How To Manage A Remote Team Of Software Developers 1
by Aether in

Last Updated on November 1, 2019 by Aether

Any business, no matter how profitable it is, wants to cut down its operational costs. For the IT niche, outsourcing and hiring software developing teams offshore are the most effective ways of doing that. This practice also allows focusing on the company’s core goals instead of spending a lot of time and effort on non-primary functions.

A professional team of software developers can combine expertise and low-cost software development to become a successful business strategy. Such big companies as SeatGeek, Skype, or Opera have always employed outsourced workers.

For this reason, the knowledge of how to manage the remote team effectively is crucial if you have some deadlines and accurate requirements for your project. The following methodological ideas and tips will hopefully become a helping hand on your way to success.

Software Development Methodologies

If you hire a remote developing team, think about the correct software development methodology to be on the same page with your remote employees. The choice depends on the team size, its goals, and some other factors. Here are the most widely used methodologies. You can pick out one of them due to the needs of your company and your specific team.

1.         Waterfall

This methodology is considered to be an old-school one. It is still used in large and plan-driven companies that understand well the project’s scope following plenty of documentation and structural instructions. To start with, customers and developers need to understand the key demands and scope of work. The sequence of stages is: determining requirements and scope, requirements analysis, design of the project, implementation, testing, deploying and, finally, maintaining. The big minus of this approach is a lack of flexibility.

2.         Feature-driven development (FDD)

It is a client-centered approach that will belong to the past soon, though is still very popular. It fits great for a smaller business as well as for small developers’ teams. The pieces of work should be delivered to clients every two weeks at least. There are five steps in this approach: developing a model, forming a feature list, planning due to each feature, designing by feature, and building by feature. Reporting is essential at each stage to track results, progress, and possible mistakes.

3.         Agile Methodology

This approach is characterized by the need to produce software very fast. The focus is on individuals who can interact with each other over tools. Customer collaboration plays a great part here. The plan can always be changed, and following the set-in-stone scheme is impossible. The goal is to present a practical version of the software instead of documentation for it. 

Agile is difficult for collaboration within a team because it values individuals and their personal characteristic features only. Client satisfaction is a priority here. There are several types of agile methodologies to consider: agile scrum methodology, lean and kanban software development, extreme programming (XP), crystal methodology, dynamic systems development method (DSDM), feature-driven development, etc.

4.         Scrum Project Management

This approach roots in Agile basic beliefs and philosophy. The main idea is that developers should cooperate with teams daily and heartily. The iterative approach is used here which requires much self-management and self-organization. The end goals are broken into smaller ones, and the work is done in small fixed-length iterations. The important place here is given to meetings. Demos are used to follow the progress and collect feedback. This methodology combines old-school development methods wit flexibility and practices of agile.

5.         Extreme Programming (XP)

This approach also belongs to the agile framework. It helps to produce higher-quality software. It allows frequent releases of ready products. The approach follows some set of values which include simplicity, communication, consistent feedback, and respect for each other. It requires to plan first by understanding customers’ needs. The work is thoroughly planned and divided into iterations. The design is simple, coded, and often tested. The latter increases the fault-free software results.

6.         Lean

The basic principles of this approach are optimizing the whole, eliminating waste, building in the quality, creating knowledge pieces, deferring commitment, delivering fast, and respecting customers. Decision making is promoted across the company to be able to see potential issues and to maintain a healthy corporate culture within the organization. Unlike Agile, Lean includes instructions for applying it across the organization and outside the developing work.

10 Tips for Remote Team of Developers Management: Collaboration Is a Must

It’s not a secret anymore that the most reputable businesses from the G7 countries, and not only they, hire software development teams offshore. That is why a clear understanding of how to manage such remote workers is essential. Here, you can see the 10 top practices for managing your remote employees.

1.         Communication Practices

Since your remote developers will be working on a different location and even in a different time zone, be attentive about scheduling meetings. The launch of your product can be delayed if you have some communication gaps. Considering software development in Europe, remember that Ukraine is located quite comfortable within three time zones, so choosing a software development company here will be more beneficial for you.

2.         Tools Are Essential

To structure the teamwork, it is important to use such tools as an email service, some instant messaging platform, file sharing options, video conferencing, project management software, and other required tools. They will allow you to organize, rank, and manage your projects in the most consistent way.

