Having employees or freelancers several thousand miles away in a different time zone can present its own set of problems, aside from the difficulties of just trying to get everyone on the same page with evolution.
The Agile and Scrum processes were direct responses to the needs of modern companies, where employees might be on hand in the morning while their comrades depart in the evening. Breaking down tasks into manageable (and most importantly) traceable parts means that it is suddenly possible to coordinate complex tasks across continents and get a result.
Communication is the key
There are a number of communication platforms that everyone can use together to keep communications and tasks in one place. Skype, WhatsApp, Google, they all have ways of making sure everyone understands the message and knows what they’re doing. Uploading tasks to the cloud so everyone can access, comment, test, and review them makes successful development faster and more comprehensive. Do you need a quick review? Push it to the cloud and see who the task can be assigned to.
Yes meetings. They shouldn’t be what everyone fears, and with Agile they are supposed to stay for at least 10 minutes to “stand up” at the start of each session. It doesn’t happen often in reality, as there is often a lot to discuss, and when it’s done right, they can make sure everyone knows what they’re doing and when to do it. Tasks that are outsourced are treated much like tasks that are taken internally with the Scrum process, making it a (hopefully smooth) process.
When the development task is broken down into small segments and allocated in the Scrum process, employees generally go to work on their task and prepare reports when they need help or when they are finished. To avoid this isolation, having a meeting where everyone can report on both helps people feel part of the team and make sure everyone is doing the right thing. It’s not uncommon for someone in a meeting to say “No, that’s not what I asked for!” And this is the benefit.
work on it
What should be outsourced and what should be kept in-house? this is the question. Analyzing with Agile can show you who has the skills and time available, giving you a very quick answer to the question. You can then scrum it and customize it as needed. It sounds a lot simpler than it often is, but it’s effective when you get it right.
If you can, take advantage of the time difference. If they’re doing it right, at the end of the day all of your employees and freelancers will report at certain times, which means you can assign tasks for the Night Shift to do in preparation for the Day Shift. This works for everyone because it doesn’t make anyone wait and it makes everything faster.
Get to know the target
Everyone on every team needs to know what they’re working towards and an approximate path of how to get there. Especially your outside assistant, talk to them as often as possible, as much as possible about developments, improvements, revisions, and tasks at hand.