The global coronavirus pandemic has forced many organizations worldwide, including tech giants such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google, to switch to remote work. According to GitLab, more than 50% of remote employees only began working that way in 2020. And the exciting fact is that they enjoy such an approach. Statista reports that 80% of the remote workforce would recommend working out of the office to their friends.

Thus, increasingly, IT companies have started using a remote development team model to achieve their business goals, such as launching a new product on time or improving the current one within a tight budget. But building and managing software teams remotely is challenging and even a bit scary. That is because your business may face multiple issues and risks regarding workflow optimization, communication barriers, or lack of motivation, etc.

Below, we will consider how to avoid potential problems when working with remote software developers and ensure efficient project management. Let’s start!

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What is a Remote Dedicated Development Team?

A remote dedicated development team refers to a cooperation model in which a tech vendor provides a team to your company for your software product development and subsequent launch.
remote dedicated development team

Here are some of the most critical characteristics that each remote development team has:

  • The entire team of developers and other specialists, such as designers, quality assurance engineers, and business analysts, work remotely;
  • Your vendor recruits a remote team of developers according to your needs;
  • These developers stop interacting with your firm after the contract expiration.

 

Famous Companies Hiring Remote Development Teams

Western European or US-based startups hiring remotely is a common occurrence. But well-known global tech giants also leverage remote development and benefit from it. Here, we have created a small list of the most notable ones:

01

Facebook

As the largest social media network, Facebook was among the pioneers who started to hire remotely. They outsource various types of remote teams, including customer support representatives, software developers, and content moderators.
02

IBM

This multinational tech consulting company has customers in over 170 countries. This encourages IBM to depend on offshore staffing to perform multiple IT and software development functions, particularly network management and maintaining IT infrastructures.
03

Google

Everyone knows about Google, the number one search engine that has significantly expanded its services in recent years. That is why the number of the company’s outsourced remote employees has already exceeded its direct hires. Google prefers outsourcing IT services providers, app developers, remote development teams, and analytics specialists.

Where to Find A Remote Development Team?

remote development team where to find a team

The most convenient way to hire a remote development team is to perform internet research, paying particular attention to the following resources:

01

B2B ratings and reviews platforms

The websites like Clutch and IT Firms offer detailed business listings for different market sectors. This also allows for search filtering and specifying locations to optimize results.
02

Freelance websites

Using platforms such as Upwork and Toptal helps startups hire remote developers or even agencies on a freelance basis.
03

Job boards

One of the most popular and widely used job boards is LinkedIn, which serves as the largest professional network online. Here, your technical recruiter can easily find a reliable vendor offering a remote software development team.
04

Conferences and meetups

These virtual events dedicated to specific tech issues are often perfect for establishing connections with remote software development companies. If you want to find a remote dedicated development team in Eastern Europe, you can attend an IT Arena conference.
05

Network recommendations

Asking your network of tech experts for advice remains one of the most effective and trusted ways to hire a dedicated remote development team.

Benefits of Hiring a Remote Development Team

remote development team

The decision to hire a remote software development team will surely bring crucial benefits to your organization. Let’s define them briefly below.

 

Budget Optimization

Cost reduction is the first reason why companies want to hire a remote development team. For instance, a recent report states that “a typical U.S. employer saves an average of $11,000” per employee each year when hiring and managing remote software developers. That is because they do not need to spend on office space, utilities, IT infrastructure, etc.

 

Access to Talent Pool

Because of the local talent shortage, hiring a skilled team of developers is advantageous. This eliminates existing geographical boundaries and provides worldwide access to a significant talent pool. So, if you run a startup and expect further growth, you should hire a remote custom software development team at a relatively low cost and simultaneously ensure good quality. Considering the global talent pool, you have the choice of either leading the hiring process yourself or collaborating with global hiring experts to build your team.

 

Scalability

Your company may consider a staff augmentation model as an effective means to hire a remote development team. It offers enough scalability since you can obtain specialists depending on your project requirements. This enables you to scale up and down anytime if needed and provides unmatched flexibility.

What is staff augmentation, and why should your company use it?

Find the answers here.

