In today’s globalized world, we are increasingly dependent on remote and offshore teams for quality software development. To make this kind of setup work, there are numerous roles involved, including a client delivery manager, an onsite coordinator, an offshore technical lead and an offshore development team.
The onsite coordinator is crucial to ensuring active communication and flawless completion of tasks. This individual is responsible for transparency, communication, feedback management, and review of the delivery. They act on behalf of the client and look after the product delivery for the development team.
That said, the onsite coordinator needs fluency in three soft skills: communication, knowledge and experience in the domain, and managing client expectations.
In order to relay information from the software development team and vice-versa, it is critical that the onsite coordinator have strong written and verbal communication skills. This is especially true today when workspaces may cross not only country lines, but also involve multilingual speakers.
The onsite coordinator must be efficient in communicating the needs of both the offshore development team and the client so that the project can be completed in a timely manner, with few issues. Furthermore, the onsite coordinator should be able to describe any unexpected events that might come up for both the client and the development team.
Experience in the domain
In order to understand what needs to be done for the project, the onsite coordinator should have experience in the business and development realms. This allows them to key in on important tasks or timeframes that need extra attention. Furthermore, the onsite coordinator will better be able to understand each individual’s role and plan accordingly.
An onsite coordinator who does not understand business or the underlying fundamentals for a project may misquote timelines, overpromise the client, or misjudge the abilities and needs of the offshore development team. He or she will not be able to adequately troubleshoot unexpected delays, and communication will become difficult, if not impossible.
However, that is not to say that the onsite coordinator should be both a developer and a client. While having working experience is certainly a bonus, the onsite coordinator should only be familiar with the industries involved.
Managing client expectations
It is important that the onsite coordinator not overpromise development to the client. Clients do not always have experience or knowledge with how long the development process can take. It is in their best interest to have their product immediately, after all.
Thus, the onsite coordinator should be able to guide the client through the development process. While he or she should ensure that the work is being done as cost-effectively as possible, the coordinator should also help the client understand the reality of the project.
If the onsite coordinator fails to manage client expectations, the client may get false impressions about the project, and react negatively when given a reality check. Software development – whether onsite or offshore – is a time-intensive process, even with today’s technology. After all, software must include not only the basic features, but security features as well. And in order to be assured of its quality, it must be tested and debugged.
This goes back, of course, to the ability of the onsite coordinator to communicate clearly and effectively with the client.
An onsite coordinator is the link between the client and the offshore development team. An onsite coordinator without strong communication skills, experience in the related industries, and one that fails to manage client expectations, will cause delays in the project, if it doesn’t outright fail.
Think of it this way: The onsite coordinator is the foundation for your project. Without a solid coordinator, the whole venture might collapse.