How to Build a Remote Team for IT Project in 2 Weeks
Every successful project needs a whole team to introduce strategies, handle the troubleshooting, consider risks and do the technical work. However, not every startup is ready to hire in-office employees, because of the costs. Moreover, you might not find the proper expert for your project onsite, so it’s the case when IT outsourcing or outstaffing or staff augmentation will be very helpful. According to Timedoctor, some profitable companies have 50%-100% of their employees as effective virtual teams spread across the globe. 15Five writes that 54 percent of business owners plan that their workforce will be working remotely in 2017.
Remote team building might seem a heavy task, but in fact, it’s not – you will understand this as soon as you start the process of hiring a distributed team for your startup.
Why Working with a Remote Team Is so Popular?
Cooperation with the workers, who are not coming into your office, or, basically – outsourcing, is becoming more popular nowadays. Enlisting the services and development resources outside of your office or even country has many positive sides both for the employer and the developer. The remote dev team may appear to be more productive and profitable for the company.
Already in 2014 Nicholas Bloom, the professor from Stanford University, conducted an experiment to study, how the remote work influences the effectiveness of the staff. During the experiment, he discovered such things:
- 13.5% more work was made from home;
- $1,900 – the amount of the costs saved per one employee for the period of 9 months;
- ⅓ increase in productivity due to having a quieter environment;
- ⅔ increase in productivity happened because people at home were working more hours.
Companies are searching for a remote development team because they want to have access to the international pool of talents and hire the best of the best, need to optimize operation costs by having a virtual office instead of the real one, want to be more attractive for the workers, offering the possibility to work from any place.
Benefits of a Remote Team for Your Project
Engineering teams working at the distance are the future of technology in this sector. Although now they are not a major type of cooperation with the programmers, they are still contributing greatly to various projects around the world. If you are still hesitating between onsite and remote teams, consider the following benefits of HR outsourcing:
- Productivity. Approximately 69 percent of the poll participants by Scout demonstrated higher productivity when working remotely, while 75% claimed that the timeliness of their work improved.
- Cost Reduction. Companies that hire a remote developer report a big decrease in expenditures, according to Lifesize. For example, Aetna has nearly 14,500 employees (which is almost a half) work remotely and saved $78 million on office space rent. Another company American Express saved $10-15 million by hiring people remotely.
- More Engagement. Remote employees are often more engaged with their tasks and projects that people in the office. According to the study, 87 percent of remote workers feel more connected.
- More productive time distribution. The engineering team remote is free from the formalities, usual for the traditional work setting. It means you spend more time on the actual work and less time on various business meetings, planners and so on.
- Happy employees. Programmers often have an unusual working graphic. For example, someone would better work at 5:00 AM, while the other dev is more productive late at night. Working from home they can easily follow their personal rhythms, be happier and more productive.
How to Hire Remote Development Team?
Hiring a worker that you have met in person is a usual business thing, but bringing to the team someone you have never met seems to be quite a challenging task, right? It’s a long way to the top if you hire a remote development team, so we have prepared useful information for you on this matter and structured it into smart tips for your to build a successful remote team. Its goal is to simplify the recruitment process, hiring, and onboarding of your new virtual crew.
Tip 1. Develop an effective job description. Determine the main skills and experience, vital for the person to work in your project. Write a detailed job post, indicate the responsibilities of the future worker, must-have and nice-to-have skills. Post this information on the biggest job portals.
Tip 2. Check the resumes of the best candidates. Ask for the recommendations, which you can check. Go deeper into the references and ask some questions about the initiative and the experience of independent work. Keep in mind that you need a crew, able to work without a boss looking over the shoulder.
Tip 3. Test the competencies of the candidates. You can make it in the form of interview or a skills assessment, depending on your needs and the particular role of the employee. For example, if you need a worker for customer support, give the candidates a real issue to deal with. Pay attention to the self-reliance and independence, shown by a candidate. Remember, that interviews are stressful and anxiety-inducing – separate nervousness of the candidate from competency.
