“Remote work is the future of work”
Alexis Ohanian, the founder of Reddit had tweeted this way back in 2018, but at this present moment, it seems the future has arrived. Remote working was rare a decade ago unless there was a special case to accommodate. One of the major reasons to not think of remote working was the fear of loss of productivity.
For the publishing industry, in these current times, it has become a modern business strategy trend to hire remote employees or even teams which means it brings in the needed expertise and results in low-cost software development.
Remote working, over time, has proved to be a more productive and lucrative endeavor.in a recent survey, about 75% of people have stated that they are more productive while working remotely due to fewer distractions. And that is a golden opportunity to grab onto. Be it remote workers in different cities, third party support in your own country (onshore), your neighboring country (nearshore) or an entirely different region in a different continent (offshore), the time is to strategize smartly and properly manage a remote software team as the expertise is crucial to your success in your project.
How to effectively strategize your remote software development team?
For any organization, to plan, strategize and organize an effective remote team is very essential. This ensures steady productivity and makes sure everyone adheres to the project delivery timelines. It is not a one-pot random recipe to just pick a random set of people, put them together and expect them to cook up something amazing. It is a careful and calculated decision taken to make it work successfully. Here listed are the top 7 ways that can help you effectively strategize your remote development team.
Hire & Train the Right People
The team you hire is the most important asset for your project. Not everyone can work well or manage in a remote environment. It is important to assemble a team that is capable of performing well in a remote environment. The idea is to hire experienced ‘Doers’ – they know to make sure to deliver even while working from even a remote island.
These experts have the right mindset, attitude and are prepared to work in any given environment. You’ll have to communicate with your remote developers on a regular basis, so you should just be the same with them as the ones you’d be with your on-site employee.
With adequate training, you can gauge the cultural difference, any shortcomings in the communication channel and recognize the weak spots in delivery. These can be fostered with a positive outlook and transparent feedback.
Establish Work Procedures
The team that you are about to work with is surely experienced, but they have never worked with you before. It is important to define ‘how we work’ rules and set procedures to make it feel more powerful and helps build trust on both ends.
Good processes let you get work done in the absence of all else. It clearly establishes a structure and direction for getting things done. Clearly communicate project guidelines addressing productivity, teamwork, and accountability to everyone in the team.
The project, goals, requirements, needed functionality and most importantly, the vision of your project – when all these are communicated clearly, it gives a precise idea for the other team members to work smarter and faster, sharing the same vision as you. This reduces the risk of potential costly mistakes in the long run.
Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!
The trickiest part of working remotely is to get the communication right. Keeping everyone in the loop can be harder than we perceive it to be. With people working across completely different time zones, it is critical to define scheduled meetings regularly (daily, weekly, monthly status call) with your remote team members to ensure everyone is on the same page. This helps all the resources to align, organize and catch-up on the priorities and team’s workflow.
With brainstorming sessions at regular intervals, chalking out new ideas for the project and sharing knowledge with each other is a good practice.
Utilize Collaborative Tools
In a remote team, you’ll need the right tools to make sure everyone stays on the same page and can continue to execute without a physical person standing next to them. For a rapidly growing team, use reliable communication tools like Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, etc can help makes work life easier and sorted.
These tools are created with the sole agenda to structure your teams, ensure collaborative workflow and maximizing productivity. Even there are task management tools available like Slack, Monday, Intercom, Trello, etc that help to follow up on tasks to stay on top of priorities and work assignments to make sure no important deadlines are missed out.
One that is also noteworthy is Milanote – a tool for organizing creative projects into beautiful visual boards. By design, it feels a lot like working on the wall in a creative studio – visual, tactile and seamless. Milanote is a great fit for designers who work in teams remotely. It has hundreds of built-in templates for different projects, offers collaborative boards to work remotely, and possibly every function that you want to use while working in teams.
After every sprint/iteration, it is vital to share transparent and elaborative feedback so the team knows what to work on. And the feedback should be received from everyone involved in the team. A healthy discussion and brainstorming about the project and its future have to be discussed from time to time, extracting a perspective of the team proved to be of great help to charter the further direction for the partnership.
The source code of the project needs to be in a continuous ‘working state’ – this is more beneficial to maintain efficiency and productivity when the team is spread out in different locations with different working hours. Ad hoc communication is not a good way to determine issues. It though builds discipline and maintains steady performance.
The remote team is self-disciplined and practical enough to take responsibility for their actions, work, and performance. Micromanaging each individual’s work and keep a continuous track of their activity is a terrible idea. The idea is to make sure there is seamless communication, the project goals are well defined and major concerns regarding the project are to be addressed, and not solving programming issues. This helps the team to entrust and be self-motivated to achieve the project goal.
One of the amazing advantages of having a remote team is that remote work feels like an experiment, everything else feels like it can be more experimental too. And maybe, in the coming future, the concept of remote working could just become the new normal. You can either lookout for experts individually or find an organization that has years of experience in providing remote resources with well-defined processes for your upcoming/ongoing projects.
Some unforeseen situation of lockdowns due to Covid 19 globally has compelled us to adopt new normal and there is nothing wrong – only one who adapts/evolves survives! Given the circumstances for remote team working, Jennifer Christie, chief HR officer at Twitter, quoted to CNBC “I don’t think we’ll go back to the same way we used to operate, I really don’t.”