The most significant challenge with remote teams is that it’s all too easy to stand in the way of progress. Poor practices and inexperienced management will quickly drive away those same developers and turn remote projects into administrative nightmares. If this has happened to you, and you need help selecting the right company, tell us what you need. We can do the work for you and connect you with up to 5 companies within 72h that match your need- all for free.
Don’t: Overcomplicate the Process
You don’t have to implement a large array of new processes and administrative structures simply because your team has turned into a remote one. Most of the tools you need for effective remote management should already be in place.
Plugging remote developers into issue trackers, code repositories, and project management solutions is no more difficult than onboarding a new employee. Keeping things simple not only buys more time-on-task but adds goodwill and productivity from employees too.
The largest change you’re likely to need before shifting to a team that’s 100% remote is an improved video-conferencing solution. However, in recent years, most already have that in place too!
Do: Communicate Well
Effective communication is key to both remote development and in-house teams. Neither can function effectively without it. Having a team distributed far and wide is an excuse, if anything, to formalise that process and make sure it happens well.
Having a timetable in place for daily/weekly/monthly calls makes it harder to let things slip. Catching up at regular intervals makes sure no project surprises are hiding in waiting.
Finding the right tools for the job can make a big difference too. Videoconferencing suites such as Zoom or Hangouts do a great job of replacing the face-to-face meetings that would conventionally happen in the office.
Instant messaging apps such as Slack, on the other hand, do a better job at replacing the informal communication that happens between individuals and groups. It’s a great way to keep tabs on progress and exchange ideas about current development.
Don’t: Overlook Intelligent Recruitment for Remote Teams
This doesn’t mean changing your hiring process to focus only on candidates with extensive remote experience, however, nor does it mean ignoring personality traits and questions at an interview. A remote team communicates just as often, if not more, than in-house developers. The right developer hired to complete a team will still have to fit in as part of the wider group.
Do: Use Remote Teams to Your Advantage
Time zones are often seen as one of the major hurdles to working with a remote team. Under the right circumstances, however, they can be one of your biggest assets.
Having developers available and naturally logging on early or late can be a great way to have assistance available at all hours to troubleshoot live systems. This offset pattern has many benefits on overall efficiency.
Whether ahead of your time zone or behind your working hours, having developers with offset schedules allows tasks to happen more efficiently. Rather than waiting until the next day or later, critical tasks such as code reviews can happen ‘after-hours’, ready to be actioned by the end of the day. Getting assets or permissions ready can be done before developers start work, so they can dive in with everything they need already at hand.
Both management and developers can benefit from offset schedules brought about by remote application development. Still unsure if
The single largest pitfall for management to fall into when it comes to remote teams are habits of micromanagement and worries about productivity. Without being ‘on the ground’, it can seem that much harder to trust that the project is progressing at the right place and things are happening as they would in a conventional office environment.
Successful remote development hinges on giving staff time and space to solve problems the same way they would in-house.
When managers dive into the fine details of tasks assigned to developers, it both uses valuable time unwisely and throws out hard-won goodwill between developers and management.
Clear communication schedules, well-defined goals, and deliverables, combined with frank and honest conversations about progress can help to solve many of these issues. Adhering to these systems and standards once they are in place, you will simply need to let developers get on with tasks and see the results as they unfold.
During the development phase, the role of management should be one that removes barriers and roadblocks as a service to the development team. This means letting developers solve day-to-day problems and come to you for solutions as needed.
Do: Focus on the Mid-Long Term Goals
Over-analysing daily goals and targets is another way of micromanaging a project. Changes in estimates and minor slips in the schedule aren’t really concerning unless they’re becoming too frequent or too large.
Project communications should be focused on working towards project milestones such as the Minimum Viable Product, product demo, or launch. Setting up clear goals and milestones that work towards a big picture solution will do far more to keep things on track and under budget.
Successful Team Management Tips
Some of the most helpful tips that help remote team managers should include:
- Keep it simple. Don’t overcomplicate management for remote teams
- Trust your remote teams as you would in-house developers. There’s no difference between the two
- Provide the time and space needed for developers to solve problems
- Keep in touch. Use regularly scheduled catch-up sessions to keep tabs on progress and find out about upcoming roadblocks
- Use time zone changes as one of your best time-saving assets
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