Best Practices to Manage a Remote Development Team

Worca Resources
Last Updated: 
December 6, 2022

Remote work gained popularity in 2020 as employers transformed workplace policies to allow hybrid or remote work. Managing your distributed development team requires a skill set heavily influenced by each developer’s communication and training needs.  

You can’t manage an effective team if people are unhappy or not aligned with the company’s mission. Research, experience, and common sense say employees who are satisfied with the company culture and values are more productive than those who are unhappy with their current work environment. 

Here are the aspects to consider as you set out to build an engaging work environment, increase productivity in the remote setting, and help your team grow and succeed.

Hire Remote Developers Who Take Initiative

Good management will always begin with solid recruitment. When you are in the search and recruiting stage for top-tier candidates, looking at the skills that match what you need for your team is essential. It is also vital to find developers who align with the company’s values and objectives, and who can take on the responsibilities of being remote. Remote work requires employees who are self-motivated and have a positive attitude toward their work and workplace.

Remember, not everyone can handle a remote work structure. Be intentional in your talent search for high-quality remote workers. Ensure that you are onboarding professionals who understand the company’s mission and can handle the work-from-home environment.

Identify Suitable “Working Hours” and Responsibilities

Remote work offers the flexibility that numerous employees want for their schedules.

Companies wanting to stay ahead of their competition are looking to countries like Taiwan and Singapore with highly educated, English-proficient technology communities. 

At the operational level, working across multiple time zones generates a unique type of productivity boost found only with a “round-the-clock” workflow. For example, by distributing your staff between the U.S. West Coast and Taiwan, the time difference allows you to have a functioning global team for 16 consecutive hours a day.

Identifying these working hours and gaining insight into your employees’ schedules helps to allocate resources better and distribute accurate tasks to your developers while being attentive to deadlines. Developers will be able to have a clear indication of what is expected of them schedule-wise and task-wise and ensure that they act accordingly. 

Regular Check-Ins with Your Team

Communication and feedback are key—and that applies to everything when working with remote employees. It’s the most significant element of an effective remote team and environment, but it only works if the communication is open and continuous from everyone in the company. 

The risk of miscommunication is high with remote employees. In fact, for companies with 100 employees, miscommunication can cost them about $420,000 per year

To lower this risk, it’s essential to have a compatible communication tool for your team that makes communicating more accessible and more efficient for every team member. Though implementing these communication tools is the first step, avoiding miscommunication requires an ongoing conversation. Check-ins and one-on-ones with your team shouldn’t just be reserved for quarterly reviews or brief insights into current projects. These check-ins or meetings can help you gauge how your developers are doing with their workloads, if they need help, or if they need a new perspective when tackling complex situations in a project. 

Establish Direct Communication Requirements

One-on-ones help you stay connected with your engineers, and monthly meetings help you connect with your software development teams to ensure that everyone is completing their tasks and to address any obstacles that may have come up. Both of these meetings can last as long as you need to ensure that you know the team’s achievements, priorities, and obstacles, and to find actionable solutions. 

Even if, for some reason, these meetings cannot occur, your team can still write down its priorities, obstacles, and achievements in its WFM (workforce management) systems, Slack channels, etc., to share with the team and make sure that everyone is on the same page. 

If you manage a distributed workforce in multiple time zones, ensure every team has overlapping working hours with the others for direct communications. In addition to work-related exchanges, it increases team cohesion to create a virtual space for your diverse workforce to share their unique life experience and perspectives.

Consistent communication and feedback are important to the success of every team member. And a study by Officevibes found that 96% of employees feel that receiving regular feedback is a good thing

Implement Extensive Training on All Systems

Over the past few years, many companies and professionals have become accustomed to various WFM and project management tools. However, your developers, especially those new to your team, are not always accustomed to the systems you have in place. 

The tools you have are there to help improve your workforce efficiency and make processes easier for employees to navigate the resources they need to complete their work correctly. With WFM tools, your engineers can edit their schedules, track performance, monitor their pay, and get insight into other HR functions to help them engage with all aspects of their positions with the company. These tools are a great way to ensure that your team runs smoothly, stays organized, and is optimized for success. 

The new normal of remote work offers tech professionals around the world the flexibility to create their own working hours and greater opportunities to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Remote work also allows companies like yours to widen talent pools and connect with engineers on a global scale. 

Remote work is not going away—it’s the future. Investing in how to manage a remote development team is the right move for you to ensure the success of your team and your organization.

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