12 Tips to manage dedicated developers remotely

Friday, March 27th, 2015

One of the biggest benefits technology presented to any business is the ability to operate and collaborate with their team remotely. However,  it still is quite a challenge to manage a dedicated team of developers remotely the right way. Some may say, it’s not for them, as they prefer constant supervision of their project team. It’s a popular belief that the developers need to work with the project manager in one place to ensure top performance. That’s not entirely true.

The advantages of having a dedicated developers team that works remotely are numerous. The cultural and social diversity of your remote development team can stimulate an unexpected  boost creativity and unconventional approach to find a solution. If you are considering hiring a remote development team, read those 12 tips. They will set you on the right path to effective remote team management, so later you can enjoy the benefits of dedicated team fully.

1. Hire developers with skills that compliment your own

Finding the right people for the job is quite a task. We recommend you involve an IT outstaffing company to get access to the best workforce. But before contacting them, you need to find for yourself what it is you are the strongest at and what it is you struggle with. Next, set clear objectives for your business. Now, that you have got the basics, you can present the requirements to the company, so that their recruitment staff can start screening for the candidates that will compliment your skills set, share your work ethics, attitude, energy and your goals.

2. Get to know your team personally for smooth future cooperation

You have assembled your own remote team. You know their strong points, skills and expertise. It’s time to make personal introductions and learn who they are as an individuals. You may discover some skills and personal qualities that stay hidden during their interview or admission period. It may help you achieve your business goals that much easier if you uncover those gems. You should talk to each developers before assigning a task and discuss his potential, what his thoughts on growing further professionally are, whether he/she is willing to go beyond the assigned task scope and venture into different direction.

3. Set goals early on with your team

If you are going to perform all the responsibilities of project manager, which usually is a case with the dedicated team, you need to have a clear strategy in place. Working with a remote developers requires that you apply a bit different approach to team/project management, compared to in-house team. For how long do you need your remote dedicated team? Do you plan to work on some project, or are you looking to make your remote developers an extension of your in-house team, or fully replace the IT team on-site? Identify your needs and set clear goals, then share them with your remote team – that way the members of your project team feel engaged and more committed to your business.

4. Deliver important tasks in written form

Miscommunication is a high possibility for any manager or business owner  that has decided on employing a remote team of developers and programmers. Once you have hired a developers, try to communicate with him/her on the task as much as possible – that’s actually good for any type of project and type of  service model, be it dedicated team or project-based model. Write down all the details of the tasks, what it should look like, how it should perform, etc.

5. Have regular video calls with your team at least once a week

Tip 4 says about importance of proper communication. Today’s technology allows you to schedule regular video calls with your team, it’s better to make them at least once a week. You can use Skype, Google Plus and Google Voice for that or some other  tools, whichever you prefer.  These calls can be a little overviews of the work done by each member. Discuss what each developer, programmer, marketing specialist has accomplished that week and what they are planning to work on the following week. This is a good way to monitor the project progress, as well as build well-oiled team.

6. Resolve the problems as they appear

Leaving problems unattended may cause you a serious setback. Although taking responsibility and initiative is something you should encourage in your remote team for obvious reasons, there will always be cases that require your immediate attention, or solution provided by the developers will need your approval. For smooth communication you should establish a close relationship with your team, so that if an issue arises it’s only natural to consult with you.

7. Don’t forget to express your appreciation for the work your remote team does

Financial rewards are always a good way to say your team did a great job, but it’s not an only way.  From time to time you should just let them know by saying a few good words, that will help you keep their spirits high and boost morale. Praising your remote developers will show them that they are valued, it can also serve as an excellent  incentive to other team members – a bit of competition is never a bad thing.

8. Keep track of the project and measure the productivity of your remote team

Setting up goals and making sure they are met is very important. To make your job  easier in that department, you can deploy tools for project management and productivity monitoring. We would recommend Basecamp. It’s especially good project management tool, if you want also involve clients into the development process and give them an insight into project tracking. It also allows you to see how much time each member spent working on a task, so it’s easy to measure his/her performance that directly leads to whether you increase your profits.

9. Make sure your team can reach you

Even though you manage your team remotely, doesn’t mean you can’t be “present” for your team. Your team members should be able to contact you through email, mobile phone or instant messenger, skype, etc. This is crucial to success of the project with super tight deadlines, when your decision should be quick and any issue resolved in a matter of hours.

10. Empower your team members

In order to build your team’s confidence, it is also crucial to give your team members the authority to make certain decisions on your behalf. This will of course be dependent on the kind of structure you have built. This is why I mentioned that you need to really know your team on a deeper level. You’ll be able to see who you can trust and who will need more time to develop. You also instill leadership and trust among your workers.

11. Train leaders

Growing your company start with professional grow of each of your team members. You need to train your people and  promote those who show great promise and acquire new skills. You should view professional training as a good investment that will bring you benefits in the long run.

12. Reconsider your strategies and adjust to the changes

You have a close-knit team, highly productive and motivated, your business is growing, overall you are doing great – it’s a good signal to rethink your strategy and consider expanding your enterprise. That’s  the scenario we all work for, otherwise be prepared for some drastic measures, if you team is under-performing. As the managers like to say “hire slow and fire fast”. This can be hard and a bit mean, but it’s the business reality. Plus, the people that work hard should not share the responsibility for the blunders and tardiness of others..

Driving your business towards success largely depends on how you manage your dedicated team. Hiring a remote team of developers can be exactly what you need with the right supervision on your side, otherwise it can break you. If you have your own remote workforce, share your experience. If you have some difficulty with the offset of  your remote team or want to improve productivity, please contact A-Grade IT to hire an IT consultant to help you tackle those tasks. We would love to hear from you.