Perhaps the most significant legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic is the global rise of remote work. Due to movement restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the virus, individuals were cut off from the rest of the world in 2020, forcing the business world to accelerate its increasing adoption of the remote development teams. Indeed, as a result of COVID-19, some large global corporations that began with physical work have implemented permanent (or at least long-term) remote work policies, including Twitter, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and others.

Businesses and entrepreneurs in G7 countries and elsewhere hire remote teams to develop software offshore. However, other countries are now following suit. However, before you select a development company to work with, you must understand how to manage remote workers for this collaboration to be effective and productive.

How to Manage Remote Development Team:

The biggest challenge for managers in the world of remote software developers is accepting the fact that developers will not be visible. Managers must now find ways to manage and monitor work remotely. This new paradigm has required developers to change their practices and integrate various mechanisms to manage and track remote teams’ progress. These methods allow managers and developers to be more productive.

Remote work is a cost-cutting strategy that has been shown to increase worker productivity when properly managed. However, it is not so simple to put into action. The main issue for many businesses, however, is not the adoption of remote work; rather, it is how to manage the team to deliver successful results. After all, most businesses are unfamiliar with remote work. Furthermore, managing technical projects like software development remotely appears to be difficult.

It starts with Onboarding Process:

Many businesses have successfully managed remote development teams that have produced amazing projects. In fact, some of the most successful startups have massive remote teams, with their entire workforce working remotely. It only makes sense to be inspired by some of these examples and learn how to manage a remote development team despite obvious physical constraints.

It is difficult to lead a development team from anywhere, but managing a remote software development team is even more difficult. And to make it more efficient, a few basic steps must be taken as mentioned below –

  1. Establish Better Communication with Remote Communication Tools.
  2. Use Best Remote Project Management Tools.
  3. Work on Time Zone Grab Advantage.
  4. Schedule Everything.
  5. Utilize Team Time Tracking Tools.
  6. Hire Self Motivated and Organised Developers.
  7. Improve communication within the team.
  8. Keep Policies Transparent.
  9. Build Processes (Development, Reporting, Delivery, Software Over Docs).
  10. Provide Content Feedback.
  11. Lift Team Spirit – We Vs Them.
  12. Risk Assessment and Backup.
  13. Reward Your Remote Development team & Programmers.
  14. Involved in team-building activities.

1. Establish Better Communication with Remote Communication Tools:

Whether we’re talking about an in-house or remote team, the most important thing is to establish a strong rapport with each team member. You must communicate clearly with them and ensure that both your in-house and remote teams are on the same page.

It is critical to ensure proper communication when managing a remote team. Setting meetings and working with people in different time zones can be difficult. However, with effective communication, you can face these challenges wisely. Maintain a strict schedule, and an organized workflow, and ensure that everyone on your team is on the same page about everything. Make stand-up meetings a priority, and keep them regular, relevant, and brief. Also, hold a lot of face-to-face meetings to give this highly technical setup a human touch.

Remote Software Developers

2. Use Best Remote Project Management Tools:

Tools are essential for remote team collaboration because they help you structure the work of your team. An effective remote team will have a set of tools, including email, file sharing, an instant messaging platform, project management software, video conferencing, and whatever else is needed. For example –

  • Trello: This is a simple and free project management software for managing remote teams. Trello allows you to make different boards for different projects and manage tasks with lists and cards.
  • GitHub: GitHub is a tool used by over 50 million developers worldwide. This free code hosting platform is useful for team collaboration and version control.
  • Slack: It is an excellent platform for creating various channels and dedicated spaces for teams to collaborate and communicate. Slack also allows you to communicate with a specific developer rather than the entire team through direct messages and other private channels.
  • Zoom: This popular video-conferencing app can be used for team collaboration.

