Remote Development Best Practices for Startups

24 Mar 2019

Özgür Aksakal

Partner at Radity

By applying some best practices you can maximize your return on investing in remote development. Remote Development is not only about cutting costs anymore, it is a strategic decision to access skills and talent across the world when you need it.
 

Create a team culture

Being remote is not an excuse for not being a team.

Team members help eachother, respect eachother, work towards the same goals.

You should expect the same team spirit with your remote team.

It starts with you. Establish a culture, set the goals and make sure everyone knows what the mission is. Not only Defect 1031 being in next Sprint.  A team should have shared values, aligned goals and a spirit. Create it and share it.
 

Setup clear goals with interval checks

Ability to work remotely is closely related to ability to work independently. Working independent requires clear goals so that you have less surprises at the end instead of solutions deviating from goals.

One thing you should do is to check on these goals and progress regularly. How regularly? It depends on complexity of task, experience of the developer and your team experience. The more you know your developer and his/her boundaries you can give away more space and reduce your control overload. Best is to start with higher frequency and reduce it by time based on built trust and awareness.
 

Communicate regularly

Many modern project methodologies including agile ones encourage daily short meetings.
We have found out on-time, structured, buerocracy-free team meetings to be the most productive.
 

Stay Human

When your team is away and you have limited social contact it is possible to forget you are dealing with other human beings. Sometimes we forget to empathize. Creating human connections with your team will improve collaboration and success siginificantly. Did they have a bad day? Like you sometimes do. Do they have any ideas or feedback to improve the project? Ask for it. You will be surprised how constructive and useful input you will receive from your team.
 

Get to know eachother

Meet in person (once or more a year). Putting a face to a person, sharing a meal, talking face to face, even if once a year will bond your team stronger.
 

Standardize tools and channels

Even setting up an efficient meeting culture is not a beginner's task. Are you using Google Meet for meetings? Is it video or audio? Do everyone have good headphones? Are you disciplined to start and end on time. How are notes taken? Issues logged? Issues tracked and linked to code commits.

Standardize your tools and channels to maximize your return from remote development.
 

Minimize multi-tasking

We shouldn't even list this specific to remote teams. This is Task Management 101.  We know it is unavoidable sometimes, but try your best to minimize multi-tasking with remote teams.

Here is why: Working remotely requires ability to work asyncronously. Multi-tasking on the other hand requires a lot of touch points to juggle and reprioritize tasks.  There is a natural conflict between the two. Therefore try creating a good view of your short term tasks and backlog for the next Sprint.
 

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