Simple Hiring

Typically, hiring in-house software developers is time-consuming and costly. Recruiters should search and choose talent, interview candidates, and handle legal issues. Fortunately, the focus on core business tasks is among the critical advantages of a remote development team. That is because, in many cases, your vendor takes responsibility for providing the best tech specialists together with a dedicated project manager for managing a software development team effectively.

Looking for a remote development team for your project?

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Key Challenges of Working with a Remote Development Team

Understanding the most critical challenges related to remote team management can help your organization avoid specific impediments or address them efficiently. So, the three key barriers when managing a development team remotely are:

 

Communication Issues

Lack of English knowledge, distance, cultural differences, or even an inadequate frequency of calls can affect communication with your remote software development team. These may also result in frustration and multiple misunderstandings and thus decrease productivity.
remote development team communication issues

Solution: Apart from communicating frequently and promoting your remote development teams to improve their English, you can utilize some effective communication channels. For example, you can use the following helpful tools for managing a remote development team:

 

Time Zone Differences

When you hire remote developers abroad, particularly in Asia or Eastern Europe, you must deal with the time difference. This challenge may take a lot of work to manage, mainly when you need to schedule meetings or discuss urgent and emerging issues.

Solution: Using Agile to manage remote developers is crucial since using it includes having standard consultation sessions. Meanwhile, they can keep the work running smoothly and carefully manage everything when your in-house staff in the United States is still asleep. Also, if you hire a remote development team in a country with a 3-4 hours time difference, you may get an overlap between working hours.

 

Management Difficulties

If your organization has a complex project or your remote software development team is large, managing its productivity and keeping track of numerous individual tasks may become difficult. Besides, you might struggle with a lack of feedback from your remote software development specialists, which often results in misunderstandings and conflicts. To address these challenges effectively, consider implementing robust remote support solutions.

Solution: Your company can assign building a successful software development team and managing its activities to a dedicated project manager. That allows you to focus more on your core business tasks and growth. Also, you can utilize online project management tools such as Trello, Asana, or Jira to boost your remote development team’s productivity.
remote development team management difficulties

In-House vs. Remote Development Team

After analyzing the pros and cons of virtual teams, there is a need to compare in-house software development vs. outsourcing. Let’s check the comparison table below!

IN-HOUSE
REMOTE TEAM

Objective

Traditional cooperation

Project delegation

Success definition

Achieving business goals

Completing the project according to the terms of of the contract

Project scope

Unclear

Determined in advance

Budget

Unlimited

Limited

Fit for

Long-term projects

Short-term projects

Costs

Higher

Lower

Management involvement

Mandatory

Can be covered by your vendor

Control

More

Less

Data security

Better

At risk

Scalability

Less

More

Seamless communication

Yes

May be difficult

Corporate culture

Yes

No

Productivity

Lower

Higher

One of the most popular remote hiring models is outstaffing.

Learn more about the benefits it can bring.

How to Manage a Remote Development Team Effectively: 7 Critical Tips

Although you may understand how to hire remote developers located thousands of miles away from your office, you should also reconsider your approach to software development team management. Thus, we have created a comprehensive guide on how to manage developers working remotely. These relevant tips can help prevent any potential challenges between your in-house staff and remote teams and ensure all employees’ efficiency and satisfaction.

 

1. Define the Roles and Responsibilities Within Your Team

Your remote development team may consist of various specialists based on your business requirements. However, a typical team includes the following professionals:

01

Software engineers

These individuals are responsible for developing your product's front end and back end. Thus, its functioning depends on their expertise and work, which makes investing in skilled engineers essential.
02

Quality assurance (QA) engineer

Such a specialist ensures that your solution works appropriately, according to the documentation requirements.
03

Project manager (PM)

The PM takes care of all the documents and budgets and manages risks related to costs, performance, and strategy.
04

UX/UI designers

Apart from making your product appealing to the end users, these professionals also check its usability.
05

Product owner

This role requires a particular person to transform your business needs into robust software requirements.
06

Product manager

An experienced product manager will serve as your advisor during the entire product development and drive the development cycle smoothly. Thus, he can determine the value proposition and product-market fit and provide you with a product development roadmap.
07

Business analyst (BA)

In this case, a specialist traditionally defines the product’s scope and collects project requirements.
08

DevOps engineers

Such professionals define the necessary tools, set processes, and automate code flow, which is crucial for managing software development further. Appreciating the fundamentals of DevOps is useful in any development environment, but can be especially instrumental when wrangling remote teams. It helps people from different disciplines to gel and collaborate, maximizing productivity and project progress.

