How to Keep Remote Software Teams on Schedule
For many managers, remote teams are deemed undesirable because of the manager’s inability to physically supervise them, ensuring that they’re staying on schedule and completing tasks in a timely manner.
This concern can deter companies from hiring remotely, which is a shame due to all the benefits that come with employing remote workers- such as increased productivity and innovation, as well as decreased costs.
Luckily, in this article, we’re going to explore some methods as to how to keep your remote software team on schedule.
1. Make sure that remote hires have both a passion for the project, as well as the necessary skills to successfully complete it.
During the hiring process, look for candidates with an obvious interest in the project that you’d potentially be hiring them to work on. After all, it’s no secret that an employee will be more dedicated to a project that they are passionate about.
Additionally, test during the hiring process that the employee possesses the skills that they need to complete the project to your standards. A skilled employee is less likely to get caught up in obstacles than one who is less proficient.
2. Make sure that you are aware of potential problems and how they may occur.
As a manager, being prepared for a disaster and knowing what to do in the event that it happens, is the best way to keep a team moving forward. When assigning a project to a remote employee, do your research first and have a plan in place in the event of the worst case scenario. This will ensure that if the problem pops up, you’ll be able to fix it quickly, while keeping the employee on schedule to complete the project.
3. Have regular check-ins so you know whether or not your remote employees are on schedule.
It’s difficult to feel as though you’re maintaining control over an employee when they aren’t with you in the office. Fortunately, with tools such as Skype, Google Hangouts, and Slack, it’s extremely easy to periodically check-in with remote workers.
Check-in using video chat or simply a text chat. Ask the employee what they’ve completed, what they’re currently working on, and what they have left on their agenda for the day. If anything seems like it’s taking longer than it should or you think that another part of the process needs to be prioritized, don’t hesitate to voice your concerns. Open communication is the biggest key to success when it comes to managing remote workers.
4. Assign deliverables to be completed in small chunks so that you have insight into how the project is going.
Break the overall project into small parts and assign due dates for each section. This way, you can see each part of the puzzle as it’s completed, giving you an early look as to how everything is going to fit together to form the final product.
Doing this will also allow you to catch any potential mistakes early on in development, saving everyone the headache of having to make corrections down the road.
5. Assign buddies to your remote workers.
Assigning buddies to remote employees is a great way to keep them on track. Additionally, by putting two minds together to complete a project, you’ll double their chances of success.
Buddies can be local employees or another remote employee- whichever you’d prefer. Either way, assigning pairs when it comes to remote work is an amazing way to increase productivity, problem-solving ability, and more.
6. Have a defined “problem escalation” process, which remote employees can use.
Similarly to our point in #2, acknowledging potential problems and deciding how to solve them before they happen, is a great strategy when it comes to keeping employees from drifting off course. Nothing causes a project to be set back like the unearthing of massive problem, late in the game.
While you, as a manager, should be aware of potential problems and methods for solving them, you should also make your remote employees aware of the problems and solutions. This way, if everything goes wrong, you’ll know that both you and your remote worker understand what went wrong and how to go about fixing it.
7. Have a plan for securing additional resources, in the event of a problem.
Should a problem arise, be sure that you have members of your local team on standby to help your remote employees out. When it comes to a crisis, you should have an “all hands on deck” policy, so that your remote worker doesn’t feel as though they’re an abandoned, sinking ship.
8. Build in extra time and resources.
If a project must absolutely be completed by a specific date, then be sure to start it early, setting the initial “due date” for weeks (or even months) before it is necessary to have it finalized. Additionally, take on the expense of being prepared by having extra resources available to employees while they work on the project.
Extra time and resources may seem unnecessary at the start of a project, however, you and your employees will be grateful for the cushion, should a problem occur.
Once again, when it comes to a project being completed by remote employees, knowing how to dodge and fix problems before it’s a necessity, is crucial to keeping remote workers on schedule.
A remote worker that winds up off-schedule wastes company time and money, potentially even throwing off the launch of a new product.
To get the most value out of your remote employees, you’ll need to adjust your management styles to allow for as little error as possible.
Getting the most out of remote workers starts with the people that you hire. At Turing, we thoroughly pre-vet our remote software engineers, requiring them go through multiple rounds of interviews, testing, and background checks. After that, we only accept the top 1% of applicants into our database, guaranteeing that our customers are matched to the highest quality remote workers.
Visit our website to start building your remote team with Turing.