We are living in the great times when boundaries between team members may be smoothed out regardless of their geographical location. Remote team building is not just a trend, but rather a true role model of efficient workflow arrangement.
However, managing a remote team has its nuances, which should be tackled before you find a virtual team to work on your project.
What Are The Advantages of a Remote Development Team?
• Large talent pool. You can pick up skilled professionals from any corner of the world.
• Lower cost compared to the price of hiring in-house developers.
• Quick and flexible scale-up of your company. When hiring remote talents, companies improve productivity by being able to quickly set or change the pace of the workflow.
• According to the new survey, remote workers are happier with their work and are more productive than their office fellows are.
What Are the Potential Challenges of a Remote Development Team?
Let us consider the hurdles you may face and the ways to eliminate them.
• Management. When your programmers are working as a team together in one office, they are obviously in the limelight, which makes easy to implement management strategies. But when you go in for outsourcing, your team can be located thousands of miles away from you, and beyond all doubt, it may be confusing at the first.
Solution: Trello or Basecamp are effective remedies here. These project management tools allow compiling to-do lists and setting tasks for each member, scheduling, performing automatic check-ins and file-sharing. There is also a simple drag-and-drop interface and time tracking system at your disposal.
• Productivity. Everyone gets distracted from time to time, but some people may go overboard with that if not being watched over their shoulder.
Solution: We recommend trying Time Doctor. This tool – with its time tracking and distractions-fighting features – is able to elevate your team’s productivity dramatically.
• Availability and security. Your product needs to be regularly and timely updated or fixed, and with the case of the remote team, it may be more difficult than when dealing with in-house developers.
Solution: You are indemnified from unpleasant surprises when you sign the contract with your remote mobile development team, in which all terms and contractor’s obligations are articulated. You may come to the agreement that once in N days your team gives you updates on X and that they are able to fix occurring bugs within N days period. etc. Besides, you may conclude Non-Disclosure Agreement to ensure sensitive pieces of information are accessible by you solely. This makes working with offshore teams safe and transparent.
• Communication issues. It’s obvious that not having your team close at hand, you can’t lot upon lightning-fast reaction that is a privilege of real-time communication.
Solution: There are viable solutions and tools to leverage this situation. We describe them below in details in Tip 4.
8 Tips for Remote Team Building
1. Choose the Right People
When hiring a remote development team and entrusting them with your pet project, you have to be sure you chose the right players.
Check references and feedbacks. Find time to check the team’s portfolio and other customer’s references in order to have cognizance of their expertise and professionalism. You need to be left with a feeling of a complete satisfaction. Interviewing potential partners, have an eye toward the following personal characteristics:
• Self-motivation and commitment to results. While many people who work in offices need constant stimulation and encouragement for keeping hold of a working space, remote workers should have an above-average self-motivation and a will to set and reach goals.
• Sociability and openness. Choose the people you can really rely on. On your part, be a broad brow too, so that people can feel comfortable with coming up with some problems or suggestions.
2. Set Goals And Roles Clearly
Define the common goal and motivation for your team. A team charter would work perfectly here. It serves for clarification of team’s direction and the establishment of corporate boundaries. You can use it to state the team’s mission, assign everyone’s roles and responsibilities and fight troubles the team may face.
3. Promote Team Bonding
Create opportunities for the staff to interact in an informal setting and discuss unrelated to work things. Arrange efficient team meetings with video conferencing, at which each member can be seen and heard. Let the people know that each of them is a contributor and keep them informed about how the company is doing.
We support the idea of team building online games and activities, personal meetups, company retreats and hiking for nurturing virtual and offline friendships and elevation of team spirit. Each company finds their ways in this.
For instance, Pinterest analyzed boards of their employees to identify their common interests, then put staff members into groups basing on the shared interest, letting the employees decipher what that shared interest was.
We suggest using HipChat group chat service with cloud-based file storage, video calling feature, inline image viewing, and funny emoticons. You can open up chat rooms dedicated to all kinds of interests (music, sports, games, fashion etc.)
4. Develop Strong Team Dynamics
It should be in your best interests to monitor microclimate, morale and sentiments of your workers, even if they are not in close proximity. If someone becomes reluctant in engaging communications, stops expressing their ideas or demonstrates reduced output, it’s a red flag for you. Make every endeavor so that every team member feels comfortable and valued. For this:
• Organize daily standup meetings;
• Stay in contact with everyone;
• Give ear to their feedbacks and requests;
• Ensure lucrative and equal compensation;
• Be sensitive to language barriers and time zones.
5. Set Standards for Communication
Define how often you get in touch with your team and which communication tools are used for this or that task.
For instance, Slack may become a worthy alternative to Skype and corporate intranets, combining the best capabilities of both. It’s a popular communication tool that serves truly to many remote mobile app developers, since it combines all communication ways in one place (channels, directed messages), allows integration with all services developers may need (GitHub, Trello, Google Drive, Google Hangouts, Dropbox, GitHub, Twitter etc.).
All the content is easily searchable and files easily shared. You can share code snippets and choose a public or private channel for business or fun. Slack indeed keeps remote developers connected throughout the day.
Screenhero or Join.me are great for screen sharing, and Skype (for small teams) or Zoom (for teams of 20+ persons) for team voice and video calls
6. Take Good Care Of Your Code
Use GitHub or Bitbucket for storing and sharing code. Thanks to Slack integration, developers get the additional opportunity of smooth and enjoyable code managing.
These code repositories ensure your codebase and revision history are safe and sound, and updates are pushed out regularly.
7. Keep Marketing and Customer Success Goals Organized
Google Docs and Google Drive are comfortable cloud base depositories for collaborative editing keeping company docs in one place and being able to access them anywhere from any device. Dropbox is good for sharing of non-text files.
8. Organize Local Management
Hire dedicated development team rather than freelancers, scattered over the globe. The best way to huddle an effective virtual team is to hire outsourcing professionals who already have experience of working together as a team and are used to be managed by the client’s local supervisor. Thanks to close co-operation with the outsourcing company, every step of the project’s development is monitored and elaborated by both parties.
As you can see, a virtual team is an innovative, powerful and beneficial way that helps companies of all sizes build their business more flexibly, quickly, reliably and at a smaller cost. Well-organized remote teams can work marvels. Discover what our team can do for you and hire remote developers to start scaling up.