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2. Build Processes

After gathering specialists worldwide virtually, you should understand that they will not start showing their best performance from the very first day. Thus, when thinking about how to manage a software development team working remotely, you need to pay attention to building effective processes. After all, implementing a process-oriented approach is vital.

Therefore, you should manage your remote software development using Agile. For instance, the Agile Manifesto declares the following key principles:

  • Developing software over creating multiple documents;
  • Addressing changes over strictly following a plan;
  • Maintaining quality cooperation over using tools.

Also, your organization can foster Agile within your remote development team by leveraging continuous integration, promoting knowledge sharing, and prioritizing communication.

remote development team agile model

How can you do that effectively? Here are some valuable recommendations:

 

Eliminate Micromanagement

Your task is to discuss general project goals and their critical pain points, not propose non-relevant solutions. You can propose relevant solutions only if needed – for instance, in advance, when there is a risk of failure, etc.

 

Ensure a Long-Term Focus

When managing development teams working remotely, you need to refrain from tracking all their steps and assigning minor tasks. Instead, it is crucial to encourage remote developers to organize their workflow and resolve emerging issues independently. That allows you to set determined priorities and communicate the reasons why it is necessary to focus on long-term objectives.

 

Optimize Processes

If you aim to manage software development efficiently, do not use people to complete tasks that a particular program can perform. This is because such a mundane routine can quickly kill your employees’ morale. So, automating various manual tasks is vital and helps ensure that your remote development team enjoys their work.

 

3. Create Appropriate Documentation

remote development team types of software requirements specifications

Why is it essential to have the proper project documentation? These documents include all the relevant functional and non-functional specifications, and the constraints that the engineers and QA professionals are required to use in order to start the development process. Thus, you should provide all the necessary project requirements since this allows for strictly outlining a product’s shared vision and common values.

Also, documentation is a must-have when you need to onboard a new person or substitute developers. This allows for proper knowledge transfer. But you may need help handling it – a reliable remote development team can assist you with this.

 

4. Ensure Smooth Onboarding

Leaving some project-related uncertainty for your remote software development specialists is inadmissible. You should guarantee a proper onboarding process if your organization aims to achieve the best possible results.

First, provide your remote developers with all the needed equipment. Make sure that they will have all the apps and software required for the job. Don’t forget to install one of the best antivirus software solutions to keep their workplaces secure.

Also, during this stage, you must provide your remote developers with all the critical project details and specifications, discuss ideas, and ensure that everyone on the team understands your project goals correctly. For example, utilizing a business password manager to securely share sensitive information, such as login credentials and project documentation, can streamline this process and enhance overall security.

In addition, bringing more data and information to the process enables you to:

  • Tell your product’s pre-history and share your expectations regarding a partnership;
  • Discuss your business goals and explain your aspirations, which helps create a general overview of what you want to achieve;
  • Provide an analysis of your product’s domain.

Lastly, during onboarding, you must share your working guidelines and agree on the project schedule, which is vital for team productivity.

 

5. Utilize Collaboration Tools

Providing convenient communication tools is essential for managing a remote development team. Today you can find many specific apps to stay in contact with your team members.

Here we will briefly describe some of the most popular programs for communication and divide them into two main groups:

 

For Text Messaging

You should be able to search for the necessary text easily and preserve it quickly. After all, text is often the key way of communication during a software development process.

  • Slack. Numerous organizations consider Slack to be a perfect solution for their corporate communication since it offers some other valuable features in addition to text chatting. It allows for attaching files, integrating Google Suite, Jira, and other tools as well, creating private rooms, etc.
  • Mattermost. Companies use this secure, open-source platform to communicate and collaborate during the entire software development lifecycle. But it is less powerful than Slack.

 

For Video Conferences

Although video calls may sometimes be disadvantageous, they do bring the opportunity to conduct personal meetings. So you can explain your ideas and/or goals more effectively and establish a stronger connection with your remote development team.

