Show them where they fit in the picture and go into heavy detail on what you want built and how you want built.
Share your product vision
Have a very detailed call before you get the project started. Set expectations from day one.
Show and explain the big picture. In detail.
Show them where they fit in the picture and go into heavy detail on what you want built and how you want built. But please listen and take the advice on what the Product Managers and Tech Leads suggest.
Overlap your work schedules or better yet find a product team that works on your timezone. This will save countless hours of stress down the road.
Simplify your communication
Avoid metaphors. Get straight to the point. Be very clear with your directions.
I’ve seen countless startups get something they didn’t want because of miscommunication. As most offshore teams’ second language is English, I give real credit to when someone learns a second language. However sometimes things can become misinterpreted so make sure your instructions are very clear crystal clear.
Break the project build or feature down into sprints
Keep the work list full and break the build or feature down into sprints so you and the team can be effective and efficient and get more done in a shorter period of time.
Make use of video conferencing
Make use of video conferencing tools like Zoom, Google Hangouts or Whereby. The personal interaction on video calls, being emotional, body language and gestures helps you get to know the team better and deeper.
Don’t micromanage from afar
Once you have set the expectation and built trust. Empower your team by allowing them to get on with the job and have weekly standup calls / round table calls to make sure everyone is on the right path.
Get your point across with pictures or videos
If there are things that don’t seem right or if there is a bug you find, typo or anything screenshot it or record your screen and share it with your product team so that it can be rectified. Don’t doodle or try to describe it over any communication tools you are using like Slack or Skype which will confuse them more and waste more time.
Treat them like your team, not like an offshore team
Finally and most importantly treat them like part of your team, make them feel comfortable as it is a long project and you will be spending a lot of time with them in the next 6 months +. Also stop using the ‘Us vs Us’ Mentality. They are part of your team working remotely like everybody else!