It's no secret that outsourcing saves time and money. Remote teams are the key to solving many problems associated with resource indecency. It concerns people, finance, time. But only with proper construction and communication remote teams will become effective. That's what we are going to talk about today.
Unfortunately, there is no universal algorithm for setting up a successful remotely operating team. There is no such recipe. Although discussions, conversations, stories of failures and successes are enough at least to think about it. Basing on them and our experience, we will look for effective advice on how to manage the remote team. First of all, you need to identify the components that are important in remote work. In this article, we will consider two components that deserve particular attention: team & processes.
Of course, the most important component is a team. It needs the most attention, because the result depends on the people. The team is your greatest resource. In dealing with people we must take into account 2 aspects: the expectation of the employer and the expectations of the person. But how to form it correctly? What should the remote workers be like on each position? How to make developers work remotely?
1. processes are important
The team you hire must have well-tuned processes. And also special tools, with which you can clearly see who and when is engaged. It is important to understand how you prefer to build processes. Whether you hire a manager within the team and communicate through him/her or you would rather directly work with the dev team, participate in the standups and manage every detail - your product should be first and you have to have time to evolve it fully You need to organize work on your project, and apart from you nobody will do this. Even when you are hiring a project manager as part of the contractor team, you need to understand that your task is to impart your knowledge and vision to him/her, and he/she will transfer it to the team. Draw a plan, change it if necessary and think out the rules of the game. Your team and you must clearly understand the main requirements to the process and what there are the expectations about it - stand-ups every day, releases on Wednesdays, evaluation of future tasks only on Tuesdays. This ensures transparency, let’s everyone plan their time and not get distracted for small things all the time.
2. hire people you can trust
The first and most important thing that you can offer and rely on is trust. As crazy as it sounds, because it’s not really a measurable attribute, trust is what drives our decisions around hiring people or company contractors. Trust is the foundation, but in remote teams it is the heaviest step as the expense can be a well-executed work. The Product Owner must clearly understand what he wants, and what will be his indicator of work performed good. From our experience, trust can be justified within the first 2 sprints (4 weeks) when the volume of work is already sufficient enough for evaluation. When choosing an outsourced team, the client usually looks at their previous experience but it’s never enough to understand if the approaches will fit with you. Our suggestion would be to create an easily measurable sets of test tasks, and go with them evaluating main points you need in a partner
3. hire people who can communicate
At the heart of any collaborative work lays communication. Communication problems are actually the greatest reason projects fail. Conversely, constant communication will help not only to avoid problems, but also improve the product, your team and even you. For example, to work in scrum projects, the daily use of standups is one way of involving the entire team in discussion, giving people the opportunity to feel themselves as a part of the whole and to identify any problems with progress even at their beginnings. Chat with people who will work with you, the best strategy is to give the team somehow to understand that they are a part of the project and your successes. The team is motivated much better if its members feel involved into your victories. Tell about your plans and priorities. Believe, this changes the game, we saw in our experience the teams sitting till night with the client on the eve of important releases and absolutely happy after the success of their efforts. Come visit your team, make personal acquaintances, presentations of products, talk about plans. Especially, if you have serious plans for long-term cooperation. Make stand-ups and retrospectives - yes, meetings are a working time, and you will want to pay for it, knowing that it organizes and builds an understanding in the team. You do it inside your company, right? Let the team have the opportunity to contact you, it is very important they understand they have a communication channel and can ask questions or clarifications.
The third component in a strong remote team is the process. Teams do not like to discuss and determine the framework in which they work, because it becomes rigid, dull and boring. Conversely, a properly constructed process can stimulate employees and, in consequence, result in your business.
- Establishing clear roles and responsibilities. It means that every employee should know what he/she is doing and what he/she is responsible for. Simple yet crucial point, make it clear on the kick-off meeting
- Focus on open communications. Even the best approaches in task management and project planning will not work if your team does not tell you their opinion. The specific with distributed IT teams is that you do not just go past their tables or stumble upon them, making coffee - a conversation should become a must procedure, as weird as it sounds.
- Automate everything you can automate. This will save the team size. It also allows team members to focus on high-impact work, rather than proceeding with less influential things.
You can percept a remote work as an experiment, and this is its main advantage. Yet, there have been quite some experiments like this out there and you should learn from them and use the best practices. Continue to exercise, find improvements and own effective work algorithms.