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Top 8 Strategies on How to Manage Remote Developers

Top 8 strategies on how to manage developers remotely

How to manage remote developers in 2022? It is a question that every manager or business owner wants the answer to.

Even though the concept of remote work is not new, it took a pandemic for people to actually leverage its benefits. However, given the many benefits that remote work culture offers, managing a remote software development team can be a daunting task at times. In this blog, we have added a list of the top 8 strategies or tips on how to manage remote developers and everything you need to know about the remote work environment. So, if you're an employer struggling to efficiently supervise your distributed team, then this article is for you.

Let’s get started!

The remote world: Everything you need to know

With the world going online, companies are now migrating their workloads to the cloud and embracing digital transformation for managing software development teams. COVID-19 also significantly disrupted traditional work practices and pushed the digital transformation agenda ahead, which could have taken several years to actually come into practice.

The global trends suggest remote work is here to stay and is very much the future for the IT industry. There are good reasons for this trend, which include several benefits that have challenged conventional norms and provided a better alternative for companies to operate with better efficiency and productivity. Remote work has disrupted different industries and propelled companies to adjust their workflow to align with changing work dynamics of the industry.

Digital transformation has also impacted how we work and has made remote staff possible for many companies. With the right tools and technology, companies can greatly profit from remote work culture. You get a broader talent pool, save office space costs, improve employee morale, better flexibility, enhanced productivity, less turnover, higher job satisfaction, and reduced gas emission due to lack of commute.

Most of the studies conducted by reliable analysts have indicated that most employees prefer the remote work setup. In fact, a bigger percentage of professionals are opposed to returning to offices full-time. So if you are planning to go remote, or are still coming to terms with the remote management of your employees, here it is worth noting that the remote work setup has its own advantages and challenges. Some of the biggest challenges that remote companies face include implementing effective remote collaboration, managing productivity, aligning different time zones, and keeping employees engaged.

However, these challenges should not deter companies from going remote since there are efficient solutions to deal with these obstacles, and the overall benefits of remote work far outweigh the drawbacks. This is why it is important to know the best practices for managing remote teams - including implementation of policies, hiring the right remote software developer, as well as integration of workflows that make remote an unqualified success.

With the world already littered with horror stories, there has been a systematic distrust among companies. But, a well-calculated strategy in place can do wonders for you. Therefore in order to successfully manage a remote software development team, you must find more promising ways to ensure employee productivity such that you do not hinder your business growth.

As a company that advocates for remote work and has fully committed to integrating remote work culture within their organization, we have put together this blog.

How to manage remote developers?

With benefits such as lower costs and increased productivity comes challenges such as not being able to see teammates in person and lack of constant interaction. To tackle such challenges, go through the following steps and effectively leverage the power of the different tools as well as strategies to get the most out of your remote software development team.

Set clear expectations from the get-go

Remote developers are a great asset to a company; that’s why it is extremely crucial to effectively manage them in order to get the most out of it. Before taking any action, you must first analyze and gather key details about the projects that might include, the end result expectation and deliverable dates for key tasks. Determine specific and measurable goals and get a clear idea of what you are trying to accomplish.

When you communicate your goals, objectives, and overall vision from the get-go, everyone knows what’s expected of them and what they’re supposed to do in order to accomplish the set goals.

You can consider documenting such expectations and sharing them with candidates when you are hiring for the remote software development team. This is a hassle-free way to easily communicate your expectations to your employees. It can also greatly assist in finding and hiring the right candidate who can put their best foot forward to meet your company's expectations.

Establish a communication strategy and channel

Constant communication (that is not intruding) is the key to successfully managing your remote software development team. If you don’t want to lose time waiting for the response from your teammates, it is better to set up multiple communication channels. You can try chat applications such as Slack for regular and quick day-to-day communication and save emails and phone calls for more critical and important things.

Consider the following steps to maintain regular communication practice in place -

  • Keep regular stand-up meetings to keep track of the progress of the project that your remote software development team is working on.
  • Check-in from time to time to see if there are any bottlenecks or questions about the project.
  • Consider conducting monthly or bi-weekly meetings to discuss OKRs (objectives and key results), discuss any blockage and offer feedback. This makes sure all your team members are on the same page.
  • Make use of pictures, videos, graphs, and other engaging mediums to make sure all team members (technical and non-technical) understand what’s being discussed.

