Managing A Remote Team Of Devs – Tips And Strategies To Raise Productivity

At the beginning of 2020, nobody knew how dramatically this year would change the way we work and live. The coronavirus started spreading in Western Europe in March and made the authorities to lock down the borders to prevent the spreading of the deadly virus. But all the measures taken were not enough, and it didn’t stop the COVID-19.

Getting to this point, the small and big businesses started testing remote kinds of work to protect the people they hired. That’s how the global thirst for remote specialists started. The tendency to hire remote teams of creators and developers did not appear this year; it has been growing from early 2000 when the massive spread of the Internet connection began.

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As the recent survey of PwC shows, under the influence of Coronavirus, more than a third of workers who preferred office work now want to spend at least two days in a week working from home. The virus revealed the problems of business, made it noticeable that:

  • office workers spend more time chatting and drinking coffee than actually bringing profit to the company;
  • 5/2 work schedule is not that effective as we used to think;
  • digitalization of the business processes needs to be speeded up.

But who is going to help the owners of the companies that have always been working in the office and now are forced to work remotely? This is a huge challenge for everyone; that is why we are going to share with you the best management strategy and best practices while switching to the remote.

Challenge #1 – How To Switch A Team To Remote Work

If you never worked remotely, you would not know how to do it without some help. Teams of marketers, developers, designers, and many other creators are fortunate: these professionals used to work remotely without losing productivity.

And now we don’t need to reinvent the wheel and make up any new techniques and approaches for this kind of work: it all has already been tested. Only one thing is changing year after year – the tools for remote work that are constantly improving.

Step 1 – Organize Secure Access To A Company’s IT Resources

Usually, when a team works remotely, they use one corporate ecosystem. Make sure that the route is safe and the bandwidth of the servers to which the team will be connected to is okay for that amount of people. It is also important to prepare a guideline for the workers on how to connect & use and log out of the system so that the transition of switching to remote will go smoothly.

Step 2 – Provide Devices For Remote Work

The best option is to give corporate laptops and all the equipment that the employees might need during a day of work. It is more secure than if they use their devices. As an employer, you don’t need any data leaks, right?

Step 3 – Install The Necessary Software

Not everyone knows that remote developers use from 5 to 10 applications during the day. It means that a company will have to provide access to all the apps that the employee might need. First of all, these are CRMs, HRM, ERP, and many more professional apps, and secondly, some comfortable options for communication, such as Zoom and Slack. Don’t forget to get the ones with licenses.

Step 4 – Provide Guidelines

Devices are provided, tools are set, what’s next? Guidelines that will supervise and highlight the rules of this kind of work. Usually, it includes the blocks on accessing the software, VPN, and time tracking instruments.

Step 5 – Orientation Of A Remote Team

When everything is set, time to think of the people who have never worked remotely. Most likely, they will have lots of questions in the beginning. A great solution is to make a webinar for each department explaining the details of how it works. The questions might be asked into a channel on Slack or messenger. Set a mentor to answer all the queries.

Step 6 – Build A Knowledge Base

Don’t make your team spend lots of time searching for the right document. Create an ecosystem where anyone can easily find what they are looking for.

Step 7 – Make Team Calls

To avoid miscommunication and loneliness while working remotely – organize video calls. It is a good method to connect two or more teams to move in the same direction.

Step 8 – Share More

Start using Google Drive, Dropbox, etc., to reduce the time of searching the files. It is always annoying when you can’t find a file that was recently under your nose!

Step 9 – Train The Managers

Make sure the managers and leads in your company understand how important communication is. Train them to support all the team members and check on their state of mind, which affects the productivity a lot.

Step 10 – Get Feedback

Feedback is a significant part of the work. Ask the members of the teams if any problems faced and didn’t get recognized by the managers? After receiving feedback, work on it, and optimize the workflow.

Step 11 – Look Up To The Best

With time the employees will get used to this style of work. It can’t be perfect from the very beginning, so if you need some help, you can take the best practices of remote work from the other companies which have more experience in this.

Channel #2 – Building A Remote Work Culture

The culture of a remote team is something that the manager will be created from scratch. It is not about the people who work individually but about working together as a well-set mechanism. As in everything, there is no one-size-fits-all solution that will improve the culture of every team in the world, but there are some basics that managers can learn to improve and create this culture.

  • Communication is the key. It should not be underestimated in any way. It is a crucial moment for every team as without dialogue; there is no teamwork. Make sure that the communication channels and the frequency of phone calls are okay. Sometimes a manager can speak tet-a-tet with some members of the team.

When it is comfortable, a whole team can make conference calls with management to discuss the development of the project and give some feedback. It is important to set rules during the meetings: no disrespect, no rude language, etc.

  • Engagement of the remote team is also very important for productive performance. Even though it often happens that people from one department do not communicate with the other departments, make sure they get acquainted.

Make up some traditions to observe and come to the thought that every single member of the team has her personal life. Do not overdo it with too many meetings and video calls. Team members need to know that the management respects their time with family and friends.

  • Retreats of the team are essential for the development of the relations between the team members. Sometimes it can be hard without speaking personally with your colleagues; that is why team retreats are so important.

Choose the location where you would like to go together. It shouldn’t be only one manager’s choice; make the first screening, but let your team choose the place together. It will give a sense of belonging and unity, which is very important for profitable teamwork.

It should not necessarily be lots of money to spend for a team retreat. Take a close look at the countryside of your city: in most cases, you will find nice retreat villages. Before going to a team retreat, make sure that you scheduled all the calls for the time you will be on location. This way might save you a lot of time and nerves.

  • A warm welcome in the qualified onboarding process is a necessary stage for becoming a great team member. It is always hard to get used to a new company and rules, so to support your new remote hire, make a video call and introduce managers and the team. Also, you must provide all the essential info for the newbie and answer her questions. That’s how the person will get into the working atmosphere.

Take care of the new employee; that way, some other manager took care of you as a newbie. Remember that every one of us was that newbie once. Considering and implementing the up-mentioned tips, a company will manage to create remote work culture with the team members, who respect each other and engaged in the project.

How To Work Efficiently With A Remote Team Of Developers

It is not an easy task to manage an in-house and in-office team of developers. What to say about the remote one? If this is the first time you recourse to the services of Eastern Europe software outsourcing, and the first time facing the problem of a remote team of devs? Here is the checklist that might help you to establish a good working atmosphere in the team and help the teamwork effectively.

  1. Establish a schedule of conference calls; it will help both sides to manage the time effectively;
  2. Discover the most comfortable payment method for everyone so that the team will get the wage on time;
  3. Make it clear about the KPIs. You need to estimate the progress;
  4. Guideline the team on what to do while having a dispute and how you solve it;
  5. After completing the project, is there going to be any further support?

Using this simple checklist on how to work with a remote team of developers, you might learn how to manage a remote developers team with the least of disruptions.

Conclusions

Now is the time when business models are changing in every kind of company, even for the ones who have been working remotely for a long period. For them, the market competition has increased in time, comparing to pre COVID-19 times.

For the companies that never worked remotely, it is even harder than it was before. Switching to remote is always a challenge for both managers and the team, especially if you have a team of developers who need ongoing discussions on the project.

When you work with Agile, communication is needed most of all; video calls would never replace life chatting in the office or next to the cooler conversations.  Make sure that the managers of the company find some way to replace these essential conversations with something else; maybe going to a team retreat more often will be a nice choice!

Follow the aforementioned checklist, strategies, and tips to switch your team of developers to remote mode. And remember that the secret key is communication, and you, as a manager of a remote team or a business owner, should use this rule by your example.

If you are interested in even more technology-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.

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