The pandemic caused the number of remote workers and cross-border hires to skyrocket, but even before that, the software development industry was one of the most remote management-oriented industries.
For more than a decade, programming team members have been spread across the globe, giving tech companies incredible advantages like a wider talent pool at more affordable prices.
Paradoxically, managing a remote development team at the same time is one of the most complex management challenges a company can face. Luckily, we’ve acquired enough expertise over the years to help you identify the best practices that will make your project a success. Take note!
1.- Hire Developers Who Are Used to Working Remotely
Working remotely involves a specific set of soft skills, including self-management, assertive communication, and the ability to block out distractions in order to remain productive. These skills aren’t necessarily taught in college, and they’re certainly not easy to learn while working for companies where micromanagement is rampant.
Even the most brilliant dev can be a huge disaster for your team and a pain for leaders to work with if they’re only used to working in person under a leadership style that involves a lot of handholding. On the other hand, a dev with good remote employee references shows that they’re adaptive and take initiative.
2.- Make the Onboarding Process a Priority
It’s worth spending a bit more time onboarding and discussing everything in detail at the beginning so you can avoid risking your workflow being impacted by preventable mistakes.
A good onboarding process includes, among other things, all of the following elements:
- Developing manuals and visual guides that cover all the processes and FAQs
- Keeping all the necessary information in the same place
- Testing environments that allow new team members to familiarize themselves with their new tasks in a risk-free way
- Developing a sense of belonging and alignment with company culture
- Peer mentoring to improve the learning curve
- Team building activities
3.- Use Collaborative Work Tools that Are Specially Designed for Developers
Every remote team uses communication and workflow tools like Slack and Trello. In addition to these tools, software development teams need programming platforms that allow them to work on collaborative projects and create test versions.
Right now, GitHub is the best example of this kind of platform. It’s a free coding platform that allows you to host your apps, make revisions, and manage complete projects. Other examples of similar platforms on the market are GitLab, SourceForge, and GitKraken.
4.- Bring Up Long-Term Solutions and Objectives
Focus on making sure your developers understand the objective of what they’re doing, the specific problem or need that they need to solve in the code that they’re creating, and the deadline.
If your onboarding was done properly, they should understand the style guidelines already. Then they can let their imaginations run wild and provide you with more innovative solutions. This is the exact opposite of what happens when you micromanage.
5.- Let Your Team Leader Lead
Speaking of micromanagement, the good news is that team leaders that spend all their time and energy explaining every little detail that every team member needs to do are, luckily, becoming obsolete. The typical team leader, the other type of leader that probably disappears quickly, works a lot more on the code that they’re interested in integrating, and then throws everyone else’s work under the bus.
As you can see, in order to find the team leader’s sweet spot, you’ll need to make sure that your company isn’t afraid to innovate, delegate, or give someone the ability to guide their devs, offer them feedback, and look for new tools.
In a nutshell, your leader should be an expert full stack dev, but their main job isn’t to program or teach others how to do so.
6.- Break the Silos
Most articles that discuss remote team management recommend over communicating. This is understandable given that a lot of important communication elements like tone of voice and body language don’t show up on digital communication channels.
We believe that overcommunication can easily turn into micromanagement. The best way to remedy that is to promote specific team building spaces so team members can develop their sense of belonging and trust within the group. But of course, this doesn’t necessarily solve all the communication problems that remote teams can encounter.
So, instead of sending your devs reminder after reminder with the specifications that they should already know, your time will be much better spent making sure that they have direct access to all the company knowledge that they need. That way it’s up to them to look for the answers to any questions they may have.
For example, imagine if a weird bug came up in the code, and one of your devs found the problem and solved it. After congratulation them, ask them to write down where they caught it, how they identified the problem, and how they solved it. This record can be written or on a video. You can then add it to an internal resource and FAQ library that the rest of your devs can consult in the future whenever they need it.
7.- Gamify to Become More Competitive
There’s nothing like a little bit of healthy competition to boost productivity. The easiest way to do this is to make sure all your devs can see what everyone else is doing so they can compare their performance to that of their teammates.
There are tons of ways to do this. You can use a leaderboard, real-time collaborative sprints, team competitions to see which one finds a coding error first, etc. Don’t forget that gamifying also means rewarding the best team members!
At Workana, we know that managing a successful remote team starts with hiring the right talent, and we specialize in finding just that. With certified, curated, and goal-oriented developers, you can scale your project in record time.
Check out our seven-day, risk-free trial and find out why more and more international clients are choosing us.
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