Strategies to optimize your remote development team’s efficiency and engagement

Strategies to optimize your remote development team efficiency and engagement- woorkana blog

In the past, productivity and reliability were used as the main objectives to achieve when it came to managing work teams. Now with remote work and management standards evolving so quickly, it’s much better to work toward sustained efficiency and genuine engagement because that leaves a lot more room for innovation and wellbeing.

Here are five surefire ways to promote these values within your remote dev team:

Productivity and reliability vs efficiency and engagement

Simply put, productivity can be defined as team members turning in their work on time and done correctly. However, the same result can be achieved through overexertion or efficiency

An efficient person is generally productive, and someone who’s productive but not efficient is most likely neglecting other areas of their life. Therefore they’re probably putting their wellbeing at risk which will negatively impact their work sooner or later.

Something similar happens with reliability. A reliable remote team member will turn in what they have to, but that doesn’t mean that they’re genuinely committed to the work and team. That commitment is vital for innovation and exceeding expectations. 

In order to optimize the efficiency and engagement that your remote dev team needs, you’ll need to adopt a mindset that replaces constant monitoring with healthy competition and shift from focusing on work productivity to emphasizing your devs’ overall success, including their wellbeing and personal goals. 

Let’s look at five strategies that create the right psychological conditions to make sure that everyone is giving the best of themselves.  

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1.- Turn delegation into a positive experience

Everyone knows that learning how to delegate is important, but nobody talks about the fact that delegating can feel like praise and motivation to do better for some and a burden for others. It doesn’t depend on the task as much as how you delegate and communicate. 

It’s one thing to say, “you’re the one who has to take care of this, not me.” It’s entirely different to say, “great work, I know I can trust you so I’m going to give you more autonomy. In the future, feel free to take on this responsibility yourself before discussing it with me.

2.- Instead of just rewarding productivity, reward efficient productivity

Let’s say you have two devs who achieve great results and often exceed expectations. But one dev achieves their goals because they use efficient, creative, and innovative strategies, and so they have a lot of free time as a result. The other dev works a lot more hours, progresses more slowly, and doesn’t optimize their processes.

While their end results are similar, the first developer is much more likely to experience job satisfaction and is less likely to have issues that stem from a lack of interpersonal balance.

3.- Replace individual monitoring with a leaderboard

With the advent of remote work, project monitors are relying heavily on tools like monitoring systems that track how much time each team member is putting in. Unfortunately these tend to make team members feel like they’re being micromanaged or not trusted to do the work.

Individual monitoring is definitely necessary, but using healthy competition between pairs to monitor progress is much better. In other words, instead of using a time tracker to find out who’s doing what, you can use a leaderboard that’s visible to everyone so the entire team can follow the individual and team KPIs. You can even create a virtual work environment where everyone can check what everyone else is doing. 

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4.- Offer progress-oriented feedback, not just feedback

This is a way to convert feedback into a true professional growth experience. It’s an art that’s worth mastering if you really want to work with more self-sufficient, motivated devs who make fewer mistakes. 

Progress-oriented feedback relies on two principles: addressing the current behavior or characteristics that have to be increased or corrected, and innovation, or things that either have to be established or prohibited from day one. Using this logic, you can give feedback in the following order: 

  • First of all, talk about what they’re doing well or what they need to do more of. For example: “I like how elegant you made this code; keep up the minimalism.” 
  • What needs to be changed, “I like that you’re taking risks with the integration, but try to follow the manual, especially in this case in particular.” 
  • Setting expectations from the very beginning, “It’s very important that you provide daily progress updates on the leaderboard.” 
  • What not to say, “Finally, we’ll really need you to stop skipping the daily Scrum meetings.” 

If you want to find out more about progress-oriented feedback for remote work, check out our article here

5.- Don’t Underestimate Agile Methods

There are a lot of benefits to using agile methods for remote programming projects. One of the biggest benefits is that they allow the team to work toward a goal that they all agree on and create clear commitments accordingly. 

Daily meetings or Scrum system standups tend to be controversial, especially when team members are spread across the world. But if you keep them concrete, pleasant, brief, and, most importantly, if you manage to establish perfectly achievable daily goals at each one, it’ll help your devs start a more energetic sprint instead of sapping energy from them.

Remember, hiring the best qualified talent is the first step to build your dream team of highly efficient devs. In other words, your dream team should be composed of professionals with proven expertise and experience working remotely who are committed to delivering a job well-done.  

At Workana we understand what you’re looking for, which is why we find the developers with all the skills you need in record time. If you’re still not convinced, we also offer seven-day risk-free for each dev so you can make sure that you’re hiring the best candidates possible for the job.

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