Remote Teams

5 Strategies to Effectively Manage Remote Teams.

With the ever-evolving situation of the times, remote work is now part of the new normal. To sustain business continuity, enterprises across the globe have deployed remote teams.

Though still viewed with scrutiny, the concept of a remote team isn’t just ‘A way forward.’ It might just be “The way forward.” To bolster this statement, it is mentionable that remote teams are 35–40% more productive than an in-house team.

According to a two-year study by Stanford university, remote workers are, on average, 13.5% more productive than their office-based counterparts. They are 9% more engaged in their jobs and are 50% less likely to quit.

But there are many facets to every situation. Some schools of thought view remote work with a bias towards the traditional office setup. These groups cite pain points like lack of control, less transparency, risk of data theft, etc. as obstacles to going the remote way. But what it comes down to is- effective, efficient management.

In this article, drawing from my professional experience, I have covered some best practices for managing a software project while working with a remote team.

The goal of this article is a knowledge transfer on how to keep a remote team productive and effective.

1. Hire a team with the following Characteristics-

· Effective Communication

Remote developers should be able to convey useful information through appropriate media effectively. The communication they send out should be clear and concise. When in a meeting or on call, a remote developer must be able to articulate himself. Communication is crucial because miscommunications can slow down productivity.

· Autonomy

Constant micro-management and supervision are not possible in a remote setup. Therefore every remote developer should possess the capability and motivation to deliver daily.

· Growth Mindset

A remote developer must believe in continuous improvement and should view adversity as just another hurdle to sail over. Developers with positive and growth-oriented mindsets drive company growth and impact overall project quality.

2. Communicate- Overtly if needed

In a remote team setup, the entire team needs to be on the same page when it comes to project requirements and responsibilities. Frequent video and audio conferences are necessary to get information across quickly and efficiently. Project management tools like Slack, Trello, Jira, Asana, etc. prove indispensable in the functioning of a remote team.

Regular meetings are imperative, and the entire team should be present to discuss developments and KPIs.

3. Organize Workflow and Implement Systems

Accurate documentation is crucial in a remote team. Reliance on transparent systems is imperative, and therefore a robust project management system should be set up. Using a Source Code management software is also advisable to track changes made to code and credit those changes to the teammate who made them.

Document collaboration tools like Dropbox or Google Drive are also advised since being able to track changes and making changes or improvements where required is essential.

Now for the big one; Agility.

The Agile methodology is benefitting team managers across the board. It allows teams to develop products and get continuous feedback during development. This allows the product to evolve according to market feedback with minimal loss of time or resources.

4. Invest in your team

Let’s say you have the perfect remote development team — the right traits, top skills, productivity, meeting all KPIs, basically the works. Unfortunately, if you don’t invest in their professional journey, they might not choose to stay long-term.

A LinkedIn learning report states that up to 94% of employees would agree to serve as long-term employees if the companies they worked for invested in their professional growth.

Software development is a field where rapid change is the norm. There are new libraries, frameworks, and tools that pop up daily. Creating a professional growth strategy might have its costs, but it is a need to keep your developers’ skills fresh and keep them loyal.

5. Manage to Execute

As the manager of a remote team, it is essential to remember the fundamentals. In a remote context, timelines, delivery, and productivity are the primary responsibilities of a manager.

The project and the customer are a manager’s priority. Spending too much time on the technical aspect of the project is micromanaging and not advised as instead of helping projects, it compromises with the flexibility of an agile team.

One must focus on developing skills through courses, conferences, and other knowledge acquisition means that can translate into a more productive team. The results of investing in managerial skills are gigantic as they increase the richness of the team.

A final thought

As a brief, the first step of managing a remote team is to hire the right people with the right traits. Effective communication comes in as a close second since it is necessary for everyone in the team to be clear about their responsibilities.

From agility to project management, usage of reliable systems and processes, managers must leverage both soft and hard skills for the team to function. If you contribute to the growth of your developers, your remote team will contribute to the growth of your enterprise.

Finally, the job of a manager is to increase the team’s productivity. A close eye on the project is necessary, and yet micromanagement is not.

As per my experience, these are some of the principles of managing and maintaining a successful remote team. If any major point is missed, let me know it via response.

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Sarrah Pitaliya

Sarrah Pitaliya

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Digital Marketing Head at radixweb.com. Creating valuable insights that would help brands and businesses to enhance their sales growth.