The best remote development team
Thanks to technological advances, remote work has been on the rise for the last few years, and with good reason: it has been proven that companies offering the option to work remotely see a 25% decrease in turnover. In the US, there are plenty of companies that are fully remote and most companies work with at least a percentage of remote workers. It is not shocking to hear that a great number of those companies work in the development field. However, there are also difficulties that come with working with a remote development team. This is why, in this article, we’d like to share some tips to help you create the best remote development team possible.
1. Communication with a remote development team
Communication is an essential factor in any team, but especially so when it comes to remote work. In this case, it is better to over-communicate than to risk some details slipping through the cracks. It is also important to provide regular feedback.
2. Take different time zones into account
On the topic of communication, while one of the advantages for remote workers is that they can work from anywhere, there is a clear disadvantage in having members of your team spread through different times zones. You should make sure to schedule regular communications in the time zone that is most beneficial for all members. Make the most of the hours when all team members are working simultaneously.
3. Don’t micromanage
Nobody likes to be micromanaged, but it is an easy trap to fall into when dealing with a remote development team. Make sure you hire people you can trust and show that trust by empowering them instead of double-checking every move they make.
If your company is not fully remote, it might be best to have your lead-talent in-house and have the remote workers be an extension to maximize your junior developer capacity. This way, the in-house senior developers can be in charge of major reviews and testing.
4. Hire the right people for your remote development team
As we’ve mentioned, you need to be able to trust your remote team members. This means you should pick developers with the right set of skills for your project. Remote developers should have excellent communication skills and, if you are going offshore, you should make sure they have the right level of English to avoid any miscommunication.
5. Provide room for growth
Your company culture should include opportunities for continuous learning and growth to keep your team motivated. This could include anything from online courses and workshops to having knowledge-sharing sessions. Having said that, promoting knowledge sharing is also a way to ultimately add to the growth of your product.
6. Define work procedures for your remote development team
You should have clear guidelines from the get-go in all fields, including productivity, teamwork and accountability. This will ensure the whole remote development team has the same expectations and know what needs to be done and how.
You should also set clear tasks and answer any questions that may arise in as much detail as possible. Answer emails promptly and don’t leave anyone hanging as the team will depend on the information they receive from you. Moreover, consider applying agile methodologies and study how to implement them.
7. Find the right collaboration tools
There is a myriad of collaboration tools available for remote teams. You should focus on your remote development team’s needs and figure out which ones will work best in your particular case. However, there are some essentials that you should incorporate, like an email service, a tool to share files, an instant messaging and video conferencing platform, and project management software. There are many options you can choose from, regardless of whether you are looking for an all-in-one solution (such as Hive or BasicOps) or prefer to use different tools (such as Trello or Jira for management, Google Drive for sharing documents and Zoom or Slack for communication).
8. Keep relevant documentation
As we’ve mentioned, it’s important to define work procedures. However, for these procedures to stick, it is important that you document them. In fact, pretty much everything you discuss should be written down. Make sure you are keeping up to date with the appropriate documentation so your remote developers can refer back to it when necessary as well as comment and provide feedback on it.
9. Use alternative methods to get your point across
Although it is very important to keep documentation, a picture is also worth a thousand words. Pictures, videos or screenshots may prove to be a lot more useful than long documents or email chains when it comes to explaining something or trying to make a point to someone on the other side of a screen. Not to mention, it saves a lot of precious time.
10. Build rapport
After-office meetings or casual Fridays are not an option for most remote teams, so you will need to find other ways to build rapport. Building a personal connection means increased trust and morale, as well as making self-organization easier. You should take the time to get to know each remote developer in your team. You should also make sure to schedule regular video conferencing meetings so remote workers can have face-to-face interactions. As a matter of fact, it is even a good idea to include some 1:1 sessions so they can get to know each other. With new members, you can easily break the ice by having them write an intro blog post to introduce themselves to the rest of the team.
11. Build a culture and share company values
Another important factor to consider when creating a remote development team is making sure everyone is aware of and shares the company’s values and culture. This will help remote workers feel as much a part of the team and the company as those working on-site.
Final thoughts on the best remote development team
As you can see, most of the rules that apply to an on-site team also apply to a remote one. The main difference is that you have to put more of an effort into making sure all relevant information is getting across and everyone feels involved. Not interacting face-to-face with everyone on a daily basis makes it harder for a team to succeed. However, there are plenty of tools to help you create the best remote development team possible and work towards an even more successful development company.