At Zartis.com, we’ve been operating a remote-oriented technology engineering organization with 200+ software developers for years. Today, a successful remote culture is the backbone of our software delivery model.
In this post we explore the successful experience, key ideas, and takeaways from managing remote software development teams along with info gathered from hundreds of software developer interviews.
Now, more than ever, we live in a time where working remotely is a necessity, rather than a choice. This is especially true both for remote engineering teams and outsourced software developers seeking a distributed team model.
Whether the result of current events, difficulties finding in-house developers, or pressure from engineers looking for remote flexibility, companies around the world are considering the remote engineering team model.
The faster a company adapts to a distributed team or remote team model, the bigger its competitive advantage will be. Whether this is an in-house team, a nearshore or offshore software development team – the challenges are quite the same.
What are the challenges of remote work?
The dissemination of information. // Creating good communication processes. // Building trust.
We’ve learned that remote team members should be able to ask questions and get answers as easily as possible. Internal communication on a remote team should be as fluid as if they were asking a friend at another desk. This becomes harder when your distributed team all work remotely and their desks are thousands of kilometres away.
This is even trickier at the very start, during the onboarding process and first months of working with a new engineer or remote team. The first few months are a period of adjustment to working styles and building trust around decision-making.
How To Manage Remote Development Teams Correctly
If you are asking yourself how to manage a remote engineering team successfully, this checklist will be useful to make sure you set up your remote engineering teams for success:
– Using the right tools to enable remote work.
>>Slack , Google Chat, or similar messaging platform is essential. These rapid communication tools are made for distributed development and product teams. They have add-ons for source code sharing, whiteboards, shared documents, asynchronous communication, and video chats that allow spontaneous collaboration for a remote, virtual team. This makes your development process swifter — especially when developers can communicate how and when they want across both mobile and desktop versions across all operating systems.
>>VPN and centrally-managed equipment as security measures.
– Setting up a good communication process.
>> Maintaining an amazing company culture with public and vocal communication of changes is essential. You should complement your internal communication tools and casual banter with a curated public digital forum where everybody can ask questions and contribute their perspectives. E.g. Slack and video conferencing. Make sure everyone has access to tools and channels within them.
– Transparent decision making.
>> Ensure that relevant discussions involve all the distributed team members, and that your decision-making process is transparent. E.g. meet online in a virtual room to discuss problems, indicate potential problem solving approaches, or demo the final solution with screen-sharing features. Collaborative project management tools and cloud-based software repositories like GitHub can enhance the software development process by allowing small decisions to be taken in the moment transparently.
>> In cases where someone cannot attend a meeting, or a decision has been made between 2 engineers face to face, you need to make sure to disseminate the information to the rest of the team. It is very important to always consider time zone differences and set meeting times when all team members are online. You can’t always cover all time zones and fit everyone’s agenda, but making the effort goes a long way.
But watch out for over-communication! Not every decision and every online meeting requires participation from every team member. Consider appointing and involving the team representatives only. Choosing the right team lead often makes information sharing more effective. They can relay the information or decisions to their remote development teams.
– Inclusive atmosphere among team members.
Well-planned out and thorough onboarding is essential. This plants the seeds for productive long-term collaboration within the team and ensures your new engineers hit the ground running.
>> Team building events. For a remote team to work effectively over the long-term, it’s still highly beneficial to facilitate face to face meetings in person. Sometimes, office teams have an advantage here because they see each other in the office every day. You can supplement your distributed team format with in person events, team building exercises, and team retreats. As a technology company with remote employees, we know this to be true. This is a very good practice for onboarding, as well as at least once per year.
– Choosing the right partner.
>> Software engineering with remote development teams comes in many shapes and forms. Whether hiring directly and setting up your own distributed environment or setting up a remote engineering team through a provider like Zartis, you can be successful with a distributed workforce. We’ve been building distributed teams for our clients in all shapes and sizes and will be happy to guide you through the process. To have a chat: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Zartis CTO, Angel Benito and Tech Leads, Michal and Antonio, discuss “How to Manage Remote Engineering Teams” efficiently. From comms and processes, to setting the right mindset, our Engineering Leaders share their insights :
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