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“Having it all” with Teams in Multiple Time Zones

By |2019-06-06T11:45:52+00:00June 6th, 2019|

Across industries, project managers are seeing a spike in demand for faster delivery, the Project Management Institute (PMI) acknowledges. With technology innovation and business competitive edge inextricably linked, organizations are scrambling to get in front of faster software development so they can yield benefits sooner than their competitors to enable faster, better delivery to customers.

Not only are organizations scrambling for competitive edge with better software development, but they are also pressured to meet internal employee expectations. In their daily life, users are used to getting exactly what they need or request with a simple click of a button. They expect their work tools to behave the same, even if they’re a custom development.

Although there are plenty of trite sayings in realm of “you can’t have cheap, fast, and high quality,” with a strategically designed remote team dispersed across different time zones, a business might be able to come pretty close to having it all.

Global Software Development Services: Working Around the Clock for You

Traditional business models may have balked at dispersed teams, citing inability to hold meetings, staggered time zones as a barrier and challenges collaborating as a setback, but the business landscape isn’t what it was even a decade ago.

Now, sophisticated communication technologies allow employees to see and speak with one another from any location, share screens, and organize project flows. Not to mention telecommuting is already being championed by Millennials and Gen Z employees who demand more flexible working policies or remote work options. It’s likely that dispersed teams will increasingly become the norm, and organizations should be strategic about leveraging them.

Remote global development teams, distributed across multiple time zones, can be revolutionary for software and web development cycles, from development through the quality assurance processes, unlocking multiple in-house software development options. For example, a customer based in Europe may augment in-house IT staff with a team of TechGenies experts that is dispersed across remote offices in Mexico, Europe, the United States, and the Middle East. Suddenly, the development sprints can move much more quickly as the team leverages the time zones to their advantage.

Advantages of global software development

Teams dispersed across time zones benefit organizations by:

• Providing nearly 24-hour service each day. As one employee concludes the day, another’s day begins.

• Increasing meeting value efficiency. Live collaboration requires deliberate scheduling, and will force team members to be more thoughtful about whether a meeting is necessary.

• Cutting down on distracting chatter. Throughout the work day, chat messages, physical disruptions, and a slew of scheduled meetings force employees to stop their workflow and creative mindset. When teams are dispersed, these interruptions are limited, and as mentioned earlier, they are often restricted to only necessary interruptions.

• Enabling constant coding. With a team in a single time zone, development comes to a standstill when the business day ends. But imagine if instead of suspending development when your software developer went home for the day, a team member in a complementary time zone QA’d her work, allowing her to pick up feedback first thing the next day.

• Driving customer satisfaction. Responses to customers can come quickly, regardless of the customer’s location.

• Controlling the average cost of software development. Technical expertise can be sourced from markets where labor costs are lower. In addition, faster development times mean the organization can leverage the technology sooner, gaining more efficiency earlier than in a standard development cycle.

Tips for making global time zones work for you

While global, remote teams offer ample advantages for organizations and employees, there are of course some obstacles to be overcome, including language barriers, staggered working hours, and no “water cooler” chatter, at least in the traditional sense. But many companies have overcome these potential pitfalls by applying some simple practices. A few tips include:

• Know Who is Located Where. It may seem obvious, but team members need to actually know which time zones all team members work in. Even just juggling a few US-based time zones can get confusing when East Coasters are stepping out for lunch just as West Coasters are kicking off their day. Employees should have a clear and easy reference for each team member’s location.

• Isolate overlapping time zones and schedule meetings in advance. (Bonus tip: World Time Buddy is a useful, free tool for this exact purpose.) Maximize any overlapping time with quick team stand ups to keep everyone connected. Plan ahead because scheduling can be more complex.

• Acknowledge and communicate local holidays for all team members. Not only does this help build rapport, it also ensures team members are waiting for a response from an employee who is observing a national holiday.

• Create a virtual “water cooler” and encourage personal chatter. This is a great way to build collaboration and cultivate a shared sense of team and connection. Typically via an internal chat system, employees can share some lighthearted banter and connect informally, even if they can’t physically meet at a break area.

• Meet weekly as a full team – and rotate whose “off hours” those occur in. When those late-night (or early morning) conference calls are kept to a minimum, the burden feels much lighter.

Is your business ready to maximize different time zones? We have skilled Genies across the globe ready to help with your software, web, and mobile app development needs. Learn how our advantages can amplify your business today.