Technology is not only having a positive impact on our personal lives but it is also changing the way we work.
Over the last few years, organizations into software development & testing have also undergone rapid transformation to accommodate the constantly evolving business landscape.
Irrespective of the company’s scale & size, organizations are leveraging the advantages of the remote workforce to ensure that product/project development happens round the clock.
A large number of companies are looking at building a location independent & location agnostic workforce. Though remote offices are becoming the new norm, it brings along a new set of challenges. The major hurdle is effective communication with co-workers located at remote sites especially if there is a huge difference between the time zones. Such hurdles can be solved by building rapport with the remote workforce, using the right tools for communication, and assigning tasks as per their domain expertise.
Let’s walk through some of the strategies that can be used to build formidable remote teams:
Minimize collaboration, maximize productivity
When building software, it is important to choose good software architecture so that there is minimal inter-dependency between different modules/blocks. This approach helps in dividing roles & responsibilities as per the center’s expertise thereby resulting in building a more robust product.
Since every team is responsible for building a particular module, it minimizes the amount of collaboration required with teams located at other sites. Hence technical issues faced by developers can ideally be fixed by discussing & interfacing with team members in their center. This reduces the turn-around time in solving technical issues as the development teams are more or less autonomous.
The overall productivity of development teams improves as they are spending more time on technical work and less time on other non-technical activities.
Hire people with a proven track record
Companies build remote teams so that there is acceleration in the speed of software product development and developers located in different time-zones work on functionalities in-line with their area of expertise. To maximize the advantages of a remote workforce, hiring or engaging with quality developers becomes important. Rather than taking a big bang approach in engaging freelance developers, it is recommended to take baby steps during the initial stage.
You should have a look at the social media profile, GitHub profile, past engagements, reviews, etc. of developers before interviewing them. At iProPal, companies can connect with most talented developers who have a proven track record in their respective areas of work e.g. front-end development, back-end development, cloud computing, mobile app development, etc.
Freelancers from more than 116 countries are already registered on the platform and 100+ project requirements are posted on iProPal till date. "Smart match" in iProPal makes sure that you find the best fit for your project requirements in less time by reducing the hassles involved in the screening process.
Whether it is a freelancer or full-time employee, a wrong engagement can cost a lot to the organization. Hence, hire the best developers who have proven expertise & excellent track record in their field.
Asynchronous approach for effective communication
Earlier we mentioned that remote sites develop software autonomously but that does not mean that there would be no inter-site communication. Team members from different locations would need to pitch in during critical activities like Code reviews, API development, integration, etc.
As teams are online at different times, distributing knowledge at the code level to different sites/locations comes handy during the integration & production phase. Cross-location code reviews can be effective in solving/fixing issues at a quicker pace.
Synchronous method of communication can only work if all the team members are located in the same place or working in the same time-zone. When employees or developers work from de-centralized locations; synchronous communication might not bring fruitful results.
Asynchronous mode of communication does not require employees/freelancers at remote sites to respond at odd hours (e.g. in the middle of their night) as they might make hasty decisions which might prove costly at later stages of development. To build rapport across remote teams, you should choose the best tools (for audio-video conferencing, messaging, etc.) to achieve the best out of your remote teams.
Uniform development culture across locations
Communication becomes much more difficult when distributed teams work on a project. Since every team member is an important stakeholder in the project, it should be ensured that important project decisions are communicated to them without any delay. Use a good content management tool instead of using email so that they can track progress & also see all the updates when it is updated in the tool. Tools like Trello can be used for tracking progress and getting real time updates.
There could be scenarios where the remote team is not well-versed with the English language. In such cases, the communication gap across teams can widen and cause friction between teams. It is the manager’s responsibility to ensure that the team members working in remote locations feel that they are critical to the team, irrespective of the language/cultural barriers between them.
Observe the best practices that are followed across teams and implement those practices if it improves communication & increases productivity. A unified development culture should be followed across teams whether the teams are a part of a remote workforce or not.
To conclude, a remote workforce can contribute a lot to the overall aspects of the project & organization apart from lending their technical expertise to the project. The complexities involved in managing a remote workforce increase as the project scales and more members are added to the team. On-boarding the right people can ease the pressure in managing distributed office setup or remote workforce.