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Just like daily standups, daily commits are for developers to show daily progress. Through daily commits you know that the project is moving inch by inch everyday. It also puts the daily standup really in action because now you have proof whether work was done or not as committed in the standup.
For setting up Daily commits, you need to set up the right development environment!
During team meetings, one of the team members should be assigned to take notes and share the minutes from the meeting to avoid any further confusion. These minutes can then be converted to tasks and assigned as well. In case of substantial information or decisions like change of roadmap, moving release dates etc, send out an email or put it in a separate place on your designated tool.
Often founders complain that they do not really know where their project progress lies until one day they see the project state that has gaps and is too late to fix.
Keep a dedicated time for the demos and product walkthrough at every milestone or major feature update of the project. If your project is an ongoing engagement, then can have a demo every 2-3 weeks. The demo should be happen over live video sharing followed with sharing of build that you can play around in your own comfortable setting as well
The learnings from the demo should be taken up as part of sprint retro and there should be time for the team to introspect and make any necessary changes.
A word of caution- Do not change the process too much at once!
Through these scheduled demos you can stay at par with progress and have a hand on how your product is shaping up.
During the demo, understand thoroughly and provide feedback to the team. To avoid too much discussion, keep notes and discuss at the end of the demo. Additionally, at the start of every meeting, a Detailed sprint planning meeting should happen with end to end screen walkthrough addressing the team’s understanding about it to avoid further gaps and delays
Read more- Setting Up KPIs Of A Development Project
During outsourcing, teams often start off well but slowly lose steam as the scope of work starts to build up. One of the things that rises with time is bugs and issues.
Unless a system is set up to report and manage bugs, they can soon become a big backlog that can give team jitters, every time they look at it.
Your typical bug cycle would be, you report the error, discuss it in your daily standup or send a message to the team, you sleep while the team builds and by the time you wake up, you see progress on it. This is the ideal cycle. In the worst case scenario, it could be just the reverse. You report the bug and go to sleep. The devs start the work but have some questions. Hence, they wait for you to wake up. Then they take inputs but it is now their time to take off. And this cycle may continue wasting a lot of time.
Ideal bug fixing process needs a plan and a tool. Bugs and Errors need to be managed just like other aspects of the development project. Most project management tools like Jira provide a way to log bugs and errors which should be used by the team rather than managing a large excel sheet. You can also comment on the bug, move priority and even have a conversation with the developer. This way the system moves in sync.
Fig: Sample bugs list on Jira
While there are things that depend on human nature and human decisions, you can always build a safety net with automation because Data never lies.
Set up a weekly report that gives you a dashboard view of the project, team, timeline, and risks. This acts as a bird eye view of the project and can be created by the project manager apart from a typical Jira report. A sample report that we often use is below
Fig: Sample project weekly report
Apart from this, you can set up logs from developers to see daily commits as well as code review reports.
Fig: Sample Code Review report on Codegrip
Automation helps you set a great domino effect for better process implementation!
Asynchronous communication is the method in which team members who cannot coordinate communication at the same time, can leave messages for each other. Rather than waiting for the sync to happen, we always encourage people to keep sharing ideas and thoughts as they happen but every message should be in a separate thread rather than all messages crumbled into one thread. This can be done by keeping separate emails or your project management tool.
The team should have an understanding that unless otherwise stated the other team is not expected to revert immediately but the messages are rather meant to be a trail of thoughts. Asynchronous communication makes overall communication faster and effective. Also, it allows the team to not get disturbed into responding to each message as they come.
In the software world, delays do happen. Why? Because while building software, developers have to continuously make choices on which path to take, what technology or algorithm to use, how to optimize etc. All these things are like experiments and sometimes such experiments may not work as ideally as thought of.
For e.g, the API that your team planned to use may have changed, the bug that had escaped everyone’s attention is found now during deployment or any such thing which could have been just unforeseen.
Sometimes these issues would be in hand of developers while other times they could just be due to 3rd parties. As a product owner, unless things seem really to go out of hand, your best bet is to work patiently with the developer and make it work out. Just as with internal employees, give your outsourced team a chance to figure out an alternative solution. Things should be fine in most cases.
Fig: Tips to deal with time zone and communication within global teams
To summarize, while working with outsourced teams, challenges wouldn’t keep away from you and would surely be there to bother you. But you need to understand how to deal with different risks and problems and the ways to solve them. Managing a team from a different time zone becomes easy as you learn about different methods and ways to deal with them. By following processes you can easily decrease headaches and get the best out of your team. Happy Reading!
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