As you move work, you might find you have different parts of a process in different locations. It is always best to keep work hand-offs and feedback loops between different people in a process simple and tightly connected. Think about how the best relay teams in athletics succeed. The baton hand-offs are as important as the individual performances between hand-offs. With a change such as off-shoring you will have changed the context in which this happens for some people and they will need to develop the skills to manage a distributed process.
Here are a few considerations to bear in mind. They are important when you have a single location structure, even more so when work is distributed
Who is the end to end owner of the process? Developing this role and the skills it requires are vital to bring together the different people in the process especially when there is change or improvement happening. The owner needs to have a grasp on how things are running today, a future vision of how the process should evolve and the ability to influence across functions, countries and partner organisations.
If the work hand-offs have changed then you may need to re-define what good looks like in the new context. This would cover aspects such as metrics, communication and escalation procedures and support to help implement these changes. Having people with the skills to facilitate the design of the new situation will be important.
With a distributed process and team, you might need to re-think how collaboration takes place. How will teams share simple visual performance data? How will teams carry out regular progress meetings to ensure the team is connected and working on the right topics?
When you move to a distributed process, leaders will face new challenges. It’s often the case that leaders who are already strong at delegating effectively will thrive in a distributed process. Leaders who get too involved in the work of their teams may need time and support to adjust.
If you are embarking upon a programme then a broader discussion about both the skills gaps and the opportunities to develop people is an important element of your plan. We love to be part of that discussion.