Rules to Better Outsourcing - 10 Rules
When dealing with western people, you want to avoid having screen captures showing foreign characters.
Let us look at some examples:
You want all screenshots you take to be showing English. Most of the time it is as simple as going Tools | Options | Language | Default Language = English (US).
In Chrome, you can follow these steps directly:
- Three dots bar at the top right of the Chrome window:
- Click on Settings:
- Click on Advanced:
- Click on 'Add Languages':
- Move English to the top
- Change the language in System Preferences. Go to Apple menu | System Preferences | Language & Region
- In Preferred languages, add English and select it as primary language
- Reboot the system and verify that English is now the primary language for all desktop applications
You should also change your Google language to English as well. If it is not already, take a look at these steps:
- Go to www.google.com
- Click on
My Accountif you are already signed in
- Search for 'Language':
- Now click
Languageand search for English
- Move English up to default language by clicking on the arrow
- Done! You changed your language to English
- Click on the cog then Settings
- Set language to English(US)
- Scroll down and click on 'Save Changes'. Done!
- Go to Options
- Set Display language to English (United States), you may have to restart Firefox to apply the change
- Choose your preferred language for displaying pages. Add English (United States) and move it to the top
Some cheap versions of Microsoft Office 365 only allow Chinese, so you need to uninstall and install the English version. It requires you to download a language pack which is a bit more of a hassle...
How to fix on Office 365 (https://outlook.office365.com)
- Click on "My profile" in the top right corner
- Click on "setting" button
- Click on Region and time zone
- In Windows 10, Go to Settings | Language | Windows display language, click Windows display language and search for English.
- Go to Settings | Language | Region, click Regional format and select “English (United States)”.
- In Outlook, go to File | Options | Advanced | International options, check "Use English for message headers..."
- Done. You have changed your language to English. Congratulations!
- Navigate to Microsoft Teams | Manage account
- Navigate to General | App language and then select English from the dropdown
- Change the language in System Preferences. Navigate to Settings | General | Language & Region
- Drag English field to the top of the PREFERRED LANGUAGES list
Communication can be difficult (even if English is your first language!). It might be tempting to only communicate via text in IM, but this will not improve your skills or build a relationship as well as communicating verbally.
Try to always answer the call with video (if weak bandwidth, use it for the first 10 seconds and say "I'll turn off video to save bandwidth").
- Be ready with the headset already on (it looks disorganized plugging it in after you make the call)
- Check the sound quality of the microphone - you need a good mic and it should be close to your mouth - if you are using the laptop mic, sit in close.
- Check the image quality of the camera.
- Beware of the angle of the camera - laptops with thin bezels now put the camera at the base, looking up your nose. Avoid them. Frame your head and shoulders in the shot, and keep the camera lens at or above eye level - use a stand if necessary
- Consider what is in the background.
- Keep a light source on your face, and try to avoid sitting with a window behind you.
- Have a microfiber cloth and wipe off the lens from time to time.
- Get your video background right. Read Rules to Better Branding
- It's always helpful to confirm things you're talking about with typed text during the call (Especially helpful for people with English as a second language).
For more info see How to look and sound great online
Tip: Help the other person with following this rule by taking a screenshot and giving them a mark /10 with good and bad feedback on the call quality and background.
Many companies use overseas developers to do some of their work, but the language barrier can sometimes extend past simply communications. Sometimes you can end up with foreign language snippets in your code too.
When you edit an aspx page in TFS, follow the below steps to avoid having Chinese characters appear.
- Set the default language on your computer as English(Australia).
- After you finish editing, but before check-in, make sure Code Auditor and Link Auditor 0.
- Check the whole page which you edited, and make sure no messy code or characters are there.
- Ask someone beside you to check the rule or page you just edited.
- Reply done in an email.
Make sure your Visual Studio encoding is consistent with Sydney to avoid encoding problems in the future.
Open file with Encoding:
Save file with Encoding: (Optional - it will be saved w (Optional - it will be saved with opened encoding automatically.)
Say your language is Chinese, of course, local Chinese customers would feel more comfortable communicating in English. The disconnect happens when head office needs to get involved. They can't review emails, read the history of email threads etc.
So make it easier to add English speakers into the loop at a moments notice.
