How to Manage a Remote Development Team


Published: 25 Jul 2022

Building Virtual Teams

how to manage remote team

Statista indicates the global software market worth about $595 billion now and is expected to reach $812 billion by 2027. The numbers suggest the demand for software development will increase. Fueled by COVID-19, remote software development has gained traction. As a result, many companies have started to wonder how to manage a remote development team and deliver a good product. The recipe for success is simple, and we’re here to deconstruct it in this post. 

Goals and objectives

You must set clear goals and objectives to manage a remote software development team. It’s best to communicate your goals in a clear way to compensate for the loss of face-to-face contact. Set measurable objectives and illustrate any given variable linked to a broader purpose. Always use a deductive approach, which calls for developing an objective in a top-down fashion. Start from a bigger goal and deduct it into smaller parts. As a result, it will show your remote development team the objective and its correlating components. 

Communication, communication, and communication

Communication is vital, both in-house and remotely. There’s no doubt that in remote software development, communication is a significant challenge. Many teams find it hard to discuss some project details working in different time zones and geographic locations. Luckily, progress does not stand still, and some tools are available to manage remote developers in terms of communication. Consider using the following instruments:

These are tools for textual, video, and audio-based communication. They help you achieve what you need the most – scheduled meetings, face-to-face interactions, and real-time updates. Essentially, the technologies mentioned above help compensate for the lack of in-house communication. During the COVID-19 pandemic, communication tools proved extremely effective and applicable to different collaborative scenarios. 

Project management tools

When objectives and communication tools are covered, it is time to have the instruments helping to manage the entire project and its processes. Often, it’s hard for a remote development team to stay on the same page with their in-house counterparts. Similar to communication instruments, some project management tools can help you alongside. In terms of managing remote software development teams, the following tools have proven to be beneficial:

These collaboration tools help share documents, offer updates in real-time, change project constitutions, work on code collectively, and assign tasks to every team member. It might take some time to master the instruments. Yet, soon enough, you’ll see their benefits and key role in remote development team management. 

Time zones

To manage a remote software development team, you have to face one of the challenges mentioned above – working in different time zones. Interestingly, there is a way to turn the issue into an advantage. Usually, an offshore development team includes professionals working with the front- and back-end and Quality Assurance specialists. In such a case, let developers manage different aspects of the project themselves. If you’re ahead of their timezone, use it to prepare for the next day. If they’re ahead of your timezone, evaluate the work and offer feedback. These simple steps can help eliminate the issue of time zones.

Clear work processes and procedures

Along with clear objectives, people from the remote development team need to grasp work processes and procedures. In such a case, to manage a remote software development team, follow four basic rules:

  1. Establish clear guidelines that cover aspects like productivity, accountability, and teamwork.
  2. Illustrate the core idea behind the project and deconstruct it in detail.
  3. Set a strict timeline for the project and budget estimates.
  4. Give detailed and timely answers to all the questions arising.

Remote development teams do not share the luxury of in-house cooperation, working shoulder-to-shoulder. Yet, with clear processes and procedures, it will be much easier for everyone to have a shared understanding of what to achieve and how to achieve that.  

The power of balance

With an in-house development team, you can be entirely engulfed with the project and each team member. Often, companies delegate software tasks to remote development teams because they want to take some pressure off their shoulders. When engaging in distributed teams, management avoids what every employee fears most – micromanagement. Forbes indicates that allowing people to work at their own pace has a positive impact on productivity and job satisfaction. However, if any issues arise, don’t hesitate to intervene. So, maintain the golden middle and manage the software development team in a balanced way. 

Key takeaways

Managing remote development teams is a challenging yet rewarding task. The employees working in different time zones can be effective, as well as can help your company preserve valuable resources. So, how to manage a remote development team? Set clear goals, establish communication, use project management tools, utilize the power of time zones, establish clear work procedures, track the progress, and intervene only when necessary. All these elements ensure the best software development service possible. 

For more details on how to manage a remote software development team (or how to build one), contact us. 

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