based on the situation.
A Chart of availability times for each member of the team, both the Ukraine team and the client team, and the various means of communications with which they will be available is developed for every client team.
Our clients are encouraged to call to the US office if there are any issues with communicating with their team or with the productivity of their team. In addition, for ease of speaking directly with their team in Ukraine, Softjourn provides US phone numbers for our clients to use to call directly to our Ukraine office. In this way they can talk with their team in real-time without having to make sure they are in front of a computer to use standard computer to computer communications (Skype, GoogleTalk), but rather they can call from their car on the way to the office, whatever is more convenient for them.
Prioritize Types of Communication
When dealing with distributed teams, it is crucial to decide how communication will be undertaken. How will we communicate instructions, issues, and via what mediums? Different types of activities will take place using different types of communication and different mediums for communication will have different priorities. For each team, a table of situations, means of communication, and priorities will be developed.
Examples of the types of tables are discussed under Softjourn's Distributed Communications Processes, download our detailed description.