Finding, onboarding and managing an in-house team can be a hassle given the limited talent pool and fierce competition. So, hiring a remote software development team is a very attractive option for many companies that want to get ahead. Even major companies like Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Google and Slack use outsourcing as part of their strategy.
And while there are many benefits to outsourcing software development, managing a remote team has its downsides. For starters, you'll most likely work with an IT partner located in another country. You'll have to do things differently to accommodate time zone differences and integrate remote team members.
It all comes down to balancing the pros and cons and being open to collaboration. In this article, you'll find out how to effectively manage a remote software development team.
A software development remote team is an augmented or dedicated team, usually located in another country. For example, nearshore outsourcing is a popular practice in which you work with a technology partner in a nearby country.
The partner will be responsible for finding, hiring and onboarding team members. They will work remotely to build your product or take over certain tasks such as maintenance. The remote team can be augmented, so they'll work closely with your in-house team. Or, they can be dedicated, meaning that they'll handle your project from start to finish and include several roles, such as UI/UX designer and Project Manager.
This all depends on your project's complexity, duration and scope. Many companies find remote teams work so well that they'll enter a long-term technology partnership.
But before you commit to working with a remote team, it's important to know how to establish a good collaboration.
It is well-known that efficient and effective communication is the foundation of every successful relationship. To manage an effective team who can deliver a high-quality product, you need to keep the conversation going. You must also do things differently regarding communication, technology and managing expectations.
Here are some tips to help you manage your remote software development team:
Not all software development companies will be a good fit, and that is OK. However, if the partner doesn't want to accommodate your needs, you'll get off to a bad start.
The right partner has a few qualities that make them stand out:
The bottom line is: if you want good communication, pay attention to red flags. If they're not communicative, hide important details, and prioritise profit at all costs over quality work, you'll be better off elsewhere.
Set yourself and your team up for success by setting a direction and the reasons behind these choices. This method will not only increase the project's success but will also help your team understand what’s at stake.
Now, you may be wondering: what if you don't have clear goals? Then, it may be a good idea to look into pilot projects. The IT partner will help you define project requirements and set everything up, including communication channels.
Project management is a critical aspect of any remote software development team. It's good to choose something that will be able to grow together with your team if needed. A project management tool should be intuitive and help you manage and track all types of tasks. It also does wonders for assigning responsibilities and time management.
Our favourite tools include:
It's OK if you've never worked with similar tools before. Your IT partner will most likely be able to guide you in choosing something that works well for your unique situation.
Email is great, but it won't accommodate complex collaboration needs. A good communication channel depends on your team size, integration requirements, needs and preferences. Since you'll most likely use more than one, it's good to establish the main and secondary channels from the beginning. Here are some popular options for software development teams:
Of course, adjust as needed. For example, you may prefer Google Meet over Zoom because you already use Google Workspace.
Transparency means honesty. In our experience, constant communication is the best policy. You can actively encourage this by:
The most damaging thing you can do is withhold feedback or essential information. You'll find out the hard way that it'll be too late to make significant changes, and team morale goes down fast.
The Agile approach allows software teams to implement a clear framework that promotes team collaboration. Instead of working for months for product development or update, an agile team can run through the development cycle in a matter of weeks. As a result, team members are more productive and engaged since they receive feedback for their work faster and constantly.
Here at Qubiz, we prefer Agile for the same reasons. Even better, our clients see the evolution of the project much faster, sprint after sprint. We also encourage constant collaboration through Agile meetings, such as:
Agile is great for remote teams as well as location-based ones. There's no good reason not to use this approach if you can.
Project documentation is a must. It has to be clear, concise and easy to follow. Now, by proper documentation, we mean:
And last but not least, project documentation needs to be updated regularly.
A healthy team culture doesn't develop overnight. The more comfortable you feel when working with your remote team, the better. Best practices include:
The ability to put a friendly face next to a project is hugely underestimated. Cultivating a good team culture will pay off in the short, medium and long term.
Everyone needs to feel that their work is meaningful and leads to something more. This is one of the biggest motivators, as there's nothing more rewarding than knowing that their contribution is greatly appreciated.
Many teams typically have one point of contact, such as a Project Manager. If you can't personally thank the team, make sure that this person will recognise team members constantly for their efforts. Constructive feedback is also important and it will help them make progress faster.
Treating them with respect is a must. Just because the team is outsourced doesn’t mean that they do not deserve to be treated like any other employee. And it is always important to remember that without their value and hard work, your company’s success wouldn’t be possible.
Nice to meet you!
Qubiz is a one-stop-shop technology partner, covering the whole application lifecycle, including functional design and consulting, software architecture design, UX/UI design, software development, QA, and maintenance.
We’ve been in business for enough time to understand that putting people first matters the most. Our clients enjoy a trusted partnership, faster time-to-market and flexibility, among many other advantages.
Learn more about what we do and how to contact us!