Make use of the right technology

The transition to a distributed workplace and effectively managing remote developers can be daunting and frustrating at times. But with the right set of tools and technologies, it becomes much easier to bind your remote development team and make sure they all work as one.

Consider investing in tools such as chat applications like Slack, video conferencing tools like Zoom or Google Meet, and project management systems like Asana or Jira. Investing in such tools saves time and money on unnecessary meetings and helps keep the technical team on the same page. Additionally, you can make use of some time zone management tools that help with the streamlining of work in different time zones of your remote software development team. The best part about such tools is that you can efficiently schedule meetings that do not overlap with team members’ off time.

Utilizing these tech tools does not only help you to collaborate on the same project. It is also great for brainstorming and communicating with cross-functional team members who might be working on a different project.

Avoid micromanagement

Micromanagement is one of the reasons why employees leave an organization. It plays a critical role in killing creativity and innovation, breeds mistrust, and causes undue stress and frustration among team members. Nobody likes to work with a “control freak” after all.

That’s why if you want to effectively manage your remote software development team, you should condemn micromanagement. Find better ways that set your team members up for success, allow them to make decisions, and grow and improve with the consequence.

One of the ways to build a healthier relationship is by talking to them. Be open to giving and receiving feedback as well; it encourages them to succeed. When you manage expectations rather than tasks, you get motivated and happy employees who deliver great work on time. So allow your remote software development team members the autonomy they deserve.

Indulge in team-building and motivational activities

Motivated employees are the key who can actually make a difference between success and failure. Many successful companies make sure to establish calculated efforts to take full advantage of team-building exercises and reap long-term rewards.

Suppose you overlook the power to build stronger relationships with your employees. In that case, you may lose out on boosting productivity, retention, engagement, and morale, especially if your team is distributed across multiple locations or working from their homes. That's why you must take some time out of everyone's busy schedules in order to allow them to build strong relationships within the team. This ultimately leads to quality and timely project deliverables that can greatly impact how well they work together going forward.

Some strategies you can explore to promote team-building and increase productivity in your remote setup are -

  • Team rewards on reaching a milestone,
  • Offering performance-based incentives,
  • Regular games and fun meets
  • Conducting regular Yoga sessions, among other related activities.

Contracts and NDAs are must-haves

There are high chances that your remote software development team needs to work with some confidential information during the project's life. That’s why it is always important to keep a contract or a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) ready before you onboard someone on your team. The main intent behind signing an NDA or a contract is to protect shared and confidential data. This can prevent a breach of any disclosures and allows the aggrieved party to exercise their legal rights. It is also a sign of respect. When a professional signs an NDA, it means they respect your company and are ready to start a business relationship on the right foot.

If you don’t have any contracts or NDA in place, it can lead to exposure of confidential data, which could result in lost revenue, intellectual property rights, or other vital impacts that can be damaging to your business. Furthermore, without an NDA, you don’t have any legal right to ensure that consequences are imposed on the offender.

That’s why you should give utmost importance to creating such contracts and make sure you follow the following tips while doing so -

  • Ensure your NDA is clear and concise. It includes all the information regarding what data should be kept confidential.
  • Create boundaries by stating who owns what, what information can be shared, and how long the information should be confidential.
  • Mention you have legal protection and you can use it in case of any breach.

Support centralized and cloud-based workflow

Centralized and cloud-based workflow software solutions improve the accessibility that allows your remote software development team members to access the required systems whenever and wherever they need them. It enables close collaboration on projects even when they can't have quick interaction in order to manage their work responsibilities. It makes remote team management easier.

Cloud systems not only offer quick accessibility but also enable you to quickly scale and keep up with the growing demands of your company. It also assists you in accelerating the business by encouraging you to move with more velocity. In case you’re a startup and want to launch new products or even strategies, centralized and cloud-based workflows can assist you in doing so with minimum compliance and financial risks. However, make sure to include strict security policies and follow data security compliances to ensure that certain employees only have access to the information they need to manage their work.

