Over the years, remote work opportunities have become a differentiator for retaining the best talent. With the remote development team, you bring resources on board for your projects without allocating physical space in the office. The idea is cost efficient as well as proficient.
Do you know what the biggest challenge is when you have hired remote developers? It is managing the team. This is a genuine concern. Managing a virtual team over different countries is certainly a daunting task.
Don’t make things unpredictable, stressful or difficult. Team management takes a bit of goodwill and planned strategy. This guide will help you successfully manage your remote team in 2019.
Here is what we are going to cover:
- Take out some time to train them
- Clear communication
- Organize the workflow
- Get everybody on the same page
- Tracking is must
- Reward your team members
Having a plan is very important. If you are unsure about your goals, you will certainly land in an awful place. Unable to explain them? Hey, you will end up spending too much money while wasting your and your developer’s time. When you can’t get what you had in your mind, everything goes in vain.
1. Do your homework
Be as detailed as possible. Spend some time beforehand planning objectives and deliverables that will save you both time and money down the line. Make sure all the members of the remote development team know your business objectives. This is quite important as this understanding directly impacts the implementation of the features.
- Share your vision
You own the company and you understand your product or services in a better way than anyone else. You must have thought about the concept before producing the features. It is obvious that you are the one who is very knowledgeable, so be ready to provide answers when the remote web developers ask questions.
- Engage with them
It is very prudent to understand how much time you can spend while collaborating with an offshore development team prior to giving them a task. Developers have a habit of dividing their tasks into different segments and offer weekly updates during the progress. You will see the productivity boost
- Be clear with requirements and priorities
Setting priorities is one of the most important aspects. Throughout the entire process, make sure the requirements and priorities are very clear. When the team knows about the priorities from the very beginning, it helps them to cut back on time spent down the road.
In addition, make clear project guidelines regarding productivity and accountability so that they know what is to be delivered. Explain what you want to be done in detail. Make sure you have included various functionality of the project. Your team will start working on the project dedicatedly once they have a more precise quote and vision.
A key to achieving success is to assemble a strong and stable management team.
2. Take out some time to train them
Don’t assume if someone is a good worker, he will automatically be successful as a dedicated remote employee. There is mastery of certain skills required beyond the industrial knowledge. The good news is that individuals can be taught to be more adept at virtual sites and the companies who take the initiative of training them to reap more benefits.
Don’t let your remote developer feel lonely being remote, encourage them so that they connect with the other employees while taking advantage of various social aspects. Training will make them more comfortable and also confident about their performance.
- Teach them new technology
- Assign a mentor
- Boost morale
- Provide guidance
- Schedule check-ins
- Asses their professional level
- Make them understand the work culture
3. Clear communication
The only winning strategy is an effective collaboration process. It is always important to build a solid rapport with every team member. Keeping in touch with the remote development team will make them feel an integral part of the family.
Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity-Nat Turner
For your daily or weekly meetings, go for video calls, instead of daily or weekly meetings. It is better than emails, documentation and phone calls. This not only saves time but also productivity.
- Schedule weekly meetings
In order to avoid interpersonal gaps, make sure there are frequent meeting for thought sharing. Knowing about loopholes, bottlenecks, accomplishments and staying accountable with one another is important.
- Provide constant feedback
The result of everything depends on how quick you are when it comes to providing feedback. Express your thoughts without using slangs so that no one misunderstands you. A good sense of humor is a great tool to throw a joke once a while during discussions.
4. Organize the workflow
Regardless of the skills of your remote development team, your project will fail if you don’t have a symmetric workflow. Your team will certainly fall apart if your employees living in different parts of the world don’t know what to work on, how to proceed and more.
Set clear deadlines. Install project management tools as they allow everyone to have a brief idea about what others are doing in the team and what all tasks are still pending.
- Collaboration tools
Look for a reliable platform that allows you to manage projects, assign tasks, schedule deadlines, share files and track progress. The leading tools are Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Slack, TeamViewer, and Google Hangout.
Google Drive helps you to work on files and documents simultaneously without downloading and re-uploading. If there are documents that have to be edited by many people, Google Drive is the best option. You can also go from DropBox as it shared documents in your team.
Effective teamwork begins and ends with good communication.-Mike Krzyzewski
Here are some important tools to consider for team management:
|Multiple task handlers||TipHive, Hibox|
|Management tool||Finit, Jira, Trello, Worksection, StoriesOnBoard|
|Documentation tools||GoogleDrive, TipHive, SmartDraw, MadCap Flare,|
|Team communication tools||Skype, Slack, Uberconference, Flowdock, GoToMeeting, ProofHub|
- Have a chat room
Besides having regular audio, video calls, it is also important to boost connectivity by having a chatroom that is always open for the whole team. Because everyone is not sharing the same physical office, this deed makes up for the fact. This is the best way not to bump into one another during the day in order to messages privately or within the whole team. It also enables quick discussions and decision making.
