Whether you’re a business beginning your tech journey or a multi-national brand looking to extend your reach into further territories, the opportunity to build, or work with remote and distributed teams can be a financially viable option.

A key consideration before beginning to build this team is to what extent do you want to distribute; are you aiming to recruit internationally for a fully distributed team, or are you aiming to grow a team situated across a single country that operates remotely? Your decision here will impact your approach to management, with the former needing extra considerations for the likes of timezones, language barriers, and the likes of employment and data laws depending on the countries that you hire in.

Regardless of your choice, your business needs a robust set of processes for giving this team the tools, processes, and autonomy to work as effectively as possible.

Use Communication & Collaboration Tools

Off-the-shelf tools like Slack are ideal for any distributed team, giving you the ability to communicate async through instant messaging, or host video calls and integrate with project management tools to facilitate real-time discussion, updates, and problem-solving.

Define Clear Objectives, Measures, and Expectations

Set clear and well-defined project goals, objectives, and milestones for your team. For any product development, document the scope, deliverables, and timelines to provide the remote team with a comprehensive understanding of the project’s requirements.

Keep 1:1s Regular

Make sure to keep 1:1s scheduled to provide feedback, recognise achievements, and identify areas for growth. Performance evaluations contribute to the continuous development of remote team members and reinforce their sense of contribution to the project’s success.

Establish a Strong Onboarding Process

Invest in a thorough onboarding process for remote team members; tools can help people access resources quicker and a remote buddy system gives a new starter a point of contact in their team from the get-go. Whilst you may be hiring years of experience, your way of working likely differs (even if marginally) from their previous experience – having a clear onboarding process and ensuring your current team is a key component of that will allow each new remote hire to integrate into the team quickly.

Foster Team Building and Engagement

Despite physical distances, prioritise team building and rapport. Schedule regular virtual team meetings at suitable hours, including both work-related discussions and informal interactions where possible (and within reason). Engage in team-building activities to create a sense of camaraderie and trust among remote team members.

Time Zone Considerations

For businesses planning to hire across borders, acknowledge and accommodate different time zones within the remote team. The immediate benefit here is the opportunity for round-the-clock development, but this can be inhibited by weak communication and poor product management.

Establish overlapping working hours to facilitate real-time collaboration and communication. When scheduling meetings, aim for a time that accommodates the majority of team members.

In conclusion, successful management of remote development teams requires a combination of effective communication, structured processes, and a commitment to fostering collaboration and engagement. By implementing these strategies, businesses can harness the full potential of remote software development teams and drive projects toward successful outcomes.