3. Work on Time Zone Grab Advantage:

One possible solution to this problem is to use the “golden hours,” which are the hours when your time zones overlap and both you and your team are available. You only need the time zones for you and your team to calculate them. For example, if you are in London (UTC) and your team is in Ukraine (UTC+2), you will be in sync. There is a 2-hour difference, but if you and they both start work at 9 AM and work 8-hour days, you have five hours per day to interact — 9 AM-2 PM for you and 1 PM-5 PM for them. As long as all meetings and discussions are moved to those times, the problem is solved — instant communication is available.

An aspect of dealing with time zone differences is to maintain a shared calendar. Google Calendar, World Clock Meeting Planner, and Timezone.io can all help with this.

4. Schedule Everything:

Schedule daily stand-up meetings, weekly progress reports, and monthly “all-hands-on-deck” demos for the entire team if you have “golden hours.” This allows you to keep your finger on the pulse and resolve any roadblocks or bottlenecks that arise. These meetings are also beneficial for sharing ideas and accomplishments, as well as staying accountable and aligned with one another.

Your remote team will be working in a different time zone and from a different location. Maintaining strict attendance at scheduled meetings will help you organize your day and the workflow of your team. Meetings that are not held on time can lead to communication breakdowns, delaying the launch of your project.

Meetings, pair programming, scrum, and Q&A sessions should all be scheduled for a few hours per day for maximum productivity. Aside from that, give the developers control over their working hours.

5. Utilize Team Time Tracking Tools:

While you can have each member install a timer on their computer and report the tasks and time spent on a daily basis, this is a very inefficient way to use their time. Consider using dedicated time-tracking tools for development teams instead.

  • Jira – It is a software development industry standard. Jira may appear intimidating at first glance, but actual developers will frequently require only the Kanban board functionality — which is fairly intuitive and simple. Furthermore, it integrates well with the Atlassian infrastructure and has a strong synergy with Slack.
  • Asana – Asana is a friendlier competitor to Jira. It almost has the same features as the iPhone but has a much better user experience and less clutter. It’s also less expensive, with a trial version available for teams of less than 15 persons.

6. Hire Self-Motivated and Organised Developers:

Determine whether your potential employees are motivated — and what motivates them. In order to gain insight into how the team members approach remote work, ask specific behavioral questions. Read the reviews and feedback from your employees’ previous clients on Clutch to prepare for interviews.

Trust your team once you’ve made your decision and hired them. There is still mistrust of remote teams, and you may end up wasting brainpower on constant worries rather than your primary focus. Finally, keep in mind that experience is the most valuable asset you can have.

Related Post: Guide: How to Hire A Remote Software Developer?

7. Improve communication within the team:

This is possibly the most important aspect of managing a remote development team. Communication is essential for successful remote development (or work in general).

The most important issue for a remote team is communication. Meetings and working with people from different time zones are difficult to schedule. Make sure you have a strict schedule, an organized workflow, and that your team is up to date on everything. We stress the significance of stand-up meetings. They should be brief, pertinent, and consistent.

To keep the project running, you need a mix of synchronous and asynchronous communication. When all parties are present and active, synchronous communication is defined as live messaging or video conferencing. Asynchronous messaging is used when messages are sent infrequently and a response is not required immediately.

8. Keep Policies Transparent:

It’s easy to lose track of people you don’t see every day at work. However, you must keep the remote team updated on what is going on in the company. Everyone should be aware of the company’s goals, critical decisions, changes in strategy, and other important information. Make sure to document everything and send it to everyone on your team, whether they are on-site or not. Transparency allows your remote team to understand what success means for your company and what they need to do to get there.

9. Build Processes (Development, Reporting, Delivery, Software Over Docs):

It’s highly unlikely that putting random people from all over the world in a virtual environment will result in them producing outstanding work right away. Processes are required to make it happen. A methodical approach to managing a remote team is essential for your project.

The Agile Manifesto’s core principles can unquestionably be applied to distributed teams. For example,

  • software trumps documentation.
  • responding to change trumps sticking to a plan.
  • quality interactions trump tools.