Tip 4. Give time. Leave some time for the onboarding period, where you and your future virtual crew can get a sense and dynamic of distant cooperation. The most important thing in this period – communication. Managing remote teams try to understand, how your new employees are spending their time, pay attention to their weaknesses and strengths. A nice option is to develop a small initial project, which helps workers to showcase their skills, initiative, and ability to work independently. On this stage plan to spend quite a long time for video calls and messaging. Make sure that your new partners have the support they need to work efficiently.
Tip 5. Hire the right people. If you cannot trust the person you are hiring on the stage of the interview, you’d better not hire him\her at all. You will save much time and effort. Choosing to outsource, you have access to a huge pool of talents all over the world. It is the best option you can imagine to build a crew you are absolutely comfortable with.
You have several options for the remote team building. You can look for the resumes and pick candidates from the job portals, read the applications, make tests. This process is quite complicated and time-consuming. Especially, if you need a big team for software development or website building. The alternative option is to look for the companies, providing the IT services on the outsourcing basics.
Remote Team Onboarding Checklist
As a remote team is miles away from the main office, instructing the contractors and getting them up to speed is challenging. To make sure the team is clear on its tasks and responsibilities, you need to onboard employees efficiently.
Here’s the onboarding checklist to instruct you how to create a successful remote team:
- Instruct the team on data security and intellectual property. Since the main office has no direct oversight over remote teams, make sure everybody involved in the project can protect confidential information and company-related data on its own. To ensure the vendor will not use your documentation and project management practices for other projects, establish a fine policy for sharing the company’s intellectual property.
- Introduce the team to the project management toolkit. To know how to create a team remote offices, ensure all employees can navigate communication, task management, and progress monitoring tools freely, are signed into their respective accounts, and uploaded photos to identify themselves. It’s better to prepare short best-practices guides per platform.
- Choose and explain the communication strategy. Establish the hours of the day when the team should be available, choose a fixed day of the week for a conference call, and choose a preferred tool for communication (Skype, Slack, Basecamp, etc.).
- Discuss the team’s preferred payment model. Find out which payment methods are available in the team’s place of residence and discuss the procedure – monthly, weekly, quarterly transfers.
Best Practices For Remote Team Onboarding
Thinking about how to build a remote team effortlessly, use technology tools and benefit from other businesses’ experience. As a rule of thumb, these are the best and most common onboarding practices:
1. Use virtual onboarding tools
If you’re wondering how to build dedicated team connections, hosting face-to-face conference calls is crucial. To make sure there’s no ‘fourth wall’ between the main office and remote employees, use tools for conference calls and instant messaging – there’s no lack of available platforms on the market.
2. Automate employee onboarding
Creating automation guides and checklists spares HR teams the need of having to explain the basics of onboarding multiple times. Using tools for batch email sending and writing team letters based on presets is another way to make the onboarding process as effortless as possible.
3. Keep the team engaged
If there are no on-going assignments to allocate to the team, don’t keep corporate communication channels silent. Conducting team building activities and encouraging members to interact via Slack or other platforms is a way to build a corporate culture.
4. Promote independent work
Answering the most common questions with detailed checklists is a smart employee management practice. Yet, when you’re building a dedicated team that knows what to do, guiding employes through every step through onboarding is unnecessary. Keep in mind that employee training is a possibility to develop self-management skills and the ability to work independently.
Offer controlled onboarding activities for the first half of the workday, leaving the rest of the time to the team. Check on how the employees are handling tasks and communications every once in two-three days.
5. Assign role-specific training sessions
This way, you will be able to test the skills of the employees that cover every segment of tasks. To make sure you’re going the right way about how to successfully build a remote team, try one of these methods:
- Use interactive learning courses, with quizzes and games, to boost engagement and facilitate progress tracking;
- Record explainer videos to explain the product basics in an engaging way;
- Ask the team for feedback after every training session to know how the main company can improve the experience.
