Here's How to Effectively Manage Your Remote Developers and Boost Team Productivity


Jenna BunnellSenior Manager, Content Marketing, Dialpad

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Read this article to find out how to develop an effective management strategy that will boost your remote developers’ team productivity.

Article 8 Minutes
How to Manage Your Remote Developers and Boost Productivity
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In the digital age we’re seeing more and more companies benefiting from hiring remote workers like developers. It provides flexibility, increased productivity and the chance to hire based on skills rather than geographical location.

But, how do you go about managing your remote developers, ensuring they’re focused on tasks such as IBM i application modernization and generally delivering the results you expect?

In this article, we’ll look at the challenges that come with managing your remote team and provide you with seven top tips for getting the best out of your developers and boosting productivity.

Let’s get started.

To hire or not to hire?

Now, hiring a skilled developer is only the start of the process, and excellent management is a crucial part of it. While the idea of managing remote employees might frighten some people into doing away with hiring remote developers altogether, the issue of poor management can be solved easily once you know how to tackle it.

There are many benefits to hiring remote developers, including the fact that this:

  • Is cost-effective
  • Offers a selection of candidates
  • Provides flexibility
  • Increases work productivity

These are only a few benefits you can enjoy from hiring remote workers. However, they can only be maximized when a solid and well-thought-out management strategy is implemented. Therefore, ensuring the successful management of your employees is crucial. We explore this in more depth in the following section.

Why is the effective management of remote developers important?

As mentioned above, one of the reasons behind the importance of the effective management of remote developers is the maximization of the benefits they bring.

In addition to this, bad management can lead to micromanaging. When we talk about micromanaging here, we’re referring to the notion of closely observing and controlling all aspects of your developers’ work or project that has been assigned to them. Establishing a solid management strategy will help you avoid this pitfall that can often push employees away and reduce productivity.

Though this is evident, it’s also worth pointing out that mistakes made by remote developers can be costly. For this reason, you must be able to manage them, all while giving them the necessary space to breathe, in a way that minimizes the likelihood of mistakes being made. Of course, some are unavoidable; however, many can be averted thanks to a robust management strategy.

Challenges you can run into when looking to manage your remote developers

Talking about the necessity of good management is one thing, but implementing it is entirely different. Drawing up a plan is important, and part of doing so is knowing the challenges that might pop up in developing a winning management strategy.

Many of these challenges arise because every developer is an individual and will differ in how they approach their work. It can be particularly challenging when you want to manage a remote team of developers rather than one employee.

Individual way of doing things

Just as with any person, the developers you hire will have their own approach to how they work, the tools they like to use and the methods they like to employ. Therefore, they need to be trained to align their practices with those that suit your company best.

For instance, one developer may complete forecasting in Excel, another may use Google sheets, and a third your company software. Therefore, developers may require additional time and training to become familiar with your methods. But taking the time to unify your team’s approach will prevent time from being wasted in the future and thereby boost productivity.

Varying needs and thresholds

Similar to the point made above, the individuals you hire will differ in terms of their needs and thresholds. It means that while one of your developers can take on a big project and finish it within the necessary deadline, another may find it easier to take on smaller projects more frequently. Similarly, one of the remote developers may need to be motivated more than others. It can make the task of managing your team more difficult.

Different time zones

Dealing with multiple developers from different time zones can make harmonizing your projects difficult. For instance, it can make the setting of deadlines and meetings challenging. This is something that needs to be taken into account when looking to develop a good management strategy.

Now that we have covered why you should be focusing on properly managing your remote developers, let’s explore the ways you can achieve the successful management of a remote team.

7 tips on how to effectively manage your remote developers and boost team productivity

1. Communicate your goals and objectives

Doing this ensures everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals. It also gives developers the information they need to excel at their job; if there’s nothing to aim for, they will feel lost. Making sure you outline everything clearly in a custom software development agreement can really help you get things off to a good start.

2. Set outlines and guidelines

If you need something particular from your developers, particularly when it comes to individual projects, don't be afraid to convey it. It will save time for everyone involved, as it is likely that fewer revisions will be needed. However, be as sure as you can about what you want. It will decrease the chances of you changing your mind later and overwhelming the developer.

3. Get organized

Before approaching your remote developers with a new project, have everything mapped out. It includes project briefs, deadlines, guidelines, etc. Getting organized will help you assign projects to the most appropriate developers and avoid issues such as different time zones. Consider using tools to help you with this, such as an online fax service that you can use to share (and receive) documents with the relevant parties.

4. Prioritize communication

Setting out your goals and objectives is not going to be much use if the communication between you and the developers is inefficient. Given that we are talking about remote employees, effective communication is critical. Here, technology is a must.

There are various ways in which you can establish and promote communication, including the use of VoIP phone systems. VoIP phones use Voice over Internet Protocol technology to connect calls via the cloud, making them a much more flexible option than traditional phone systems. Look around for corporate phone plans that fit your budget and provide options that work with your company’s overall objectives.

5. Use technology

The leaps in technological advancement we have made mean that you’re likely spoilt for choice when dealing with finding software or platforms to facilitate the management of your remote workers.

A good project management tool will provide you with a project management platform and allow your team members, remote or otherwise, to communicate in various ways, be it via video conferencing or messaging. If you’re working on a small scale, it could also be worth looking into small business phone systems that offer options and prices more suited to your company's needs and budget.

You can also consider file sharing and storage tools. Choosing cloud-based options will help your team members stay on the same page without playing around with multiple versions of the same file.

6. Listen

Feedback is always important. While it’s a good idea to tell your developer what you require from them, communication should go both ways.

As such, make sure to listen to their advice and feedback. It can lead to the brainstorming of great ideas, help you avoid potential mistakes or issues, and lets your employee know they are valued. A developer who feels they can openly communicate any concerns they have with you is much more likely to cooperate and strive towards achieving your common goals.

7. Be receptive and flexible

It can be easy to take remote workers for granted and forget they aren’t always available. The fact is that although they enjoy the benefits of working from home (or a remote location of their choosing), they have their own pressures and needs to tackle.

Maintaining a good work-life balance isn’t easy, and helping them to successfully do so will contribute to successful managing efforts. Thus, be as receptive and flexible as possible so that they have the time and space needed to complete their tasks and feel valued by you. Whether by extending a deadline they are struggling to meet or taking concerns they have seriously, they should be treated just as any on-site employee would expect to be.

Start effective remote management today

Managing isn’t easy, and it can be even more daunting when the employees who need to be managed are not physically present. The good news is that the technology and tools at our disposal, in combination with a sound management strategy and adapted management style, can bridge any distance. The key points to remember are:

  • Set out your objectives
  • Communicate effectively
  • Use the available technology
  • Listen to your employees
  • Be receptive

Use these tips to help you effectively manage your remote developers and boost team productivity.

Jenna Bunnell

Jenna is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified communications system that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. She has also written for sites such as eHotelier and PayTabs.


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