Remote work is currently very popular and we can confidently assume that this trend will continue to grow. And if we take into consideration the difficulty of recruiting qualified developers, we realize that managers often have to look at alternative solutions, outsourcing the job in different locations around the world. Is there anything to fear?
The answer is, not at all. Obviously, this is true only if the entire process of managing remote developers' work is properly organized. So, what is the right way to approach it? We have prepared a short guide for CTOs. Following these rules will help you optimize your management and collaboration with remote developers.
Set clear rules for cooperation
"The implementation of your project will be as good as the people who create it and the communication and information exchange system that you plan yourself."
Have you ever heard this quote? In my opinion, it is gospel truth. It is essential to establish the principles of cooperation between you (the manager) and a team of remote developers, from the very beginning of the project. This is the basic principle.
Why is it so important? The idea is that everyone in the team should know exactly their role, understand the challenges and objectives of the project, respect them and follow up with the agreed strategy. This is the starting point. The next important step is deciding the way you want to manage the project. In the IT industry - especially in software development projects - the Agile Scrum methodology is a very popular framework for managing a process. This is a solution I can fully recommend. Based on our experience at Codest, I believe that this is the most effective method of project management. It allows you to have constant control over all processes in the project and to efficiently organize the work of the entire team. You can read more about Scrum in this article.
Take care of the meetings calendar
Remote developers can work in various places around the world and sometimes they can even be in different time zones. In the interests of your mutual comfort of work, you should plan in advance all your meetings related to the implementation of the project. It is important that both parties are well aware of the action plan, because in this way, it will be easier to organize the work and keep up with the progress.
Therefore, if you need periodic check-points, set a fixed date in your calendar and send the invitation to the team. In addition, take into account that the systematization of working time will positively affect the efficiency of all of your employees. It's not a big deal. You can easily create a well-organized schedule by accessing your Google calendar and synchronize it with the accounts of our team. This will make the management of the entire process smoother.
Use tools that will help you improve your work
You can use various tools to manage a team of remote developers. But let’s be honest, there are plenty of them available on the web. Some help manage the project, others help to communicate with each other and others again manage their tasks. To help you in the choice, I have selected a few that, in my opinion, are the most useful ones. I recommend you to implement in your organization.
Project management/tasks - Jira, Trello, Todoist, Mavenlink, Harvest, PayDirt, Basecamp.
Document storage - Jira, Google Drive, TipeHive.
Teleconferences/online meetings - Apper.in, Slack, Skype.
Everything starts with recruitment. Find people you want to collaborate with
If you have a project ahead of you and need to take on new developers, read this point carefully. You have two solutions here. Either you decide to recruit in-house developers or find a partner (for example a software house) to collaborate with. Regardless of which solution you choose, keep in mind that you must work with people who you fully trust and don’t forget that the key is clear mutual understanding.
If you don’t trust your employees, you have no chance of success. When you lack confidence in your team, you are more likely to develop an over-controlling behavior towards the work of your developers and this will negatively affect the quality of the process.
Know the needs of your developers. Organize one-to-one meetings
Do not keep your relationships with developers only on a strict work (project) level. One-to-one meetings will give you the opportunity to learn the opinions of your employees about your work together, get to know their thoughts and understand how to meet their needs, in order to create a comfortable working environment. Let’s suggest a meeting or call - for example - once a month.
This is a good opportunity to examine the level of employee satisfaction and get to know their ideas for potential improvements. This helps not only to adjust your current project for better chances of success but also gives you useful insights for further cooperation. Imagine that in the future, you might have additional projects to deliver; isn’t it better to collaborate again with trusted developers (which, in their turn, would enjoy working with you again), instead of starting the recruitment project from scratch?
Do not forget about the summaries
Transparency is also important. Therefore, in order for the whole team to have full knowledge of the ongoing project, it is important that they are regularly informed about the developments. In this case, the simplest way is the best way. Set up recurring weekly summaries to inform them about the most important changes and what is happening in the company. Thanks to this, you will increase employee awareness and involvement.
After each meeting, don’t forget to summarize the agenda. You don’t have to spend a lot of time on it. A short note, containing 'bullet points' of the topics discussed, is enough. You will be sure that you didn’t miss anything, and every member of the team will be able to return to the summary at any time.
Remote working is the future, remember this! There is nothing to fear. If you take care of all the points mentioned in this article, you can be confident that your project is going in the right direction. Finally, I want to leave you with an interesting fact: Did you know that an employee working remotely is likely to be up to 25% more efficient than an employee in office?