Paying Methods For Remote Teams
It’s not easy to find a payment method that will be accepted abroad, with little-to-no processing fees. Usually, a dedicated development team for big projects is paid in one of the following ways:
- Platforms for e-payment: PayPal, Pioneer, and others;
- Remittance services: Western Union and such. Keep in mind that WU processing fees are higher than those of e-payment platforms;
- International bank transfers – secure, don’t require using third-party solutions, but expensive;
- An ACH transfer.
After establishing a preferred payment method, find out, which currency is preferred by the remote team – the employees might want to get paid in the home country’s currency or stick to the most popular circulating currencies – US dollars or Euros.
Alternative Method of Hiring a Remote Development Team
Team building for remote employees is a long and difficult process. Well, you can make it easier just in 2 steps. First, make a list of team members you need. Second, contact Mobilunity, and provide us with your job requirements.
Hire a dream team at Mobilunity, and save up your recruiting costs and time. We will analyze your requirements, pick the best devs according to your requirements, and make an offer within the shortest period of time. Our experts are experienced in online collaboration, have great communication skills and will become your dedicated dream team of developers for your project.
Top 4 Mistakes in Managing Remote Teams
There’s yet no one-size-fits-all framework in remote team management. It has been around for roughly two decades – company managers are yet unaware of remote collaboration challenges when hiring.
As a result, communication delays, lack of efficiency tracking, and low employee retention are the common causes of fallout among partially or fully remote teams. To make sure you don’t make rookie mistakes learning how to manage remote teams, watch out for these blunders:
Mistake #1. Lack of Control
Remote employees have to deal with daily distractions – families, home errands, and many more that office employees don’t face during workdays. There are tons of things that can distract a remote employee – as a result, they forget to turn assignments in by the deadline, your progress stalls, and the final project doesn’t meet the worst of the time estimates.
Although you don’t want to limit or stalk your remote team, controlling employees to an extent is crucial for a faster project turnaround. Here are a few tips on how to manage remote teams in a non-invasive way.
- Use a project management system. Tools like Asana, Trello, or Redmine help keep track of all deadlines and assignments. Placing tasks and writing status updates takes no more than 15 minutes per day – yet, every employee will have a better idea of his performance and will be motivated to put in more hours. By creating healthy competition, you encourage team members to not slack off while their peers are working productively.
- Daily calls. Turn short conference calls into a corporate tradition – during a Hangouts or Skype meetup, all employees will describe their achievements during the previous days and outline the goals for the next one. Thanks to daily calls, your team will not lose sight of why their work matters. By outlining their plans to peers, remote employees will feel the responsibility of staying true to their word.
- Keep the goals on the team’s mind to learn how to manage remote developers successfully. Make sure every member of a remote unit understands her role in the company and sees the big-picture view of how any given task contributes to the project.
Mistake #2. Treating a Remote Team as Robots
One of the challenges in learning how to manage developers in a project is to keep the human connection alive when you talk to your employees via written communication tools. At some point, you will feel the temptation to treat the team as task-carrying robots.
If you lack the awareness of your employees’ personality, these tips will help you find the best way to manage remote teams.
- Praise your team genuinely. Never take high project quality for granted. Acknowledge the amount of effort and time your remote team puts in by praising employees for each contribution.
- Set up one-on-one meetings every once in a while to find out how your team members would like to develop at work, which tasks motivate them, what aspects of collaboration could be improved.
- Create an environment where team members can chat with each other. Most importantly, encourage the discussions outside of the work realm – for any managed remote development team, set a day and a time for sharing each other’s hobbies, favorite movies, books, or discussing hot news stories.
Mistake #3. Using a Single Communication Channel
Due to time zone differences, and the lack of space-time unity between team members communication delays will happen anyway – no remote unit is free of them. However, they are times more likely if the manager uses a single communication channel.
To make sure no team member will ignore, miss, or forget about an important message, share it via different means. Writing a corporate email, texting via Slack, and adding a message to the task management system are good ways to keep high readability in a well managed remote team.
