5 Smart Ways to Address Remote Team Challenges

21 Oct, 2015
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Remote or distributed teams are now universally viewed as an important component of a global software company’s growth strategy. An increasing number of global organizations are adopting the remote work concept because it gives them the freedom to find the best talent regardless of location, saves considerable money, reduces office overhead, and improves productivity. Remote software teams can be highly productive and yield remarkable business results due to the availability of mobile and cloud technologies and various other online communication tools.

Proper orientation and an ongoing attitude of learning and engaging are necessary to make the remote teams perform better. Let’s take a quick view of some of the key aspects in a remote working environment and how proper attention to these factors can enable you to master remote team management.

1. Regular communication with the team

In multi-location projects, teams and individuals may have to deal with challenges in the technical aspects of the projects, as well as with the cultural and behavioural aspects of human beings. Good cooperation between all team members prevents wrong designs or wrong development and helps in getting a solid deliverable.

To enable good cooperation, remote companies have to make sure that the right conditions are available in order to be as effective as possible. The most effective medium for creating a congenial atmosphere for fruitful cooperation is communication.

Maintaining regular communication is one of the key factors for any remote team’s success. However, this often turns out to be the biggest reasons why remote teams fail. In many cases, organizations don’t bother to communicate regularly or systematically with remote team members. There are plenty of options available to communicate with team members, you just have to choose the right one based on your team size and specific requirement.

2. Emphasise more on collaboration

A remote team has to collaborate with each other frequently to do their job properly and more importantly to be successful in whatever they do as an organization. Building collaboration among your remote team members working far away from each other becomes simple if you have the right mindset and a bit of commitment.

If your team is made up of members from different cultures and nationalities, then it becomes more important for you to foster respect and understanding for the cultures involved. This will only help the team to unite, but also encourage them to think collaboratively.

And finally, you can use an efficient collaboration tools to increase employee mobility and enable staff to access company data anywhere and anytime.

3. Hiring the right talent

Finding and hiring the best talent from anywhere in the world is undoubtedly one of the biggest reasons why many tech companies consider remote team. However it would seem as a daunting task for many companies which are new to this concept and clueless about how to hire the right talent. Initially, you don’t have to hire someone full time, instead hire a person for a small project and you can judge if he/she suits well with that kind of working environment.

On the other hand, there are several small to mid-sized ISV businesses which work with remote teams that are provided by reputable offshoring partner. When opting for a dedicated team, you get to make a call on who gets hired, from a pool of vetted professionals who have already gone through various levels of qualification by the offshoring service provider, thereby maximizing the changes of finding highly skilled talent for your development requirement. In this kind of arrangement, a dedicated team is directly hired by the engaging customer and all subsequent operations of the team are supervised directly by the customer.

4. Monitoring and improving team productivity

Remote teams have become increasingly popular these days, especially among tech startups. Companies which prefer remote team concept does it mainly because it provides access to amazing talent anywhere in the world. But how can an organization ensure that its remote team members are spending the appropriate amount of time actually working?

Encourage your remote team members to ask questions. Creating an environment where people feel safe asking the simplest of questions and you will save countless hours of pointless work headed in the wrong direction. Checking in daily, regardless of the tool you use, will help keep everyone working in the same direction and this in turn is going to boost team productivity.

5. Handling multicultural teams

Multicultural teams are becoming a highly popular trend among global tech companies due to workforce globalization. Though it has gained lot of popularity, handling multicultural teams are not easy, as they are made up of people from different social and professional cultures. Companies that have truly mastered the art of managing remote teams, encourage their team to provide ideas, suggestions and contribute to initiatives that they’re interested in.

If remote software teams are engaged and channelized in the right manner, they can bring software organizations a manifold competitive advantage of better performance, creativity, innovation and more importantly, making their organization’s presence felt around the world.

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Anirban Guha
Software Engineer at coMakeIT

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