Empower Your Team: How to Overcome Communication Challenges in Nearshore IT

a person communicating
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In today’s globalized world, and considering the IT talent shortage, nearshore outsourcing has become an increasingly popular option for businesses in the USA looking to reduce costs and access specialized IT talent.

However, one of the biggest challenges of nearshore outsourcing is managing communication barriers.

When working with a remote team that speaks a different language and operates in a different time zone, it’s easy for misunderstandings and miscommunications to occur, leading to delays, errors, and project failures.

This article explores seven practical strategies for overcoming communication barriers in nearshore outsourcing.

Choose the Right Tools for Communication

One of the most effective ways to overcome communication barriers is to use the right tools. With the rise of remote work, many digital communication tools are available to help teams stay connected and collaborate effectively.

For example, you can use video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Skype, Teams or Google Meet for virtual meetings and discussions. In contrast, instant messaging platforms like Slack, Discord, or Microsoft Teams can facilitate quick and easy communication.

However, choose the correct ones for you and your context. If you have a significant time difference, include asynchronous communication tools like email to ensure everyone stays updated.

We suggest creating special channels and groups, including in-house and outsourced staff, to keep everyone in the loop and almost online.

You should consider different groups focused on specific areas or tasks to ensure the team is manageable. Bear in mind that it is impossible to maintain proper communication among ten people.

Project management tools like Jira or Azure DevOps can also help keep track of progress and deadlines.

When working with a nearshore outsourcing team, it’s crucial to establish clear communication channels and protocols from the beginning.

Ensure that everyone is comfortable using the tools and that they are available and accessible to all team members.

Tools availability is a crucial point during the onboarding process; while talking about staffing, where people from your partner will be working with your team and tools, you should ensure they have access to those tools from day one and consider the knowledge they have about them; if needed, a catch-up training should be provided.

Choose a partner with employees who are proficient in English.

Another effective strategy for overcoming language barriers is considering partners who have invested in language training.

Language barriers can lead to misunderstandings and affect project outcomes, so you should evaluate how “native” their English is, both speaking and writing, technical and business language.

Consider, during the candidate’s recruitment process, at least one interview in English conducted by you (I mean, the client)  to see how comfortable the candidate is with the language.

Foster cultural “training”

Nearshore outsourcing involves working with teams from different countries and cultures, and it’s essential to understand and respect their unique perspectives and ways of communicating. 

By providing cultural training to your team, you can help bridge the gap and ensure that everyone speaks the same language, literally and figuratively.

Cultural training can include workshops or seminars on cross-cultural communication, intercultural competence, etc.

6 women from different cultures and etnias
Photo by Joeyy Lee on Unsplash

You can “train” your team by fostering diversity among your team members. Hence, they get used to working with different cultures, learn from each other, and leverage empathy, understanding, and respect.

Multicultural teams can improve communication and collaboration and foster a more inclusive and productive work environment.

Clarify Expectations and Goals

Clear communication is essential for any successful outsourcing project and is vital when working with a remote team.

Setting clear expectations goes beyond the project tasks; it’s the foundation for clear communication.

It’s crucial to establish communication protocols and guidelines that everyone on the team knows.

It includes setting expectations for response times, meeting schedules, sharing calendars, and what type of communication tool to use for different types of communication. 

To avoid overwhelming teams with information you should discuss and agree on some communications and information sharing criteria: what should be shared? with whom? where? when?

By setting clear expectations, you can avoid miscommunications and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Regarding project tasks, it includes defining the scope of work, setting timelines and milestones, and establishing metrics for success.

To avoid misunderstandings and delays, it’s important to provide detailed instructions and specifications for each task or project and to put in black and white what you have agreed upon in each meeting.

a blackboard with "Any questions" written on it
Imagen de Gerd Altmann en Pixabay

Ensure that everyone understands the requirements and deliverables, and encourage questions and feedback to ensure everything runs smoothly. 

Additionally, set up a regular reporting system to track progress and identify potential issues before they become significant problems.

We know that agendas are, in general, pretty hectic, but we insist with each client to have periodic touchpoints to follow up; we are convinced that is the only way to be able to work close and collaboratively with them and to ensure we tackle every opportunity to impact the project and client experience positively.

We designed our Customer Journey to ensure predictability and transparency for our client along the overall process: project acceptance requirements, kick-off meeting to clarify every aspect that will make the journey with us predictable, the staffing process shared and agreed upon with the client, and the contract execution itself.


I guess you are currently thinking: Sure???

Yes! When it comes to managing a nearshore development team, over-communication is vital. Because team members are in different locations, ensuring everyone can access the same information is crucial. 

You should share information with the team regularly, even if it seems redundant. Over-communication can help prevent misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is on track.

Additionally, consider scheduling regular check-ins and status updates to keep everyone on the same page.

Document all communications

Related to the subject above, it’s essential to have documentation and records of all communication, whether it be through email, chat, or project management tools. 

Documentation can benefit onboarding new team members (we all know IT talent turnover is relatively high) as they can quickly get up to speed on previous discussions and decisions.

One effective strategy is to use a knowledge management system to centralize all documentation and communication. Those systems include tools such as Confluence, SharePoint, or a shared Google Drive.

a screenshot of a computer showing documentation folders
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

With all information in one place, it becomes much easier for team members to search for and find the information they need without relying on others for context or history.

Another helpful practice is to assign someone to take meeting minutes and keep track of action items and decisions. It helps ensure everyone is on the same page and clearly understands what needs to be done. 

In Fixed Price/End to End Development projects, you could face issues with delays, changes in the scope, and decisions taken during the project affecting the outcome, and having the information documented will significantly reduce the friction between both parties and ensure healthier relationships.

Clear ownership and task accountability are essential to effective communication and collaboration within a nearshore development team.

Foster a culture of open communication.

Encouraging open communication is crucial for building trust and ensuring that everyone on the team feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas.

Team members should be encouraged to ask questions, share feedback, and express concerns. 

You can build a more committed and productive team by fostering a culture of open communication.

However, this is not something you can only do with yourself; you need to partner with a company sharing those values: honesty, transparency, respect, openness, and collaboration.

Bear in mind that to take the most from a nearshore staffing experience, you should look for a partner who will go beyond recruiting and assigning the required talent to you. 

Other roles should be involved periodically, working closely with you as a Customer Success team to handle each unpredictable situation without friction, carry forward planned activities, and give and receive feedback to improve the process throughout the project.


Nearshore outsourcing can be a valuable strategy for businesses looking to expand their talent pool and reduce costs. However, effective communication is critical to the success of any outsourcing project. 

Overall, effective communication requires a combination of good tools, documentation, processes, and collaborative and robust leadership

Companies can ensure that their nearshore development team can work together seamlessly and achieve their goals by focusing on these areas.

Software development outsourcing companies are not typically known for their collaboration or communication abilities. Honesty, transparency, and proactive feedback are just a few unique attributes of our team that we consistently hear from our US partners, year after year.

With more than 13 years of experience in nearshore software development and consultancy services, at Switch we know how to implement (and help our clients with it) the right strategies to transform managing a nearshore development team from a major hurdle to an enjoyable and productive experience.

Let’s talk if you are looking for a productive and successful nearshore IT team.


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