3.         A Work Spot for Meetings

The place must be quiet and equipped with a reliable Internet connection, a computer with a microphone, and a video camera.

4.         Project Guidelines and Work Procedures

Project guidelines should be useful enough to deal with teamwork, accountability, and productivity. The project idea and expected outcomes should be presented in detail.

Include all the functionality into the project requirements documents. The quality of the future product will depend much on the accuracy of the information delivered to the team. The procedures should include how often the project meetings will be held and what kind of communication tools (Jira, Skype, or others) will be used. A quick summary session is also needed at the end of each meeting to highlight the decisions made and the new goals set.

5.         Business Trips

If you hire a nearshoring developer team, you can make a short business trip to meet these IT experts in person. They will get inspired by your vision of the project, your excitement, and interest as well as by the possibility to establish personal contacts.

6.         Involvement and Dedication

When you do not care what is going on, leave your hired developers alone for a long time, and come back to them only before the very launch, the result will be disastrous. Remember that as a project initiator, you need to become a team’s cheerleader. To start with, take part in all the online meetings to show your involvement and dedication.

7.         Feedback Is Important

The results of the whole project may depend much on how fast, extensive, and professional your feedback is. Decide what kind of tools you will be using for it with your project manager, and keep everyone informed about possible rewards, notes, alterations, and new tasks needed to follow the previous ones.

8.         Being Simple for Understanding

Remember that communication must be clear if you want your project to be successful. Decide which terminology you will be using, and check whether all your employees are on the same page. Do not use idioms, set phrases, proverbs, or slang for making explanations because they can easily be misunderstood.

When you are having a video call, keep smiling and express your good sense of humor to establish positive communication.

9.         Trust Is Essential

When you hire remote developers, treat them as the members of your team and trust them. If you don’t have any technical background, listen to your designers and developers for a better understanding of what they are doing or suggest doing. That can essentially improve your product. 

When hiring, give preference to a full-stack software company. They will perceive your idea quickly and support this product after its release. You will have to spend more time explaining and coordinating the workflow if you hire some third-party QA engineers and designers.

10.   Rewarding Developers

Every professional is looking forward to the approval on part of their team leader. Giving praise is inherent in team management. It can boost performance. Try to explain clearly what you like in the project fulfillment at the beginning of every meeting. Let them know that they are going in the right direction.

At the end of the project, express your praise and gratitude by sending badges or T-shirts with the logo of the company or the newly-developed product. Cash bonuses can also be a good reward. Moreover, they will leave a lasting positive impression on your cooperation.

Why Hire Remote Software Developers and How Much It Costs

The question of the pros and cons of hiring remote software developers arises very often because our world has entered a new technological stage of development which makes it too small in front of new opportunities and challenges. So, if you stick to your traditional in-house workers only, you will miss some opportunities for improvement such as:

  • Productivity (some team members can work only with the flexible schedule);
  • Access top talents around the globe (it is possible to hire workers from Berlin, London, or Kyiv to work on the same project instead of constant training for your overloaded in-house employees);
  • Reduction of resource costs (no office space, special equipment, covering of commuting, or coffee supplies are required);
  • Coverage of time zones (the work can be done instantly, simultaneously, and non-stop).

Another question that is always asked by business owners is how much hiring developers offshore costs. Of course, the salary expenses will be lower, if you hire a remote worker. It can be much lower if you hire a developer from Eastern Europe or any other developing country. For example, if you hire a Ukrainian developer, it will cost you about 7 times less than if you hire an Australian developer. So, look for great remote workers in less developed markets, and a smaller price. Yet, you won’t have to sacrifice the quality of the end product. It can even be higher.


All in all, managing software development teams online does not differ much from working with such teams in person. If you set the straightforward requirements and procedures, show your enthusiasm and involvement, use the correct managing methodology, and feel responsible for the project, your team will also get involved and do their best to let the set goals be reached as planned. Remember that even the smallest details and parts of work will need your feedback. Your responses to your team will account for the overall speed of development and success of the project.

Apart from the right management strategies, you need clear communication, an accurate explanation of the objectives, requirements, and deadlines as well as appropriate resources and tools for effective work on the project.

Aether has been playing World of Warcraft since 2006. In his youth he raided 7 days a week, but now just plays with friends doing Mythic dungeons and Arena. He swaps his main more often than he should.
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