  • Zoom. Zoom is a cloud-based platform providing video conferences and online chat services that allows for consolidating communication within a company, connecting team members, and cooperating better, all through using virtual meetings. But it has a 40-minute call limit for unsubscribed users.
  • Google Meet.This Google product offers free 60-minute calls, making it suitable for work-related calls and workshops. Apart from being user-friendly, this tool also brings proper security to the process.

You can also use remote support tools like TSplus for troubleshooting bugs. It can be useful to quickly and efficiently address almost any type of technical issue.

 

6. Schedule Regular Meetings

Good communication must be regularly conducted, so keep your remote development team organized. At the same time, frequent meetings are about something other than your desire to control everything. It would be best if you considered them as a tool to build trust, check the project’s progress, assist in removing emerging obstacles, and align the following plans.

remote development team types of regular meetings

Below, we have created a small list of regular meetings you can use to keep a team on the same page.

01

Backlog Grooming meetings

During these, you can discuss the items that are in the backlog and decide what to complete in the next sprint.
02

Weekly planning

You should define the most prioritized tasks from the backlog in order to complete them in a particular week.
03

Daily stand-ups

Conducting these daily meetings is crucial to maintain personal communication with all of the team members. In this case, you must discuss routine tasks and provide help if needed.
04

Demo

This meeting refers to a critical phase when the remote development team demonstrates a completed part of the necessary customer’s work.
05

Retrospective

A retrospective meeting gathers all team members to discuss the sprint, analyze the main mistakes, identify the improvements needed, and to reach conclusions on how to move on to the next steps.

In addition, it is essential to always keep in touch with each team member. Thus, the best way is to arrange informal online meetings, one-on-ones. You can conduct such meetings weekly, but monthly would be a better option. However, if you want to establish an appropriate personal contact, do not focus on discussing business issues only.

 

7. Use Progress- and Time-Tracking Tools

Understanding how things are going on the project often takes time and effort. Therefore, you should track all the basic productivity metrics. That allows for the following:

  • Seeing the progress of your team in numbers;
  • Analyzing the capabilities of all of your employees;
  • Reviewing all team members’ values and involvement.

It means that tracking enables your organization to obtain a detailed performance review. At the same time, remote developers can also identify the issues they must address. So, if you leverage tracking, you will get valuable information to discuss in personal meetings.

Here we have named two of the most popular process-and time-tracking tools you can utilize for your software development process:

01

Jira

As a recognized industry standard, Jira appears complicated at first glance. However, in most cases, software engineers require only its Kanban board functions, which are famous for their intuitiveness and simplicity. Besides, you can easily integrate Jira with other Atlassian products and also Slack.
02

Asana

Many companies regard this tool as a more affordable option than Jira. Apart from offering similar features, Asana provides a better user experience. Moreover, it is cheaper and has a free trial version if your team is less than 15 members.

You can also consider some other progress-tracking programs like Trello and ClickUp. Although all of these solutions offer similar features, you may find the perfect fit depending on your team size, pricing plans, and/or user-friendliness.

Conclusion

Even though your company has always hired in-house developers, you should consider working with a remote development team. This is because if you can learn how to manage such employees effectively, you will obtain significant advantages, such as cost reduction and scalability. Since teams of skilled and reliable software engineers are dispersed worldwide, a separate geographical location will not be a factor that would compromise your product’s quality.

With the use of many collaborative solutions, video calling apps, and project management SaaS platforms, you will face no barriers when cooperating with your remote developers. And if you ensure proper management by clearly defining roles and responsibilities, building workflows, and creating documentation, the remote team will expand your expectations.

Need experienced remote software developers to deliver the best possible outcomes for your product development? Contact us and get your first CVs in the shortest terms.

Frequently Asked Questions

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How to manage remote software developers appropriately?

You should follow some helpful tips to guarantee solid remote team management. This involves clarifying roles and responsibilities, building processes, creating the necessary documents, providing smooth onboarding, using collaboration software, conducting regular meetings, and tracking working hours.

What are the biggest challenges for a remote team?

When hiring a remote development team, you may face communication issues, time zone differences, and management difficulties. But you can address them efficiently by utilizing communication and project management software tools.

What makes a successful remote team?

Building trust, focusing on results, and promoting employee accountability are all vital contributors to the remote team’s success. But you should also pay particular attention to choosing the proper communication channels and encouraging flexibility regarding working hours.

SERHII OSADCHUK
CTO @ DOIT Software
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