How to Onboard Offshore Developers So That They Are Productive from the Start

Jul 10, 2014

Even if your new programmer works in-house, they won’t be productive from the moment they step into the office. You know that the first day normally means organizational hassle and filling the programmer in on the project and their role in it. When you hire remote developers, it’s even more complicated, because the project management is located away from the development center, and you are not there to control the onboarding process.

Nevertheless, it is you as a manager who defines how fast and effective the onboarding will be. Do you want your new coder to become a part of the offshore development team and complete some tasks already on their first day, or are you ok with them spending the day wandering about the office, asking questions, and trying to figure out what they should do? The answer is obvious. Here is what you as the manager should do to make onboarding a smooth and time-effective process.

First of All, Define the Procedure

You should have a clearly defined universal onboarding procedure for all coders that join your remote IT software development team. Ask your offshore developers what they needed to know and have on their first day, and plan the procedure. As you are dealing with an offshore development team, think about what part of the process should be handled on site, and which things you or your in-house staff will cover. A suggested procedure may be the following.

1. Prepare the Workstation and Assign a Person in the Office

First of all, make sure all hardware, software, admittance cards, or whatever your offshore developers need in their office, are ready for the new team member before they arrive. Assign an office manager or an HR on site, who will meet the programmer, show them around the office, introduce them to the team, and show them their workstation.

2. Have a Short Online Meeting with the Programmer

It’s your responsibility as the manager - or the head of the company - to give the new developer a good insight into what the team is currently doing and who is responsible for what. You should also introduce the new remote developer to your in-house management staff and to the manager who is running the project.

3. Prepare the Software Tools and Connect the Coder with the Project Manager

Ask the Project Manager to create all necessary accounts for the new developer, prepare tasks for the first day, and conduct an online meeting with them. The leader of the development team will fill the coder in on their responsibilities and the way work is organized, as well as explain the first tasks and answer questions.

4. Pair the New Programmer with Another Team Member

A practice many companies find useful when onboarding offshore developers is pairing the new team member with another programmer. That helps the newbie dive into the process more easily and ask whatever questions arise on their first day.

When you hire remote developers, their first day doesn’t have to be wasted on organizing their work. That would mean not only lost time for you, but also a feeling of confusion and dissatisfaction for the newly hired team member. Organize the onboarding process correctly, and you’ll see productive results already on the developer’s first day!

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