How to Manage an International SaaS Team

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How to Manage an International SaaS Team

Audience: Architects; Platform Owners; Managers
Reading time: 10 minutes
Author: Alex Walmsley

Managing SaaS teams across different offices is a tricky task, made all the harder when you’re dealing with teams who operate in different timezones. If you’re based in California and are also responsible for European and Asian teams it can become a constant logistical battle to ensure everything stays on track.

With this being the case, how can you make your life easier while also ensuring the best end results?

Schedule Communication

It sounds simple, but communication is key when managing IT teams around the world. It’s easy to fall into the trap of ad-hoc communication, communicating only as and when necessary, but doing so runs the risk of important things being missed when you’re too busy with the task at hand. Inconsistent and patchy communication can lead to confusion and frustration, so having a basic structure for when you let each other know what’s going on can be vital.

Some ideas might be to introduce a regular email report (daily, weekly or monthly depending on needs) or to schedule regular video catch up sessions if possible.

Align Goals

A good manager is always looking to make sure their objective is their team’s objective. Again, this sounds obvious but it can quite often be overlooked. A team may see the priority on a project as finishing ‘y by x date’. Their manager, meanwhile, may be ok with the date slipping by a week but be more concerned about the levels of technical debt being introduced. The team, so focused on achieving their deadline, then misses the technical debt target. Both team and manager are then frustrated, despite the team believing they delivered the main objective.

Make sure to clearly establish objectives and priorities with your team before starting a project. Underline what your expectations are and listen to their assessment of what will be achievable, evaluating how that aligns with your own goals. Once both parties are of the same understanding, your partnership will be more focused and successful.

Monitoring Team Performance

As a proactive manager, you’ll be communicating well with your colleagues and have aligned your goals. But at the end of the day, SaaS projects are judged on results. Therefore it’s important to understand which changes each team has been making and the quality of this work.

Traditionally this hasn’t always been made easy for managers. You’ll have to dig around various parts of the platform in a very manual process that requires a large investment of time. While it’s easy to tell whether a project has succeeded in the short term, it’s more difficult to get visibility over how each team has affected the platform with regards to its future scalability and manageability.

Quality Clouds can help managers with this visibility issue, letting you see who created what and when, along with an assessment of the quality. Such metrics make it easier to assess both individual and team contributions, meaning you can make informed judgements about both your teams’ successes and where they require further support going forward.

Conclusion

When managing your international SaaS team your management style needs to be proactive to avoid the difficulties that different timezones can cause. Make sure clear goals are set, communication is structured and that you have a way of determining how your different teams are performing. With this mindset, you’re well on your way to great end results and delivering a quality platform for users.

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