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How to manage a remote software team

For some years now (even before Covid-19 hit us, forcing us to adapt to a new reality of working), many companies started following the increasingly common practice of having remote teams. Why? Because remote teams are a great way of cooperating and leveraging skilled specialists. In the case of software development, hiring a remote team of developers and engineers is a great strategy for success.

Now more than ever, companies, big and small, around the globe are leveraging remote work to their advantage by hiring tech talent remotely. Let us tell you why:

It’s Cost-effective: Keeping an office operating is expensive, as simple as that. Without an office, you don’t need to worry about paying rent or any of the necessary services; with a remote team, those expenses no longer fall on your plate. Also, hiring software developers from other countries can be cheaper than hiring within your own country. Depending on where you are based, this could mean saving anywhere from 20% to 70% of your budget.

Top talent at the tip of your fingers: As you might know, some web development projects require strong technical expertise, and there’s no reason to limit yourself to your local area. Hiring remotely allows you access to a pool of tech talents around the world, so you can select the best website developers for your project.

Increased Productivity: Flexibility makes remote workers happier, that’s why working remotely can actually make employees more productive. Working remotely allows your employees to create their own space to concentrate and eliminate distractions. Also, your remote team is free to take more breaks, letting them come back to their work feeling refreshed and therefore making them more efficient and productive. 

Now, managing a remote software team is not an easy task and the whole operation of your business depends on its success. Let us give you some tips to succeed and stay on top of your remote management skills.

Tip 1: It’s all about communication

Good communication is crucial in any team, without it hardly any project can be successful. Maintaining excellent communication within your company is even more important. Being located remotely throughout different regions can pose big communication challenges, for example, it can be difficult to schedule meetings and work with people in different time zones. Here are some tips for you to maintain outstanding communication with your whole team, regardless of where they are based:

  • Make sure to have an effective schedule, organized workflow, and that your team stays up-to-date with everything. Try to find the best time for team meetings and stick to a solid communication plan.
  • Be present at the meetings, we know sometimes remote meetings are hard to attend but pay as much attention as you can and make sure everyone is engaged and focused. It will also help if you make the meetings short and to the point.
  • Make the meetings participative – even if everything goes perfectly well, everyone should be ready to participate.
  • Build a solid rapport with every team member. You need to communicate with them clearly and make sure that both your in-house team and your remote teams are on the same page.

Tip 2: Take advantage of your tools

If it wasn’t for technology, remote work wouldn't be possible. Tools and applications haven’t just made our work life easier, but they help our teams be more productive and organized. Using the right management and communication tools will help you efficiently structure your workflow.

Far from helping you organize and manage your team, the right tools can assist you in creating the right work culture and engaging the people in your team. 

Here’s are some useful tools for you to use (if you are not using them already): 

  • Slack for team collaboration. It’s an excellent platform to create various channels and dedicated spaces where your team can collaborate and communicate with each other. 
  • Zoom for video conferencing. This video-conferencing application can be used to collaborate with your team members; it allows up to 10,000 participants.
  • InVision for design and prototyping. InVision centralizes your entire workflow so you can collaborate at every stage of your process.
  • GitHub for software development. t’s a free code hosting platform for team collaboration and version control. 
  • Trello for project management. It allows you to create different boards for various projects and use lists and cards to manage tasks.
  • Google Drive for documents and spreadsheet collaboration. Developers frequently use G-Drive to share and store documents on the cloud without having to worry about backup and physical storage.

Tip 3: Build a healthy work culture

Apart from simple tools, there are also other things that keep the remote teams together. Without a traditional in-house working environment (with coffee breaks, conference room meetings, happy hours or lunch), you need to create other spaces and procedures in other to build a good work culture based on shared values and a sense of responsibility. 

It’s highly unlikely that if you gather random people from around the globe in a virtual environment, they will immediately start producing outstanding work. To make it happen, you need processes. A process-oriented approach to managing a remote team is crucial for your project.

Remote employees often feel isolated as they work without having direct interaction with their colleagues. We recommend you encourage continuous integration and knowledge sharing, and prioritize communication to allow an agile development methodology with your remote teams. Here are three helpful actions you can apply to your management skills in order to improve a healthy work culture within your team, while improving productivity. 

  • Avoid micromanagement: Give your employees the freedom to do what they do best, that’s why you hire them. Communicate clearly your project goals and let go of the outcome. 
  • Focus on long-term goals: Instead of tracking every step of the project, focus on long-term goals to increase productivity. Give your remote workers a problem instead of a solutions, they will be more creative. 
  • Reduce busywork: Automate everything that can be automated and make sure that your team has fun working working for you. Encourage your workers to find solutions and organize their work on their own, trying to avoid routinary tasks as possible.

Tip 4: Work around Time Zones

If you succeed in not micromanaging, you are already on the other side of good management skills. Good remote developers tend to be independent and self-organized by nature, so they will surely appreciate you giving them freedom to organize their time. However, what happens when your remote software team is located throughout different time zones?

Don’t be scared about different time zones, with good organization and management skills, they won’t become an obstacle, rather an advantage for your projects. If you have a remote in close timezones, overlapping hours when you and your team are available, also known as “golden hours” will be a great asset for your team’s organization. Try to squeeze as many meetings as posible to those times for instant communication.

If your time zones are extremely separated and golden hours are not something you can achieve, then you can use the different working hours to your advantage. If your developers are ahead of your time zone, use this as an opportunity to review their work the same day and immediately assess and coordinate the next steps. On the other hand, if you are ahead of your developers’ area, this gives you the opportunity to prepare everything your team needs in order to complete the tasks.

Tip 5: Reward your team

As a team lead, your developers look up to you, so make sure you continuously provide feedback to your whole team. It’s important that you find the right balance between positive and negative feedback, however be sure to let your good employees know they are doing a great job whenever its necesary. This will not only encourage your team to perform better but it will keep them competitive in terms of individual performance. 

Don’t forget to give your team compliments and to explain them what exactly you like about the course of the project. The more you praise your team, the better output you will get from them. Be sure to give constructive feedback and don’t forget to send them small presents to show your appreciation (like t-shirts, mugs, and badges with your company logo on them). 

Summing up

If you learn to manage remote teams, you will gain incredible perks. Remember that the quality of work is never determined by a geographical location, and a properly managed team can do wonders for your projects. Don’t be afraid of extending your engineering team with highly skilled global talent. At Intersog we can help you, by providing you a flexible nearshore workforce solution of highly skilled tech talent, tailored to your company’s needs.




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