Why are distributed global teams better than in-house teams for scale-ups?

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Maulik Sailor
Maulik Sailor
July 23, 2021
Read about my personal experience of building digital products by working with diverse talent across global locations throughout my career and my insights about getting this right
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Throughout my career, I have worked within global teams. For instance, for the Axmedis project, funded by EU FP6, we had teams all across Europe working to build the next generation of cross-media framework. At Nokia, my product team was distributed in multiple continents, supporting a true 24*7 continuous delivery. And similarly, for all other companies, including Visa, Betfair, WSJ, and Innovify.

Throughout this period, I have always enjoyed working with global teams, and below are some of the benefits that I saw:

1. Opportunity to work with a diverse team

Needless to say, working with a globally distributed team means interacting with people of all backgrounds. This is perhaps one of the most important benefits of this kind of working model. The diverse team members introduce different viewpoints and change the group thinking for better decision-making.

The diverse views that individual team members from various backgrounds bring play an important role in boosting the team’s creativity and innovation. A study by Boston Consulting Group reported that diverse teams have 19% higher revenue due to increased innovation.

Diversity on the team is also an important way to boost your organization’s reputation and attract better talent. Such teams are regarded as more ethical and socially responsible. Thus, many people can easily relate with them, opening opportunities for new markets and business partners.

2. Better collaboration

Generally speaking, a diverse team tends to collaborate more as they are eager to overcome their individual differences and learn from each other. They tend to support each other better owing to cultural differences.

Global teams can be online all the time, without any member of the team overworking themselves. Initially, being always online used to mean a member of the team always being available to answer arising questions, even when it’s sleeping time. Undoubtedly, that approach proved detrimental to an individual’s health.

The introduction of global teams means better collaboration, including the ability to be online 24/7 without hurting anyone. Since all members work in different time zones, you can agree on a flexible time to be online for each member of the team to answer questions or tackle arising issues.

3. Faster delivery

By carefully planning different functions in different locations, you can increase the total working hours in a day and can achieve a much faster delivery cycle for software development. You don’t need to worry about late workings and unusual hours’ support, as you can practically have 24 hours working day.

A related conversation to global teams revolves around Global Delivery Model. You can adopt a Global Delivery Model that not only helps with the faster execution of tasks but also improves customer experience. As mentioned above, you could tackle issues related to time via the local and offshore presence of customer support staff.

The Global Delivery Model comprises six crucial pillars:

o Engagement model — Have a clearly defined team and project delivery structure from the start

o Processes — Define the distributed processes to attain quality, repeatability, and timeliness without confusion and conflict amongst the team members

o People — Work with the right talent that fits your project deliverables

o Tools — Provide your team with access to all the tools that they need to deliver on tasks assigned

o Infrastructure — Ongoing connectivity via the Internet as well as clear communication structure

o Governance — Regularly review different levels of your global team to ensure the continued enhancement and increased innovation to boost your scale-up

Teams that operate globally are well-positioned to quickly deliver on client tasks. However, close examination of the entire team setup using the six pillars mentioned above helps enhance performance.

4. Reduced costs

You can find better engineering talent worldwide who are not interested in the 9 to 5 rate noted in some megacities. These engineers are mostly interested in better work-life balance. That helps lower the cost of living, while the total cost of hiring such resources would be 30% — 70% lower than hiring similar resources in the bay area.

Hiring global teams is less costly compared to in-house employees. By working off-site, these employees help the company save in terms of equipment, utilities, and office space. Small businesses find this benefit to be extremely vital, especially when they do not have the funds to spend on extra office spaces to accommodate their staff.

Teams that operate globally have the opportunity to continue growing without necessarily investing in expanding their physical infrastructures like office desks and such items.

5. Flexible working

Thanks to platforms such as Codemonk, you can build elastic teams that you can scale up and down as per your requirements without prohibitive costs. You can have a fluid product team that changes as frequently as your product roadmaps.

Such teams give you the opportunity to flexibly participate in the competitive global marketplace. On the other hand, individual team members have the flexibility of setting working schedules that align with their needs.

They do not have to follow the rigid 9 to 5 working models. Instead, they can work when they feel the most productive.

6. Compliance

Operating global teams helps with easier compliance as opposed to dealing with some of the most complex and painstaking local compliance requirements. All that you need to do is establish a robust workflow process that consolidates internal compliance regulations, and you are good to go.

Additionally, global teams have an opportunity to partner with an experienced global provider so that you can focus on what matters instead of worrying about compliance requirements.

The sheer fact that you are running a global team means you have met some compliance requirements. For instance, requirements of diversity no longer become a bother.

7. Higher return on investment

Globally distributed teams provide increased ROI in various ways. For example, you do not have to incur expenses associated with on-premise infrastructure. Such savings help improve the overall return on investment.

Additionally, running the globally distributed team often translate to increased productivity. Since your staff work when they are the most productive, they get to deliver top-notch results that take your organization to the next level. With proper planning, you could have a firm that operates 24/7, thanks to the distributed time zones that come with global teams.

Some of the fastest-growing scale-ups are creating a new world order by disrupting their respective markets. I believe that it is just right for these scale-ups to spread the wealth — both knowledge and economic — to a larger audience and create an everlasting impact by providing opportunities to some of the best talents in the world.

Further Reading

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