How to Run a Remote Dev Team

The ability to work remotely has made the business world more fierce and productive because now companies can hire highly-professional teams of workers, and their geographical location is no longer an obstacle. Certainly, it can be difficult to manage remote team members who work in different time zones across the world. This is why we are here – to share our experiences that will better your organization and improve your team’s workflow.

When managing a remote dev team, you should focus on the do’s and don’ts, but remember that don’ts can be applied to almost every team, unlike the do’s. This is what you can do to assign, delegate, and monitor your remote team’s workflow.

Embrace the diversity

This is the first step towards a solid remote revteam communication strategy. Acknowledge that your multicultural team transcends cultural and national borders, which is unique because they can offer insights that are hard to get with monolithic teams. Big organizations favor multicultural teams, as executives believe that innovation can be fostered more easily thanks to their team’s broader knowledge of global trends. Multicultural teams are less likely to have “group-think” mentality because they have very different perspectives when it comes to tackling problems. This allows them to produce better and innovative solutions tailored for specific markets and regions.

Encourage open communication

By encouraging open communication, your remote dev team will feel that they’re an integral part of the company, as well as that the management values their opinions. Thus, staying in close contact is key. Otherwise, your projects will have the risk of falling off-track, and the workers will not be as motivated as they really could be. Use video-conferencing software to have real conversations with your remote workers. Plan short meetings over Skype or Google Hangouts once every few days, and encourage them to communicate with each other. This will boost their motivation and lead to getting things done.

Don’t treat time zone differences as a disadvantage

Think of time zone differences as a benefit. Think of it like that: while you’re working, a part of your team is sleeping, and vice versa. This means that round-the-clock efficiency can be achieved if you assign developers in different time zones with different parts of the project. For example, if you have remote developers ahead of your time zone, you can review their progress on the very same day, and assign new tasks. On the other hand, when you’re ahead, you have enough room to think and prepare everything your developers need to complete a particular task. Make the global clock work to your advantage.

Use simple information systems

Your information systems need to include a good project management system, an SCM (Source Code Management) system, and an issue tracker. These tools are collaborative and will make your management much easier to achieve. For example, a project management solution such as Active Collab allows you to collaborate on projects in real time, delegate and track tasks, stay on schedule and communicate with your developers, as well as clients and vendors.

It is very important to keep things as simple as possible because your information system will be used on an hourly basis. A complicated system will take away some of your precious time, and new team members may take longer to master the information system platform.

Focus on mid- and long-term goals

Avoid micromanaging, or in other words – stop focusing on day-to-day goals so much. Instead, set clearly-defined long-term priorities and communicate the overall plan to your developers. When developers understand the project just as well as you do, they’ll be more useful and productive. For example, when developers understand the implementation details that affect different task prioritization or have insights into the latest technologies, both of you can make sure that your step-by-step milestones will fit better in the overall picture.

Be transparent

Leaking information can be harmful to some businesses, which makes the whole transparency idea problematic. However, developers will be more effective if they know more, both in solving tasks on the fly as well as the predefined ones. This will take a lot of weight of your workflow and make it more productive. Being transparent with your remote team will remove the hierarchy and encourage team members to work as transparently as possible once you consider them as equal team members.

Managing a remote development team can be difficult if you don’t know how to deal with it. It’s not the same as working with an in-house team, and it has its perks that you should master and overcome by turning things to your advantage. With the right tools and by fostering open communication, you can make a solid start with your remote dev team.

About Dan Radak

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