22nd September 2019
Simple tips for managing remote web developers
Managing web developers is difficult in its own right but managing a team/individual hundreds of miles away, well that’s just adding fuel on the fire. However, there are ways to ensure that you and your developers work together to produce outstanding results and not frantically pull your hair out to achieve it.
Top tips for managing remote web developers
The first thing to tackle with a remote development team is the relationship you build with them. Admittedly this will always come with time. However, doing tasks that make their life easier and their job load more enjoyable will help to start a good, strong relationship. When you have a strong relationship with your team there tends to be a level of trust and respect. This, in turn, will create a more productive and creative outcome. With increasing a relationship with your team, it gets easier to evaluate what motivates and excels an individual. Knowing what makes them tick will really help you on getting the best out of them. So, take the time to know your team on a more personal level, you will find communication gets a lot easier from this.
For me, I have found that having real knowledge in what you are requesting from your team is essential. Of course, sending over a project brief should be enough. Shouldn’t it? This is not always going to be the case. You need to know what it is you are handling and working with. The development team will feel a big sense of relief when you know what they need when they need it and what the issues are of not having useful information. If you don’t keep up to date with the technical workings or updates in the coding world, you could be as useless.
So, make time to brush up on your technical knowledge. The more you know the less time the team must take on explaining and guiding you, leaving them calm and focused on what they know.
Another key area to really focus on is the timekeeping for your team. If you don’t keep on top of this then you may as well drop it all. The best way to go forward with this is setting out the timescales to your developers before making a start on any work. If they know the time that they have to complete each task they can then inform you of the realistic outcome.
There are helpful tools to make tackling remote developers much easier. The tools that I find are very useful include Skype, Trello and BugHerd. Skype is a great place to stay in touch with your development team. Every part of skype is easy to use with the messenger to the video calls being very well displayed and positioned.
For keeping on top of what is currently going on in development, Trello is a perfect application. This tool allows you to create a board for each project you are working on or will soon be undertaking. You can then on each board you create, add multiple columns and notes within each column. From here you can see the timeline that each task needs to be completed by and which tasks are outstanding/ have been achieved. I find this very helpful to monitor where the team are and when I need to check over any finished work straight away.
Lastly, we use BugHerd, which I could not recommend more. With this application being useful for project managers, developers and clients. This Feedback tool allows you to create notes directly onto the website. As I am sure you’ll know, having to explain exactly where an issue or change request lays on a webpage can be very time consuming, this tool cuts out those sometimes crucial minutes. It gives you the ability to pin the exact area on the webpage you are referring to. You can then describe what needs changing, add any attachments that are required, list the importance of the tasks that have been created and assignment of the task to a specific person/ team. This application really minimises those small chunks of valuable management time that can be better spent elsewhere in the project.
In some cases, you may find that you are working with a team that is on a completely different time zone. This can be very frustrating as you’ll want to be in constant communication but this just isn’t realistic. The best way to ensure you are tackling this problem from the best angle is preparation.
One downfall will be if you haven’t gathered all the necessary information for a project or task. If you deliver instructions that are well laid out and thoroughly explained but you haven’t provided correct tools such as logins for the website or deadlines, then your development team will not be able to do the tasks given to them which could impact the whole project timeline.
To effectively manage a remote team, you’ll need: to gather a strong rapport, further understanding, organisation, patience, focus, persistence and just a little more patience. You will find that working with a remote team is not all that bad and it can not only be done but is rewarding also. Good luck with your future projects and the team you battle through them with.