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Tips for managing a remote development team

Remote employment was uncommon before the pandemic. Even though several software development organizations employed remote workers, the practice was mostly derided until the pandemic changed how work was done.

A rising number of academics have investigated how common remote employment is among software developers. A GitLab study conducted in 2021 reported that 82% of participants thought remote work would become more prevalent in the future, and a Stack Overflow survey conducted in 2022 revealed that 85% of engineers work for companies that are at least partially remote. Currently, there's a shift in the global trend, with many IT companies attempting to bring their employees back to the office. Let's delve into this shift, presenting updated insights for the year 2023. However, it's worth noting that not all companies are eager to return to a fully office-based setup. For those companies seeking guidance on navigating this transition, here are some valuable tips and considerations.

Tip 1: Clear Communication.

Creating effective team communication is more than just choosing the right software for remote teams. It's about making a plan for how your team talks to each other. Let's break it down:

  1. Be Consistent: Having a regular schedule for communication can make your team feel better.

  2. Stay Updated: Make sure everyone knows what's going on by sharing news regularly.

  3. Be Honest: If you can't share something, just say so. Honesty is important.

  4. Prioritize Active Listening: In remote work setups, active listening is crucial. Conduct regular virtual meetings to ensure every team member has an opportunity to express their thoughts.

  5. Leverage Visual Tools: Use video conferencing in virtual meetings to enhance communication by allowing visual cues for a better understanding of reactions and emotions.

  6. Foster Collaboration: Utilize online collaboration tools like shared task boards for visual discussions on projects and plans.

  7. Enable Communication Flexibility: Support communication beyond standard working hours when needed to accommodate time zones and urgent matters.

  8. Provide Online Communication Training: Ensure your team is proficient in effective online communication, virtual meeting etiquette, and the proper use of relevant tools.

  9. Establish Emergency Communication Channels: Define clear communication protocols for emergencies or critical issues to facilitate swift and effective responses.

  10. Emphasize Data Security: Place a strong focus on data and information security in remote work, offering guidelines and instructions to team members.

Of course, there are also some excellent tools that may help you let everyone know about critical upgrades and other things you want to tell your developers. It's not just about how you talk to your remote team, it's about making sure everyone on the team feels important.

Tip 2: Utilize Project Management and Remote Communication Tools.

Your first step in improving how your remote team communicates is to give them the right digital tools. Think of it like equipping them with a set of helpful gadgets. Here's a list of some of such tools:

CategoryWhat It DoesExamplesCalendars and To-Do ListsAids in managing time and tasks efficiently Microsoft To-Do, Google CalendarCollaborative ToolsAllows for storing, editing, and sharing documents easilyGoogle Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDriveMonitoring ToolsHelps leaders track team members' work timeToggl, TimeDoctorProject Management & Task DelegationHelps with task delegation and progress tracking Jira, Asana, ClickUp, Basecamp, MondayRemote CommunicationSupports chats and quick catch-upsGoogle Chat, Slack, Microsoft Teams, DiscordReward ManagementBoosts team morale through performance acknowledgmentWooBoard, Kudos, FondScreen SharingEnables members to share their screens for clarityTeamViewer,, RemotePCVideo Conferencing ToolsFacilitates virtual face-to-face meetingsGoogle Meet, Zoom, Skype, TeamViewer

So, by using these tools, you can make remote teamwork easier and more effective.

Tip 3: Focus on Long-term Goals.

When explaining software development objectives to your team members, you as the remote team leader must be precise. Clear communication can be achieved in the following ways:

  • Make sure everyone on the team understands what success entails by outlining the precise, quantifiable objectives that you want them to attain.

  • Indicate the advantages and aim of the aims. Your remote team members need to understand why the objectives are important to the business as a whole and how their success will benefit them personally.

  • Ensure that everyone on your team is aware of how their specific contributions to the achievement of the company's goals.

  • Keep the team informed of any adjustments to the initial goals to avoid unpleasant surprises.

  • Make certain that everyone is aware of the established due dates and milestones and is striving to reach them.

Tip 4: Schedule is Everything.

The scheduling of remote teams presents difficulties. They are essentially two hours ahead of you if you are working from Germany and your team is in Kyiv. However, the issue may be considerably worse for American Northwest businesses with off-shore offices in Asia.

Flexible hours and overlapping schedules can be helpful in this situation; fortunately, some developers and IT enthusiasts are night owls. Since they have irregular hours, beginning their day around noon is not entirely a horrible idea for them.

You must set aside a few hours each day for meetings, pair programming, scrum, and Q&A sessions if you want to be as productive as possible. At the same time, let developers work on a flexible schedule and just get things done within a specified time frames.

Tip 5: Benefit from Different Time Zones.

People work on all sides of the planet when you outstaff your team. This is the specifics of working with people in different time zones. It may appear to be both an opportunity and a logistical headache. Imagine having a crew that is essentially available 24/7! The secret is to perfect the skill of juggling responsiveness with regard to personal boundaries. After all, productive remote teams are aware that working more efficiently is preferable to working longer hours.

Tip 6: Reward Your Developers.

As a team leader, your developers look up to you for more than simply the upcoming assignment. Don't forget to compliment your staff at the beginning and finish of each meeting. Be sure to specify exactly what you enjoy about the project's progress. They'll know they're heading in the correct way if you provide them constructive criticism.

Praise and compliments are one thing, but you should never undervalue the significance of tiny branding gifts. Sending your team useful presents, such as mugs, t-shirts, and badges with your company logo on them, etc., will also demonstrate your gratitude. Bonuses are yet another approach to boost the spirit of your workforce. They work more diligently and effectively than ever when the spirit is high.

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