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Managing a Remote Dev Team Successfully

Remote worker coding in two computers

You hired developers with the purpose of taking your business into the next level, and suddenly BAM! 2020 happened, or in other words, COVID-19 happened.  Remote work was already growing at full speed before the pandemic, but because of it, it’s growing even more. Many companies have had to close their doors and open their computers. If that’s your case, and you are currently managing remote developers, we are spilling our secrets. As a remote tech recruiting agency, we know how to manage a remote team successfully. 

What does our chamber of secrets reveal? 

  • How to onboard remote developers
  • Ways of boosting your teams productivity 
  • How to become an effective leader
  • Over-communication on remote devs teams
  • How project management methodologies can significantly help your management

Properly Onboarding Remote Dev

This is the first step towards success (If you do it right). When you are welcoming members, there are specific protocol tasks and paperwork you need to handle. The whole point of onboarding is that the new hires learn about the company’s goals, methods, tools, expectations, and understand more about the culture of the company.

Besides the usual aspects of onboarding, you, as a remote manager, need to think outside the box and go beyond. Here are some tips that will help you get your new remote employee engaged:

How to Engage New Remote Employees?

 We recently wrote an article that explains step by step how to onboard developers in 2020.  Check it out! 

Boost Your Team’s Productivity

Studies and surveys have already proved the fact that remote employees are more productive than on-site employees. Yet, this doesn’t mean that ALL remote employees are productive. This is why the hiring process is so important; you get a grasp of the soft skills they might have. Still, when you hire the right people and have your team set up, one of the main goals is to keep improving and boosting everyone’s productivity.

In case you have no experience managing remote developers, one of our main recommendations is that you set up a project management tool. For example, tools like Asana, Trello, or Basecamp can give you space where you can manage all the tasks, due dates, documents for the developers to have. Here you will be able to get a sense of how they are working and managing time.

Also, you need to keep in mind time zones if your devs team is distributed all over the world. You can always message and email them, but when you don’t get to see each other physically, video calls are the best way to connect one another. Tools like worldtimebuddy help calculate all of the teams different time zones to schedule regular meetings at a specific hour.

Bury Your Internal Micromanager

If most of your answers were yes, we’ve got bad news. You’re a micromanager.

If you want to be an effective remote leader, don’t be a micromanager. It’s completely normal that the first days you want to make sure everyone understands the tools, the working procedures, and the basic guidelines. What’s not normal is over-monitoring your devs work and trying to make them do things your way, without giving them enough responsibilities.

Keep in mind that:

  • YOU hired them (trust your decisions that they will do a great job)
  • They cannot work if someone is (virtually) breathing over their neck
  • Your team will feel undervalued and stressed 
  • Everybody is productive in a different way (some are night owls other are early birds)
  • Micromanaging will eventually lead to employees quitting their jobs

Trust is the master key for successful team management. And how to start trusting your employees? By letting them handle projects and responsibilities. 

All employees love being recognized and feeling they have done an excellent job. But as a manager going beyond simple praise is what matters—making your team understand that it’s never about the projects only. It’s about achieving a bigger goal that is only possible if everyone contributes and works as a team. 

Over Communicate

Never assume, always ask, and in case of doubt talk. 

Keep this as a golden rule, and you will never have communication problems in your team.

Misunderstandings are quite common, especially on remote teams. And in the worst cases, they might lead to incomplete projects and waste of money.  That is why it is important to start giving clear guidelines regarding communication.

For example, at DistantJob, we are all aware that meetings or special events (like birthdays) are attended on Zoom, quick reminders or general announcements are made on Slack, documents shared via Google Drive & Coda, and so on. Many cool tools will help you get set up and do not have any trouble with communication.

Also, keep in mind that regular video conferences are the best way to connect with your team members and to foster teamwork. Discussing how projects are going, what are the weak points to improve, if someone needs help with specific tasks, or to catch up on personal things and chit chat a bit. These are things that help to build not only trust but transparency in communication.

Have an Agile Team

One of the most effective management approaches for IT teams is, without a doubt, the Agile Methodology. It’s not even just about how to do projects; it’s also why you do them. When you manage remote devs, being Agile will not only help you improve the way you communicate but also how you work together as a team and how you deliver projects based on market feedback.

What techniques do Agile use that makes it so effective?

  • Agile works in a horizontal team dynamic (removes hierarchy)
  • Define viable features of the software you want to build (based on use-case scenarios)
  • Organize short daily meetings where everyone on the team has a voice
  • Make a team review of every update on the project and decide together what to improve, add or remove
  • Planning and developing happen side-by-side to launch the Minimal Viable Product as early as possible

Want to have an Agile team? Click here

Still Haven’t Found What You Are Looking For? 

If you identify deeply with this U2 song and you still haven’t find the talented developer you are looking for, take a minute to answer these questions:

  • Are you searching for local talent instead of remote talent?
  • Do you have terrible headaches from dealing with the chaos of freelancing websites?
  • None of the candidates you get are a good cultural fit for your company?
  • The candidates that might have a good shot at fulfilling your technical requirements can’t speak English? 

If most of the answers were yes, you need to change your recruiting approach. We know this because we have over 10 years of experience finding and placing the best tech talent for dozens of companies.  

At DistantJob, we not only search for the best talents over the world, but we also headhunt them. We are aware most of the best developers are busy working for companies, so we make them better offers they can resist – such as working from home.

We can get you to hire a talent that will not only exceed professional expectations but also will make a perfect fit for your company’s culture.  Oh, and by the way, we do all of these in just two weeks.

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Gabriela Molina

Gabriela Molina

Gabriela Molina is the writer and editor of the DistantJob blog. As a former freelancer, she has covered a wide range of topics throughout her career. She is currently specializing in the areas of technology, leadership, and remote work.