To foster Agile development methodology with your remote teams, use continuous integration, encourage knowledge sharing, and prioritize communication.

10. Provide Constant Feedback:

The speed and thoroughness with which you provide feedback determine the outcomes of each iteration and sprint. Discuss which tool you will use with your project manager so that you can keep everyone up to date on your decisions and tasks.

Providing timely feedback is critical as the product is being developed, especially in the case of software, where a minor bug or error can make all the difference. As a result, for each iteration and sprint, provide detailed feedback.

11. Lift Team Spirit – We Vs Them:

Being a member of a team you’ve never met before is very different from having colleagues you see every day. It can be difficult to form bonds with a remote team, but avoid developing a “we” vs. “them” mentality. Treat them as if they are a member of your team who just happens to work from a distance.

Here are some pitfalls to avoid when working with both a remote and an in-house team:

  • Treat the remote team the same as the in-house team, including using the words “them” and “us.”
  • Ensure that the remote team is represented in all meetings, work, and other activities.
  • Facetime on a regular basis and make an effort to connect with team members.

In addition, take a brief business trip to meet the IT professionals you’ve hired in person. This is an excellent start to your project. While on-site, you can hold a few sessions to resolve any outstanding issues with your project. In this case, neither you nor your team members will be pressed for time, and everyone will be committed to communicating together in the same meeting room.

12. Risk Assessment and Backup:

Before beginning the project, a comprehensive assessment must be performed to identify risk factors in knowledge management, task assignment, geographical flexibility, cultural differences, technology/infrastructure setup, and so on. Similarly, there should be a backup plan in place to keep the work on track if things get out of hand.

Some of the difficulties that may arise include:

  • Time constraints: projects frequently go over budget. One solution is to have a strong discovery phase. Filling in every detail at this stage has aided ProCoders’ remote development teams.
  • Lack of funds is another factor that could cause the budget to fail. To cut costs, hire remote developers from countries like Ukraine, where wages are lower but the quality is high.
  • Unreliability: Certain models of hiring developers for a remote development team are riskier than others.

However, you must have faith in the team. Managing programmers entails having faith in them. When you hire an offshore company, treat their employees as individuals who can make your idea a reality rather than as property. Encourage and treat them as team members. They already value your project as much as you do. If you don’t study what’s been done and provide constructive feedback, you risk wasting more time redoing things because you didn’t pay attention earlier. Listen to your developers and designers if you don’t have a technical background to gain a better understanding of the functionality.

At the start of your project, you should have a proper plan in place, as well as backup solutions in case something goes wrong. In terms of making the situation go away, a backup plan does not always work. However, it must at the very least mitigate the consequences of the situation. In software development, adaptability is a critical success factor.

13. Reward Your Remote Development team & Programmers:

You are the leader of your team, and your employees will look to you for approval. In team management, giving tasks is one thing, but giving praise for work done is another. Praise will undoubtedly improve your team’s performance. You can begin each meeting on a high note by praising the work done thus far.

Give them cash bonuses for going above and beyond their duties, such as staying late to solve a critical problem on a regular basis. It may appear to the most pragmatic managers to be an unnecessary waste of time. However, having a positive team culture often leads to faster and more effective development.

14. Involved in team-building activities:

For building a proper team you must do activities like casual chit-chat at the beginning of a conference call, play icebreaker games, etc.

Conclusion:

If you’ve always worked in the same building as your colleagues, you’re in for a rude awakening. However, if you stick with it and learn to manage remote teams, you will reap enormous benefits. Great developers work in teams all over the world, and the quality of their work is never determined by their geographical location.

Working with a remote team may appear to be more difficult than working with an in-house team. You can accelerate development progress by focusing on a few key areas such as adhering to work procedures established with the team, proper scheduling, and demonstrating enthusiasm. Your company benefits from remote and on-site developers. Only by recognizing and appreciating their contributions can you successfully manage a remote team.

Frequently Asked Questions: