Based on my experience as an American who has been training teams in India for over 10 years, I would like to share some possible remedies you can try to overcome some of these communication and culture gaps.
Insist on Meeting Agendas
Insist offshore Indian software teams to have meeting agendas that incorporate key players into the agenda. If an agenda is not an answer, try setting down some predictable formula that works for shorter meetings.
While an agenda can help keep things from going overtime, in some teams when agendas are first established, the head honcho is the only one talking, while the developers stay mum. While some of this can be attributed to the differences in management hierarchy in India, some can be resolved by insisting on an agenda or formula that calls out specific people to talk on specific agenda items or tasks that need to be completed during each sprint. This way each person on the India development team is heard. While hearing from everyone is a US cultural expectation, this is not always an expectation in India, so bear with the teams as they try to adapt their own strategies to please you.
If group meetings do not work, try one-on-one meetings. While I know you have only so many hours in a day, and adding one-on-ones can sound tedious, the good news about one-on-ones is that they can be in shorter duration than full-length meetings. The one-on-one could be scheduled with only the person doing the task, not the entire team or the management. In some cases, I have seen with those weaker in English conversation start out with IM or chat meetings then work up to phone calls.
Original post date: Dec. 2015, updated 10/18, 4/20, 1/21
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