6 Crucial Strategies for Managing Remote Development Teams
For Employers

February 15, 2024

6 Crucial Strategies for Managing Remote Development Teams

Take a moment to consider: healthcare (15%), technology (10%), and financial services (9%) – these are the industries with the highest number of remote workers. Other industries are also jumping on board, seeking remote developers to steer their digital transformation.

Let's face it, in today's world, every business is a software business. With globalization on the rise, a whopping 44% of businesses are expanding their reach internationally. This translates to a surge in remote employees from various corners of the world.

Sure, the remote software development model offers a treasure trove of perks – cost savings, turbocharged performance, you name it. But hold up – remote software development teams march to a slightly different drumbeat. They need a distinctive approach, tools, and management to shine.

Also read: 18 indispensable productivity tools for remote development teams

Get ready to dive into the golden rules of remote team management. Here are the top six best practices: 

Level up your projects with high-performing developers – effortlessly, efficiently, and with unmatched ease →

1. Over-communicating 

Communication isn't just a tool – it's the very fabric that weaves together a thriving culture. The secret? Over-communicating. It's all about keeping those lines buzzing with clarity and connection. Here's the playbook on how to "over-communicate" like a champ:

  1. Document clarity: Step one, crystal-clear procedures. Document everything. No assumptions, no guesswork.
  2. Tool mastery: Work with the right tools and stick to the established ones for a seamless communication and cooperation. 
  3. Norms that click: From day one, set communication norms. How do you chat? How often? Make them clear. It's a recipe for streamlined interactions.
  4. Personal touch: One-on-ones are the gems of remote communication. They're personal, they're impactful. 
  5. Feedback loop: Don't just talk; listen too. Regularly gather employee feedback. It's like fine-tuning your communication engine.
  6. The asynchronous edge: No pressure for immediate responses. This gives everyone the flexibility they need.
  7. Beyond work: Life's not just code and projects. Create spaces for non-work chatter. 

2. Building an Effective Onboarding Journey

It all starts with a great onboarding. Glassdoor's research spills the beans – robust onboarding can spike employee retention by a whopping 82%. It's your launchpad to transform promising candidates into proficient team players. But in the remote environment, onboarding dances to a slightly different tune, demanding meticulous documentation and streamlined processes. Let's break down the key steps for effective remote employee onboarding:

  • Arrange access, share documents, and tick off administrative tasks even before your new hires steps in. This isn't just saving time; it's weaving frictionless onboarding.
  • Introduce your new developers with the company's vision and mission. Clear the fog around role expectations to set the stage for a confident takeoff.
  • Redistribute processes, wield collaboration tools, and organize team-building activities.
  • Feedback's a two-way street. Tune in to your remote squad's pulse with regular one-on-ones or anonymous surveys.
Onboarding impact on job satisfaction, engagement & organizational support
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3. Being Agile 

A study by McKinsey & Company found that Agile organizations are 60% more likely to have higher IT productivity. Now that's some serious impact. Wrangling remote tech teams becomes a breeze when you embrace Agile Methodology. It's the secret sauce for refining communication, team dynamics, and project delivery based on real-world feedback. Here are some tips of how you can become Agile: 

  • Smash hierarchy. Agile works in a horizontal team dynamic. It removes hierarchy. It's all about collaboration and leveraging collective genius.
  • Know your team’s strengths. Break the project into bite-sized chunks. Assign tasks to developers based on their expertise. Clearly communicate each team member’s responsibilities.
  • Define with precision all the features you want to build. Craft them based on use-case scenarios. Organize daily stand-ups where everyone can speak up. Make a team review of every update on the project and decide what to improve, add, or let go. 
  • Use sprint check-ins to evaluate the work-in-progress. Schedule regular sprint check-ins to discuss progress, roadblocks and upcoming tasks. They keep your task train on track, zooming toward the finish line. 
  • Utilize project management tools. Jira, Asana, Trello, Google Meet – they're your Agile toolkit. They streamline tracking, task management, and team harmony. All in one central hub.
  • Encourage team members to reflect on their performance. Identify areas for improvement regularly. Keep that learning loop alive. Sprint retrospectives are your compass for evolution.
Also read: Mastering agility in hiring - 3 easy steps to improve candidate selection process

4. Wielding Time Zones to Your Advantage 

59% of remote teams span 2-5 time zones. A remote software development team is like a powerhouse of self-reliance and accountability. Amid this, time management can sometimes pose a challenge. The key is turning this challenge into a strategic advantage.

