Managing Time Zone Differences

Zoltan Fehervari

July 27, 2023

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Navigate through the intricacies of time zone differences in IT staff augmentation. Transform potential challenges into opportunities for round-the-clock productivity and access to global tech talents.


In our increasingly interconnected world, IT staff augmentation has emerged as a winning strategy for businesses to meet their ever-evolving tech demands. While such a model offers numerous advantages, navigating time zone differences remains a challenge. This article will dive into the nuts and bolts of this challenge, offering solutions that turn these hurdles into strategic opportunities when managing your tech teams.

A Strategic Advantage

Companies are tapping into the potential of staff augmentation services. We provide businesses with top-notch IT experts for their tech teams, often located around the globe. As such, mastering the complexities of time zone differences is an essential skill to drive efficiency and productivity in your augmented teams.

Unraveling Time Zone Differences

In the realm of globalization, managing time zone differences is a reality for many businesses. These differences can pose significant challenges when it comes to coordinating meetings, maintaining efficient communication, and ensuring effective collaboration amongst your tech teams. If not managed astutely, these challenges can lead to project delays, miscommunications, and dips in productivity.

However, with strategic planning and smart management, these challenges can turn into opportunities for enhancing productivity and ensuring round-the-clock progress.

managing time zone for tech teams - world map - bluebird

Overcoming Time Zone Challenges: Key Strategies

Businesses can adopt several strategies to navigate time zone challenges in IT staff augmentation effectively. Here's a closer look at some of them.

1. Cultivating a Synchronized Collaboration Environment

Synchronized collaboration, the practice of facilitating real-time communication between your in-house tech team and your augmented staff, is crucial in managing time zone differences. Suppose your primary tech team is in Florida (EDT) and your augmented staff in Hungary (CET). With a 6-hour time difference, holding an impromptu meeting can be challenging. However, there is an approximately 4-hour window where both teams are working, making regular standups and meetings possible. Tools like Webex, Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet can provide solutions for live discussions, ensuring questions are addressed promptly, new directions communicated efficiently, and meetings coordinated effectively. This, in turn, enhances overall project management.

2. Setting Time-Considerate Guidelines

For the smooth operation of your augmented tech teams, guidelines addressing time zones should be established at the outset. These could include rules for scheduling meetings—ensuring they fall within the overlapping working hours of all teams involved. For instance, if your in-house tech team is based in Florida and your augmented team is in Hungary, you could set up a time block from 8 AM to 2 PM EDT (2 PM to 8 PM CET) for scheduled meetings to respect both teams' working hours. This timeframe is particularly beneficial as it allows for approximately four hours of overlap, facilitating daily standups and team meetings.

3. Harnessing the Benefits of Time Zone Overlaps and the 'Follow-the-Sun' Model

We primarily focus on maximizing the efficiency of our teams by ensuring a significant overlap in working hours between our client's local team and our augmented IT professionals. With an overlap of 4-8 hours, we create a highly conducive environment for real-time collaboration, instantaneous decision-making, and efficient project management.

For instance, if your business operates from Florida, and you have augmented your tech team with our IT professionals based in Hungary or from other parts of Europe, the time zone difference becomes an advantage. As your Florida tech team is in the middle of their workday, the European tech team has just started theirs, facilitating a seamless overlap in workflow. This overlap ensures tasks can be communicated, discussed, and actioned in real-time, promoting effective collaboration and quicker resolution of any issues that arise.

However, our expertise in managing global IT staffing allows us the flexibility to also employ the 'follow-the-sun' model when necessary. This approach is particularly useful outside of the overlapping hours, ensuring the project is never at a standstill and progresses forward around the clock. With this model, as one team wraps up their workday, the tasks are handed over to the next team, which is just starting their day.

This dual-approach strategy not only provides a continuous development cycle but also ensures optimal productivity, making the best use of time zone differences. It's about choosing the right strategy based on the specific needs of your project. By aligning our working hours with yours, or ensuring round-the-clock progress, we ensure your projects stay on track and deliver success.

4. Making the Most of Project Management Tools

Managing a tech team spread across multiple time zones is made easier with project management tools designed for distributed teams. Tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Trello, Jira, and World Time Buddy not only help keep everyone updated on project progress but also provide visibility into each other's schedules, making coordination much smoother.

managing time zones for tech teams - bluebird

Reaping the Benefits of Time Zone Differences

When effectively managed, time zone differences can transition from challenges to opportunities:

1. Access to a Global Talent Pool

Staff augmentation allows businesses to tap into the rich global talent pool, getting the best minds to work on their tech teams regardless of geographical boundaries.

2. Cost-Effectiveness

By sourcing talent from regions with lower labor costs, staff augmentation provides the same or even higher quality of work while reducing expenditure on salaries and benefits.

3. 24/7 Productivity

With your tech team spread across different time zones, your business can effectively operate 24/7. This ensures continuous productivity and improved customer service.

4. Diverse Perspectives

Working with a globally dispersed tech team brings diverse cultural perspectives to the table, fostering innovation and creativity.

Choose Bluebird for Effective IT Staff Augmentation

At Bluebird, we ensure seamless IT staff augmentation, making time zone differences work to your advantage. Our expert coverage is unbeatable, with a rapid talent matching rate. Within just 7 days, we can secure professionals for 95% of your projects, thanks to our rigorous screening process and certified sourcing methods. Regardless of your business size—startup, medium-sized company, or large corporation—we provide the expertise you need.

Our track record speaks for itself: we have a proven history supporting IT projects for international companies like Blackrock, Ford, Uniqua, Graphisoft, and Swiss Re. We're trusted by our clients for both short-term (less than 12 months) and long-term (more than 24 months) projects.

Whether you're a large enterprise needing to support multiple business lines, a medium-sized company seeking cost-effective solutions, or a startup in need of flexible and affordable support, we are here to help.

today to hire the perfect tech talent for your company. With us, you can navigate the complexities of time zones and experience project success. Turn the challenge of time zone differences into an advantage!

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