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How to manage remote developers

  • Publish Date: Posted over 2 years ago
  • Author: Jon Armstrong

Most software developers have enthusiastically embraced remote working, but as their manager, you might be feeling less enthusiastic. It takes time and effort to adjust to not having your team in plain sight.

The new normal demands new strategies to track progress, cut the fluff from workloads, and make sure everyone stays connected and productive – including you. Here are some proven strategies to help you manage remote software teams effectively.

1. Manage time zones

If you have people in different time zones, see it as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. If you have people all over the world, your business can literally be open all hours. If any of your devs are ahead of your time zone, you can review their work the same day, while for those who are behind, you can prepare everything they need to accomplish a task.

When scheduling meetings, consider what time it will be for everyone on the call, and create a meeting schedule that works for everyone. If someone has to get the short end of the stick, don’t let it always be the same person.

2. Build personal connections

The lack of spontaneous watercooler moments in a virtual team does make a difference, and as we’ve all learned by now, dull icebreaker questions and awkward forced bonding are no substitute. A real personal connection with each one of your team members is vital to make them feel valued.

Try asking some new and exciting questions during morning stand-up meetings or even during onboarding. Have a lot of face time with your team whenever possible. Try to get everyone together on a video call with their cameras and microphones on. Being able to see each other’s facial expressions and hear each other’s tone of voice will help team members find common ground.

3. Get your communications right

Communication really is key online. Encourage your team members to communicate clearly and concisely – and learn to set an example yourself.

Keep your communication strategy simple and effective. Set rules for collaboration and communicate them clearly in writing. Make sure everyone is aware of their role and the objectives and challenges of each project.

Don’t be afraid to try out several different communication channels before settling on one that works for you and your team, and be aware that different channels may work for different people and teams.