Your remote tech team is a dynamic blend of developers, testers, designers, and QAs collaborating on different project facets - frontend, backend, testing, UX/UI - across time zones. And guess what? Different time zones aren't just hurdles; they can become your secret weapons.If your developer is ahead of your time zone, you gain the advantage of prompt assessment and real-time feedback. On the flip side, if you're ahead of your developer's time zone, you have ample time to lay the groundwork for the upcoming day's tasks.

This is just a glimpse of the potential time zones hold. Instead of dreading their complexity, embrace them for round-the-clock efficiency and seamless collaboration. 

5. Resisting Micromanagement

Micromanaging is a terrible idea for any remote team. Here's the golden rule: allow them to do their job. As simple as that. Your remote tech team needs trust, not micromanagement. Let the results do the talking. Your role is to empower them, not dictate. Over-interference breeds discontent and eventually, employee turnover. 

Metrics matter, but don’t magnify them under a microscope. Review, but respect developers’ autonomy. 

Coding is not just clocking hours. Sometimes developers think up new solutions and innovative problem-solving ways. Give them the breathing room they deserve. Judge them not by the hours spent, but by the impact and outcomes they unleash. 

Negative effects of micromanagement

6. Hiring Developers You Trust

It's not just a box to tick; it's the cornerstone of your remote tech team. While the perks of remote work are numerous – heightened productivity, stress reduction, and cost savings – they can be overshadowed by hiring candidates with wrong skillet and abilities.

Unlike in an office setting where you can oversee tasks and have impromptu project discussions, remote dynamics require faith in your team's abilities. Their work ethic, output, and results hinge on mutual trust.

This dynamic isn't just about the individuals but impacts the entire team's performance. Constructing a robust hiring process is vital. It allows you to identify the key skills a candidate must possess before moving ahead.

Beyond technical proficiency, weigh their personality and collaboration prowess. In remote developers, watch out for these soft skills:

  • Effective Communicators: Assess their articulation, written skills, and eloquence.
  • Autonomy: Remote developers thrive with self-motivation and a proactive approach.
  • Team Players: Seek those who flourish in collaborative settings and treat peers with respect.
Also read: 7 traits to look for when hiring top-level remote developers, excluding the hard-skills

Building a remote development team independently can be overwhelming, costly, and time-intensive. That’s where Index.dev steps in to simplify the journey. With our platform, you can seamlessly expand your engineering team using our intuitive, data-driven approach. We handle the entire process, from sourcing and vetting to matching and management, making remote developer acquisition a breeze.

Also read: Our approach to sourcing engineers from Central Eastern Europe

Looking to hire senior remote developers for your most important projects? Explore Index.dev – your ultimate hub for connecting with high-performing tech talent. 

Here's how we transform your hiring game:

⚡️Instant candidate matches: Say goodbye to endless searches – we match you with your ideal candidates in a flash.

⚡Streamlined selection: Our network boasts 10,000 developers, with no need for manual screening – we've got the top 5% applicants covered. 

⚡️Lightning-fast hiring: We present you with hand-picked, vetted candidates, saving you time and effort while ensuring they're qualified and interview-ready.

Join the ranks of successful businesses like Omio, Perforce, and Glopal who rely on Index.dev for swift, effective, and cost-efficient remote developer hiring.

Level up your projects with high-performing developers – effortlessly, efficiently, and with unmatched ease →