As many business leaders and influencers have claimed, more and more enterprises currently opt for building offshore virtual teams to partly replace and partly support their traditional local offices. The approach allows companies to tap into global talent pools and competitive advantages that push them ahead in the modern business environment. However, this also brings along the challenge of sustaining team collaboration and timely contribution, no matter where the staff are based.
Below are five outstanding tools the market can offer to help your business overcome this hurdle, build a strong offshore team and even exceed goals.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT & FILE STORAGE
In terms of project management and file storage, Trello definitely ranks among the first free solutions popping up due to its appealing visual features and user-friendliness. The Kanban interface lets Trello users create and organize cards, which range from thoughts, to-do lists to conversations and attachments. Team members can collaborate on these issues throughout the project while the team leader will manage, drag and drop the cards to corresponding boards (e.g. in process, to be reviewed, done…). That is to say, within a glance you would be able to know who is doing what and what the status of each project is.
To talk about Basecamp is to talk about an encompassing option for online team collaboration and project management. Starting from an all-inclusive pricing of $29 / month, your team can simultaneously work on multiple projects, assign tasks, create discussions, share files and tick the to-do lists. In other words, Basecamp acts like a one-stop platform for virtual team collaboration. The simple, well-known interface with colours, newly updated calendar and fully responsive features also ensures that all Basecamp users can quickly catch up with the process and reply in the timely manner.
If your offshore teams work mainly in the software development field and are practising Scrum Methodology, JIRA of Atlassian could be the optimal solution. Once focused on raising and tracking bugs or other issues, JIRA now adopts new, user-friendly interfaces that let team members quickly deliver iterative and incremental value with customised Scrum boards or check the status of each project and modify appropriately with flexible Kanban boards. Another distinguishing attribute of this tool is the expanding support and integration from its sister software like Confluence and HipChat, making JIRA the solution for various team collaboration requirements.
VIDEO & AUDIO CONFERENCE
Skype For Business
No matter how project management tools have advanced in recent years, the offshore teams cannot work in harmony without direct discussion between team members and that is when video – audio conference solutions step in. Skype for Business (formerly known as Microsoft Lync) is the most popular option to date when the teams in different countries need to have a meeting or sprinting session. The application totally simplifies your infrastructure requirements for offshore teams by providing one platform for chatting, calling, conferencing and business webinars – all are integrated to other Office applications. From the enterprise perspective, Skype for Business also enhances security with strong authentication and exclusive functions for companies managing their employees’ accounts.
SOCIAL NETWORK TOOLS
In the global community strongly affected by social networks, many providers have equipped offshore teams with a collaborative environment similar to that of Facebook or Twitter. Yammer is such the case. Now owned by Microsoft, the enterprise social network offers unconventional collaborative experience where team members can create microblogging, upload files or comment to follow up discussion. The similar interface and functions also allow new members to easily familiarise themselves with the platform and what the team are currently pursuing.
Throughout 5 years building global teams, we have adopted many prestigious tools and platforms to enhance team collaboration across different countries and always pursue better results for our Australian partners. If you are interested in considering team collaboration in offshore business environment, please contact us at ASW Global.