For those challenged by this new digital lifestyle, the location of a software development team is no longer a challenge to be solved. With a bit of effort and a few short months, you can build a team with cohesively strong relationships even without being in the same room.
The more we can be agile, the better we can attend to our users’ demands and offer helpful information to them.
We at Noetic use Agile project management to identify what’s essential now, experiment online, prioritize the various tasks and focus on releasing quality software.
Remote teams are becoming more common. We’ve found they are one of the best ways to run a development team. Here are our tips for making yours work.
Tips for successfully handling a Remote Software Development Team
1. Small Iterations
To ensure we are on top of our game, we have a short daily meeting during which each team member reports what he has done, what he is struggling with or needs help with, and any obstacles.
Because we are enabled to work remotely, we can identify problems immediately and prevent any inevitable blockages.
2. Keep things in context
Working remotely has numerous challenges. It’s tough to avoid distractions, especially when you have a lot to juggle. It’s also easy for team members to pull in different directions and take a long time for meetings.
To maintain transparency in our daily standups, we alert our colleagues if they hold up tasks for others. If there are factors outside of their control, we adjust their workload accordingly.
3. Trust your team
We value the contributions of our entire team. We want to ensure that everyone knows how much you mean to us, so we prioritize making sure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities. If you have questions, ask your manager.
This allows managers to focus on leading teams, not monitoring every minute of work. It also helps them communicate better with remote employees.
4. Use the right tools
Nowadays, there are tons of options to choose from. But for us, the most important thing is that every team member uses a tool that will help them stay organized and motivated to do a great job. We have a simple software-testing process that works great for us; it includes unit testing, static code analysis and integration testing – but we prefer thinking about these as guidelines rather than strict rules. In the end, the goal is to ship high-quality software.
A few communication tools are Discord, Zoom, Jira.
5. Have fun
We are all humans. We can’t work, work, and work all the time. However, social distancing can’t keep us from having fun. Here’s one of them:
- Schedule a virtual social hour. You all have a week full of tasks and stress sometimes. So why not organize just-for-fun gatherings at 4:00 pm on Friday?
6. Work-life balance
Given our flexible workplaces, many people often feel a sense of pressure. If you can’t face the office every day or attend a meeting with your colleagues in a coffee shop, you might feel pressure to spend more time online and working than you otherwise would in the office. Here are a few tips
- Where you work matters, we believe that a home office space separating life from work will be more productive and distraction-free.
- Keep yourself to a schedule. Give yourself a limit to a start and end time when things have to get done, or it’ll have to be taken care of the next day.
- Don’t neglect your daily care routine. Do some meal prep ahead of time or come up with go-to lunches. From an office, it’s easy to look for the nearest fast food spot. At home, you may not have that. But it would be best if you still got yourself fed.
We’d love to hear from people who work in a remote agile software development team and how you’re managing expectations and productivity.
These are secrets of agile project management that help us create a driven, productive team.