The future of remote work hinges on the cloud, so investing in the technology and supporting your growing remote workforce is extremely necessary. Furthermore, instead of using cluttered cloud-based tools, you can make use of a unified digital workplace platform from which your teammates can access all the tools, data, and files through a centralized dashboard enabling only one source of truth.

Support Agile methodology

Agile workflow is the key to helping your remote software development team thrive. Agile allows you to break down your project goals into short iterations. These short iterations can then be delegated to your team members after establishing clear objectives and goals for what they need to work on and the delivery deadline.

When you focus more on small goals instead of bigger project goals, it becomes much easier to track everything and ensure on course to meet the final project deadlines. Additionally, in case of any bugs, you can make changes in real-time without actually affecting the timeline of the overall project.

Here’s a list of ways in which Agile methodology can help your remote team grow -

  • You plan and establish clear milestones for each short iteration called sprints which means each member of your team is informed of the goals, expectations, and timelines for every task from the get-go.
  • Agile eliminates the need for keeping unnecessary meetings and instead enables you to conduct regular stand-up meetings. Wherein, each member is expected to “stand up” and share progress updates about the tasks that they’re working on.
  • Agile also promises flexibility and higher collaboration while ensuring you get the work done within the project timeline.
  • It also minimizes the risk of failure such as investment risks to productivity risks, by getting rid of communication gaps and expectation differences.

Don’t overlook DEI strategies

It is extremely crucial to not ignore DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) strategies and overlook cultural and language barriers. When you bring diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives into your workplace, you get improved productivity and better financial results. A team with diverse talents who bring in broader knowledge, experience, and expertise automatically drive innovation and set your business for success.

You can follow the following steps to infuse DEI into your organization’s DNA -

  • Analyze your current status concerning DEI strategies already in place.
  • Communicate the identified gaps with your stakeholders early.
  • Make sure to answer questions such as Why now? Why such an approach? How can it benefit the organization?
  • Include the return on investment benefit of DEI.
  • Set measurable goals and integrate your strategy with other initiatives like employee retention or capturing a new market.
  • Focus on sustainable change to drive better business outcomes.

Focus on mental health

People who work remotely tend to suffer from mental health issues owing to loneliness and lack of physical presence. Ensuring optimum mental health of your remote employees is not only the right thing to do, but it also goes a long way in ensuring high productivity in the workplace. A company that facilitates and promotes discussions on mental health and takes an active role in helping its employees deal with those issues tends to perform far better in numerous metrics.

So if you have a remote team, you should have a dedicated mental health strategy and support system for your remote employees. This will ensure that the employees are happy in their remote workspace and thereby contribute towards the team goals of the company consistently.

Conclusion

As hard as working with remote software development teams can be, a well-planned strategy can make your life easier. Follow the above-mentioned steps and effectively manage your teams remotely.

There may be times when these tips might not work, then the only way forward is to be more creative and find other ways to motivate your remote team. There are always two sides to everything, but in the end, what matters is whether you gave it your best shot. That’s why always put your best foot forward and strive to do better when managing your remote software development teams.

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Author

  • Anupriya Singh

    Anupriya Singh

    Anupriya is a content writer well-versed in researching and writing on an array of topics. She works closely with businesses and helps them get rapid and organic growth through compelling digital marketing content. When not working, you can find her reading or sketching.

Frequently Asked Questions

The key to managing a remote software development team is to create an inclusive and diverse company culture. You have to take simple steps like setting clear expectations and establishing clear communication. Also, you have to recognize and appreciate the team’s contributions to motivate and manage a remote team successfully.

Yes, software developers can work remotely. Since the software solutions are digital-oriented, remote work is a very viable option for software developers. And with all the latest tools and applications geared toward making remote work easy, working remotely has become incredibly convenient for professionals working in the software field. These developers just need a well-functioning computer system with the right tools and good internet connectivity to work remotely.

There are several challenges and obstacles faced by companies in managing remote teams. Some of the prominent ones include managing remote collaboration across projects, dealing with productivity issues, and managing the varying time zones of different members located at numerous geographical locations. However, with remote work becoming a prominent work model, there are several tools now available that ensure that companies can easily deal with the different challenges of managing remote teams.

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