The Do's & Don'ts of Managing a Remote PHP Development Team

Vyom Srivastava, Software Engineer
Vyom Srivastava, Software Engineer
Published: 20.03.2021

Managing a remote PHP development team requires you to track a lot of things. It’s very easy when you’re working with a PHP developer but becomes a difficult task when it becomes a remote PHP development team. You have to adapt strategies and tools which can help you to manage the team and at the same time grow the business.

Every business owner realizes that having the right set of developers is one thing and managing them efficiently is another. You shouldn’t mistake one for the other. However, if 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.

It will be important to ensure that the PHP project development is running smoothly and all tasks are completed on time while staying at the forefront of innovation and technological implementation. It will be a balancing act where on one side, you want to give the team enough creative freedom without burdening them with a list of tasks, and on the other side, you want the team to follow a structure and meet the deadlines.

Yes, it’s tough but achievable when you try to keep the following suggestions in mind:

Do: Communicate with each member of the team

Communication is the key to managing the remote PHP development team. Since you’re managing everything remotely, members can be located in different time zones. You will have to keep in sync with them. I understand that it is a tough job but it will be essential to get the most efficiency out of each member.

What you can do is, create a weekly calendar and connect with each team member after 2-3 days. This will ensure that the project development is running at the right speed and you’ll also have transparency in the progress of the project.

Proper communication software is a must. Slack and Microsoft Teams are examples of popular software used to communicate with the team and for collaboration among team members. These platforms come with many features in addition to messaging such as notifications when anyone pushes the code on Git or gets updates or tasks. Another software which you should consider is Zoom for team meetings in situations when team members have to collaborate in real-time or share the screen.

Do: Track and Manage

Tracking the project progress and the progress of tasks of each member is also very important. You can’t just go on a call every day with each member just to check for the updates, it wastes a lot of time for both parties.

You can use software like JIRA or Trello or other project management tools to check on the team’s performance. These software platforms allow you to break the project into small tickets or issues which gives developers more concise and achievable short-time goals to advance towards the larger project objectives.

Don’t: Set unrealistic expectation and targets

A lot of developers face this issue that their employer wants them to work 12+ hours a day or set an unrealistic target. This can quickly erode productivity and develop into an unhealthy and damaging work environment that will promptly cause a brain leak and become a self-feeding loop very difficult to break away from. It is important to consult and consider the developer’s work pace and available hours as well as their previous experience with similar tasks.

Remember it is always better to overestimate a time frame and have the task completed with time to double-check the work than to underestimate it and have to backtrack on work that had been concluded or release an unfinished product that needs patches after a poor first impression.

The importance of asking the PHP developers themselves how much time the task can take them to complete cannot be overstated. This will seed confidence among the team and allow the developers to learn their own rhythm and manage their own pace so you don't have to micromanage. Express and explain your own timelines and concerns as a manager if the development timeframes your team is requesting are not lining up with yours. Through transparency and negotiation, you can together decide if there are other tasks that can be deprioritized to meet a certain deadline, if there is a way to move your deadline, or if it may be cost-effective to hire additional help or outsource certain parts of a project to meet the deadline.

Don’t: Behave like a boss

Being a leader does not entail being bossy. Managers who tend to point out mistakes, throw around insults and have tantrums to unload their frustrations onto their team, normally have a hard time retaining talent and building up a team that they might find less frustrating. Employees are people too, and it is important to remember that enthusiasm, loyalty, motivation, innovation, and creativity are things that need to be cultivated and can easily be squashed or wither.

Lead your team by example, remember that they are working to help you achieve your goals, and not necessarily theirs. This would by logic entail that you work harder for those goals than you expect your team to work on. Taking interest in your team’s goals can allow you to find overlap with yours and help you find a strategy together that will keep you both motivated.

Cultivating a positive, dynamic, safe, and meaningful work environment is a very effective way of boosting production which is often underrated or forgotten.

Do: Make sure everything is documented

Documentation is very important for a PHP project. For example, if your team is working on a very big project and after six months you want to see why a certain function was created and no one remembers it, documentation could save time and effort in understanding how to proceed with that function; instead of having everyone who worked on that function waste their time checking and figuring out what those lines of code were for.

Documentation not only helps you to understand the project flow but also helps in knowledge transfer. When new members join the team, they can just go through the article and understand the project, saving precious man-hours from being wasted on having someone from the team walk the new member through every step.

Don’t: Underpay the PHP developers

Money can be a very strong motivator up to a point. A competitive salary can help you pull talent away from others who are looking for an excellent PHP development team. If the wages being paid to the PHP developers restricts their standard of living in any way then there’s a very high chance that someone else can pay them a better salary and you may lose valuable assets.

Should you be unsure what the going rate for developers is, and want to make sure you get a responsible and reliable team within your budget, remember, if 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.

While considering the salary you should consider few points:

  • What’s the average salary in the market and can I afford to go higher for veteran developers or do I prefer to invest time on helping a more junior developer catch up to speed.
  • Your budget
  • How much the developer will contribute to the project. The salary should be directly proportional to the contribution.
  • Perks like free food, insurance, etc.

Do: Pay your team ON-TIME

You want your team to deliver the project on time and within the given timeline. Why can’t they expect the same from you when it comes to salary? Money is a very big motivation right?

If you don’t pay them on time, they’ll start losing interest in the project and it’ll impact their performance as well. Indirectly, it’s only gonna hurt your project. To make the payments on time, you can start automated payments which can take care of automatically paying the team members or you can hire an accountant who can take care of all tax and payments.

Final Words

Managing a Remote PHP development team is a tough task, but if you follow some fundamentals and ethics of management, you can create a very healthy environment amongst the team members and it’ll be very fruitful for you also.

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