A Guide to Building a Remote Software Development Team

The constantly increasing need for software developers combined with the current Covid-19 crisis has elevated the demand for remote teams to a whole new level. These days, business owners from G7 countries are looking to refine the quality of their companies’ work by hiring talented software engineers across the globe. 

Building a remote team of software developers to boost your projects and increase the efficiency of in-house teams is smart. Remote devs are flexible, budget-friendly, and the top-level ones are sure to stimulate your local staff in many ways. Creating remote software teams is particularly relevant during these turbulent times. 

Tips for Leading a Long-Distance Team

Managing a dev team is challenging, irrespective of your whereabouts. However, leading a remote team of agile software development engineers is even harder. If you want this endeavor of yours to be successful, you need to stay open to change 24/7. Because this particular innovation seems to be here to stay! 

In this post, we’ll provide some effective strategies and tips for successfully building and managing a remote software engineering team. These strategies will aid you in:

  • Finding common ground with your employees;
  • Effectively keeping tabs on their performance;
  • Conveying your company’s ideas and making them a priority;
  • Make sure that your long-distance employees follow your train of thought.

1. Enhance Communication

Communication matters a lot when it comes to building a long-distance team of devs. Of course, scheduling meetings and interacting with workers from different time zones is not a piece of cake. However, with the right amount of knowledge and preparation, it’s all feasible. When recruiting a remote team, ensure that all your staff follows a stringent schedule, structured plan of work, as well as stay informed about everything important. Make meetings relatively short, meaningful, and frequent. 

Remember that seeing your team members’ faces and gestures during a meeting is sometimes even more crucial than hearing what they have to say. Therefore, when managing a remote software engineering team, facetime regularly. Seeing your employees’ facial expressions is sure to add a human touch to your partnership, let alone help you understand them better.

2. Use All the Right Tools

Top-notch applications make your life (and work) easier. If you stick with the right tools, chances are you will excel in streamlining your workflow when working with professionals from all over the world. Here are some of the best applications you can utilize when structuring your work with your long-distance or hybrid team:

  • Slack: this messaging remote work app is the closest thing to a digital office, for it brings all your corporate communication together in one place; 
  • Trello: This project management tool is simple and perfect for cross-continental collaboration. With Trello, you get to create various boards for your company’s projects, as well as useful lists and cards for managing important tasks;
  • Github: this app is a dev’s dream come true, for this Windows- and the macOS-oriented app is excellent for hosting application code, as well as reviewing and managing projects; 
  • Zoom: this easy-to-use group calling app flaunts outstanding video quality and reasonable pricing policy;
  • Teamwork: perfect for managing remote teams, this software helps you with an array of duties, from task management to time tracking, work planning, and internal project discussions.

3. Make Long-Term Goals a Priority

Wondering how to bolster productivity in your remote or hybrid development team? Instead of focusing on day-to-day tasks too much, let long-term goals be your staff’s guiding light. Avoid keeping track of your remote workers’ every move. Instead, fill them in on the vital points and your project objectives. Let your remote team members solve problems instead of providing them solutions on a silver platter.

Also, software engineers frequently get bogged down in difficult tasks and risk wasting loads of time-solving them. Therefore, make sure they have several smaller missions to switch to. That way, they’ll get the chance to get back to the harder issues once their head is clearer.

4. Practice Transparency

Sometimes forgetting about people you don’t see in your office daily is the easiest choice. Avoid that scenario at all costs. Instead, keep your remote staff posted on the company news and updates, as well as aspirations, fundamental verdicts, strategy shifts, and other details. Document this info and send it to your remote team members via your tools of choice. As a result, they will easily get to grips with your meaning of success and build strategies to achieve it. 

5. Develop Time Management Strategies

A second to none long-distance team is self-sufficient and reliable. They are good at handling tasks and organizing work processes. However, there’s one issue that may end up being a real problem if you don’t plan your deal-with-it strategy: time management. So, instead of letting different time zones pull you off balance, use this potential obstacle to your advantage. For example, you can benefit from the so-called ‘golden hours’ – the overlapping period of your time zones when you and your staff are up and active. 

6. Use Positive Reinforcement Regularly

Don’t forget that your team looks up to you. So, make sure you provide regular positive feedback for their work, let them know they’re moving in the right direction, thus laying the foundations of a good working environment. Furthermore, send your remote software development team members small presents such as branded badges, bags, mugs, and the like. Along with verbal encouragement and small gifts, you can reward your workers with bonuses based on performance. This will stimulate them to work harder and pour their passion into your mutually beneficial collaboration. 

7. Schedule Is Key

For remote teams, keeping to the schedule is not so easy. If you’re in the U.S. and your team is in Ukraine, your time zones are quite far apart. To solve this issue, see point 4. And don’t forget about allowing your remote software dev team to work flexible hours. Let your workers take charge of their work hours, as long as they are productive and efficient. Whether they prefer to complete their missions in the morning or opt for working at night, allow them to be independent when it comes to making the right choice.

8. Team Spirit Means a Lot

Being a team lead of a team you’ve never met differs from the situation when you have face-to-face meetings with your colleagues daily. Bonding with a remote team is a challenge, but if you want it, you can achieve this mental connection in the best way possible. Let them feel as if they’re part of your team and the distance between you is just a tiny little flaw in your overall highly motivated and successful partnership. 

Below, we’ve listed a few more things to bear in mind when recruiting and managing a remote software development team:

  • do not assume that a talented developer will be a reliable remote employee: when holding a personal interview, pay close attention to their work ethic and potential for self-motivation;
  • don’t make your remote employees cope with tasks that a machine can do better: routine is the enemy of your team spirit. Therefore, prioritize automation and occasionally inject a little bit of fun into your team’s everyday activities;
  • treat your remote workers and your in-house team equally well: always say ‘us’ instead of ‘them’;
  • ensure that your remote staff participates in all meetings, both work- and fun-related;
  • don’t neglect cultural differences: embrace and encourage your team’s diversity. Many business owners believe that these multicultural teams help foster innovation due to their natural ability to approach problems from a variety of perspectives;
  • keep in touch with your remote workers and use facetime regularly.

Bottom Line: Don’t Doubt. Just Do It

Thanks to a treasure trove of apps aimed at boosting remote communication and long-distance project management, there are no longer limitations that used to require a team to share one brick and mortar office. We live in a world where teams of brilliant software engineers from all over the world are literally at your fingertips. Luckily, impeccable work ethic and brilliance are never determined by one’s whereabouts. 

Long-distance collaboration has been around for a while. But Covid-19 has made business owners realize how important diversity and flexibility are. The secret to successfully leading a multicultural team of remote software developers is making your company culture inclusive and all-embracing. Everything comes with its pros and cons, so at the end of the day, what’s paramount is whether you’ll manage to turn it all in your favor or not. 

Once you decide to hire a long-distance software engineering team, learn to trust them. Naturally, there will be a distance between you, both physical and mental. Don’t make this distance grow any bigger by worrying nonstop. Instead, just keep your eyes open and concentrate on your utmost priorities. Take action and go the extra mile to do it right. The outcome will either make you richer or stronger. 

A Guide to Building a Remote Software Development Team
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Thomas Burn is a blogger, digital marketing expert and working with Techlofy. Being a social media enthusiast, he believes in the power of writing.

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