The most polite way of doing this is to mention in the email why you are using English.
Hi Joe, hope all is well. I wanted to confirm our conversation...
Figure: Bad example
(This is in English since I have included a Sydney colleague... let me know if you need it in Chinese).
Hi Joe, hope all is well. I wanted to confirm our conversation...
Figure: Good example
Improper spelling, grammar, and punctuation gives a bad impression of your company and can result in your message not being conveyed correctly. Emails with no full stops or commas are difficult to read and can sometimes even change the meaning of the text. And, if your program has a spelling checking option, why not use it?
When on a web page, install Grammarly Addon for Chrome so you can automatically check web content. For example, while editing in a CMS.
Any other text can be checked manually. Go to Grammarly, create a New Document and Paste your content to check your text.
On Word, press F7 (or on the ribbon go to Review > Spelling & Grammar ) to check your .docx text.
On PowerPoint, press F7 (or on the ribbon go to Review | Spelling & Grammar ) to check your .pptx text.
You should also keep "Check grammar with spelling" checked in your PowerPoint Options | Proofing:
When discussing client work in an email, it is not always clear which client you are referring to. By using the ClientID as your email subject prefix, those involved in the email conversation will immediately know which client you are talking about.Figure: Make sure you add ClientID as your email subject prefix
Email is great. But in an emergency, you need to pick up the phone. Often the most effective methods of communication for a project is to talk directly to colleagues and clients on the phone.
Remote offices tip: Don’t make being overseas a barrier. Of course, it is always best to provide a local number as that gives clients peace of mind and keep their costs down. Not many clients will call an international number and there are lots of options - http://www.skype.com/en/features.
The next best alternative is to at least show your overseas phone number.
When working remotely, you should be sharing your screen whenever discussing changes to a document or software. This allows your colleague or client to see changes that are happening on the screen, making the remote collaboration experience much nicer.
When you first share your screen, make sure the other person can see your screen before you start talking about it. Often it takes a little while for the image to appear. The same if a new participant joins the call.
For a list of our recommended screen sharing tools, please check the SSW rules for remote support.
Another good practice that follows on from this, is to leave a Teams/Zoom/Skype session open if you are working with the same person for the whole day. This eliminates the need to call your programming partner every time you have a query or question to ask.
When a company has many different office locations, often people in one office aren't familiar with people in other offices due to a lack of interaction. This problem is particularly pronounced where you have offices that span multiple time zones or countries.
It is crucial to build interaction between all company offices because it often improves the following:
- Technical Skills
Access to resources
- Knowing who has certain skills
- Knowing who can provide you with localized or domain specific information
- Knowledge of alternative approaches
- Cultural understanding
Understanding of foreign perspectives
- knowing why someone from another culture responds to questions in a different way to what you are used to
Think about what your company can do to increase interaction. There are tonnes of unique ways that interaction can be developed. Examples include:
Team Building Activities
- Playing a game together
- Solving a puzzle together
- Reviewing/updating a company standard together
- Go on a group trip to the Great Wall of China
- Visit local companies together
- Retreat - Have a company retreat to bring everyone together
- Having developers from China work in every Australian office for a month each or vice versa
- Having developers from Brisbane spend a week in Melbourne
- Pair programming
- Mob programming
- Sitting together to work side-by-side
- Celebrating holidays from other countries
- Having a cultural performance day where everyone chooses something cultural to perform such as a culturally relevant poem
Creating cross-office teams
- Putting developers from the China office onto a project with Australian developers
A fun weekly company meeting
- Everyone meets on Friday for 30 minutes to discuss a fun question
Rotating Daily Scrum
- Each week 1 person from each office is paired up to do a Daily Scrum with each other
Virtual coffee events
- People from different offices are paired up to have virtual coffee
Get people involved with events for others offices (especially other countries)
- A Chinese dev does a presentation at the Sydney User Group
Organise meetings to discuss culturally different issues
- Everyone talks about localization or WeChat Mini-Programs
- Have a weekly language exchange catchup
Film videos about other offices
- What is it like to work in the China office?
- What are the differences in the app market in China and Australia? i.e. WeChat vs Facebook etc
- Localization - What is your reaction if you see Chinese on a web page?