Mistake #4. Looking for a wrong skillset
Managers tend to hire in-house and remote employees based on the same principles. While local and long-distance teams share technical skills, both types of employees need to be proficient in additional aspects of work.
Looking for the right employee is a crucial part of learning how to manage your remote team. Make sure the candidate has developed these skills:
- Knows how to set up a work environment at home, is not distracted the lack of control;
- Is proficient in written communication answers your messages with no delay;
- Has no issues with webcam communication (you’ll have to ask this specifically since, for many, video conference calls are a barrier);
- Knows how to deal with time zone differences, keeps them in mind when planning tasks and communicating with peers;
Is a self-starter and doesn’t need constant guidance or a stream of assignments to stay productive.
Pieces of Advice for Managing Remote Teams: Make It Easy
You may notice, that this process differs from managing the in-house work. But if you have never worked with people on an outsourcing basis, you may find it complicated and confusing. For sure, this process requires creativity, open-mindedness, and a special skill set. If you have no idea how can you manage the work of people you have never met, we have 7 tips for managing remote teams.
1. Communicate Frequently
Many problems appear as a result of poor communication. If you want to hire a remote development team for a long run, try to have regular contact during the working time. Friendly and open communication helps to build healthy relations in a crew. It will help your workers to feel included and stay tuned to what’s happening in the company. For example, the semi-regular one-to-one meeting is a nice option for getting feedback.
2. Define the Procedures
Set boundaries from the beginning to make clear the workflows, data availability and key contacts for the developers. Managing a remote team determine, how and when you will communicate with the programmers, what turnaround time you expect to have, how people can ask for help and get it.
3. Be Transparent
Working with a remote team you cannot expect the programmers to open up unless you are leading them by example. It is vital for the efficient workflow to discuss issues and share the opinions. Sharing corporate objectives, expectations and vision is important to create a complete picture of your company.
4. Organize the Workflow
The structured work brings more profit. Managing remote teams it is important to know what everyone is working on, despite the location. All the data should be organized, structured and available for all the crew members. Determine multiple ways of communication: use email, corporate chat, video calls. Everyone should know what’s happening in the project and what else should be done to see the complete picture of what’s going on.
5. Track the Progress
In the remote team, management tries to make the progress visible and accountable. Track time to balance the workflow. It can help the developers to structure their time better and improve productivity. Sharing the activity with colleagues helps to stay tuned to the common rhythm. You can use automatic time trackers or time tracking applications.
6. Meet Up
It might be expensive and complicated, but if you are planning long cooperation with the dedicated developers, but meeting with a virtual team at least once a year is important for healthy cooperation. Remote team building goes faster and more natural if you communicate not only via Skype. Meaningful working relations are also impossible without communication on some non-working topics.
7. Hold Cooperative Activities
How to manage remote teams friendly and with fun? Inclusive activities may help to become not only colleagues but also friends. It also works for the virtual team. For example, you can have sone championship in a virtual game or even a fitness-challenge with video evidence (or on air). Just don’t be too annoying with that.
Mobilunity – Perfect Choice for Hiring a Remote Team
Working with a remote team is definitely the best option for the new project you’re about to start. You can’t use old-fashioned methods like networking, putting an ad on a job board, or overpaying local recruiters to find development team, because this is time-consuming and very costly.
Mobilunity can help you to create a crew fast and without haste. The experienced managers will pick the programmers according to your needs and goals. We know how to manage a remote team to reach the best results. With Mobilunity you get access to the professional programmers with strong skills and proven experience. Bright minds and cutting-edge technologies are on our side.
Classic hiring methods don’t work anymore and are quite outdated. They take time and need resources which you will not be eager to waste. So wouldn’t it be more effective to delegate the hiring process to expert companies like Mobilunity that are experienced in outsourcing services and able to meet your needs? You will save half of the time and start working with your new remote team of developers within only a few days after contacting the manager.