Bonus tip: You can create more than one chat room, one project related and another for non-official chats having cooler conversations.
5. Get everybody on the same page.
Decision making is the most important part of every project. It becomes a little difficult to inform a remote team about the changes that take place. But, it is always good to build a transparent culture across the board. Whenever there is a new updation, it has to be documented and delivered to all. This ensures that everyone is on the same page. This type of data will eventually become a solid foundation for your future management.
- Be tolerant and patient
If you have given a project or task and are waiting for an estimate, don’t lose your cool. Be patient and don’t throw random insulting questions on them. The dedicated remote staff may be asking you a few queries. Answer them in a relaxed manner and this will make your estimate more accurate and enhance the implementation process.
- Understand cultural differences
Cultural differences and language barriers are the two major barriers that most managers have to face when working with a virtual team. Firstly, you have to be knowledgeable about the cultural ethics, language, holidays of the remote. You have to set an example and then your team will follow. This further helps in navigating the cultural diversity in the workplace while preventing cultural misunderstandings as much as possible.
Technical talent should reach a state where it has peak performance. The person working on a project should be fully immersed in it so that he gives his 100%. Always remember that trusting the developers will certainly pay you. Team managers are advised to look for performance rather than attendance.
6. Tracking is must
In the remote world, it becomes difficult to know what is going on, for how many hours they are working because developers are not within your office premises. So, the basic productivity metrics should be tracked: tasks status, daily tasks, working hours and the team’s productivity.
If you are paying your remote developers on an hourly basis, it makes sense to track the hours they are clocking in. Time-tracking tools are helpful in the virtual world because it tells you how long a person has worked and on what have they worked.
Then there are a few tools that track the websites your remote worker visit, the apps they have been using and the total time they are spending with breaks. Make your team understand that these tools are important in order to manage their time in a better way.
7. Reward your team members
You are the boss, the team will look up to you for approval. Giving tasks is one thing and praising them for the work done is another. You can always begin meeting with a kick-off note where you start with praising them for the job done so far. This way, they will know if they are moving in the right direction and what all changes are required.
Show remote workers that you genuinely feel for them. Those employees will be more than happy if you send t-shirts or other gifts of appreciation. You can also reward them will cash bonuses, movie tickets or restaurant coupons. This small gesture of yours will certainly bring great outcomes.
Here is what the leading companies have to say about successful management to build a strong relationship with remote developers.
Let’s read something from the ones who have been successfully handing a team of remote developers and enjoying their work as well. The CEOs of renowned companies share their reviews:
Wade Foster, CEO, and co-founder of Zapier said:
- Hire the one you actually trust and trust the ones you have now hired.
- Set realistic expectations for what you can accomplish. Manage work, not based on hours work.
Jeff Robins, the CEO of Lullabot said:
Remote developers should be self-directors having great communication skills. People who think big and self-manage their tasks. Google Hangout and other tools help to communicate and hire better people. Slack and Skype are the two major communication tools.
Janet Choi, Chief Creative Officer at iDoneThis said:
Over communication messes things very badly. The combination should be proactive so that the physical and psychological distance between is covered. Being more upfront is important because of chatting needs time, both formal and informal. Emotional context should be taken into consideration because transparency is not only about robotic reports and facts, it is also about real-time expressions. The team utilized HipChat and video hangouts for various discussions and Hackpad, Asana and Trello for team collaboration. They look for people who are clear with their perspective and are able to explain the same quite well.
Paul DeJoe, CEO at Equire
Working in the workspace is important but it is always good if the whole team is together in person. To make this possible, the team travels different places, explores the culture of another country and visits different parts of the world. Sometimes, they rent a beach house or a cabin to make things more interesting.
They use getflow.com and screen hero as communication tools. Emails are less and voice chats are more. This is because they believe that ideas should be well-thought and one should not rely on scripted on half-baked.
Damien Filiatrault, The CEO of Scalable Path
They have over 4000 employees collaborating with them across 90 different countries. You can manage a startup with the help of remote workers and can get benefit from the same. There are certain advantages if you hire remote developers:
- It is a cost-effective option especially if the local talent is expensive.
- Increase staff retention with the remote team.
- Cut down your business expenses without affecting productivity.
Follow the work procedure and strive hard for the business objectives but make sure you are taking the whole team along with you. Inspire the team by being genuinely involved, be straightforward by making pre-plans. Provide feedback on the smallest of details. Make it quick today else you will be too late tomorrow.
If you follow the aforementioned techniques for your remote development team, management will no longer be a challenge. Instead, you will easily foster accountability, create a strong communication channel while implementing the right tools for your development team.