Every part of the process matters, starting from the successful search for employees and the setting up of the work process, right up to organizing training within the team. First of all, the company's owner needs to decide which type is more suitable for the business: a team of remote employees or an on-site option.

(Photo: Austin Distel, Unsplash) 

In this article, we will discuss in detail how to build a remote team.

Effective team: on-site vs. remote work

One of the main reasons why remote engineering teams are so popular is that they unite talented developers, regardless of their geographical location. There is also a strong case for saying that as the team uses digital solutions to work together, it becomes easier to control and manage a remote engineering team, since the history of all actions and conversations is recorded and available to everyone at any time.

Adaptation can take a bit of time, and some business processes may be configured at a slower pace than in companies with a single office. In a remote team of developers, employees aren't necessarily next to each other when solving tasks; everything is based on the fact that they work asynchronously.

However, everyone understands not only their area of ​​work but also has a vision of the whole process as well - and this is key to a remote team working well.

Details of a project are discussed and recorded at regular online meetings. Of course, this result requires proper work organization, and the agile approach helps here a lot.

Communication and control in a remote engineering team

When you manage a remote engineering team, you need to formulate a process that works for your team, in terms of communication within the team, task assignment, discipline, and control. When a team is scattered across the country or even around the world in different time zones, the CTO has to effectively build the communication process as well as getting to know the team’s life in general and the individual employee in particular.

If people don’t feel like a part of something wider, their motivation drops, thus the whole team’s effectiveness falls. The most effective way of combating this is to organize weekly online meetings for remote engineering teams, planning and prioritizing plans for the week and analyzing current tasks. All participants should be ready for meetings, know the topic, and be ready to share their ideas.

Effective monitoring

Another part of organizing remote engineering teams is tracking results. It's great if every member of the team is motivated and closes their tasks on time and in a proper way. But the world is not perfect, and neither are people, so the task of a CTO is also to regularly monitor the implementation of tasks by the employees.

Video calls are an important part of getting to know your team (photo: Visuals, Unsplash)

It's useful to conduct 'one-to-one' online meetings with each member of a remote team of developers to give them the opportunity to speak out on things they would not dare to write in the general chat, to discuss their working conditions, and for you to evaluate their effectiveness.

It isn't always easy to find the ideal tool for organizing the work of a remote engineering team - it's often a case of trying one of more applications in search of something convenient and efficient. Starting from simple calls on Skype, Zoom, or Hangouts and going up to multifunctional applications like Jira or Redmine, the main thing is to ensure teamwork and the 'task-action-result' connection.

Note that Slack and Basecamp are also good for remote teams, but you should configure the applications to suit the unique needs of your organization.

The human factor, and hiring a remote team of developers

Remote teams differ both in terms of relations within the team and in the methods of recruiting employees. If the company chooses to have a remote team, then it should look for people with qualities suitable for this setup. There needs to be a willingness for people to take ownership of their work and to work autonomously or independently, and without 'hand-holding' from senior management.

This narrows the choice of specialists: someone may be an ideal candidate in terms of technical knowledge, but completely unprepared for remote work.

Hence, the focus should be on the personal qualities of remote engineering teams.

Appropriate KPIs for everyone

The setting of key performance indicators (KPIs) is one of the most discussed topics in the tech industry. In the context of working with each individual employee, it’s ideal to create a personal development plan (PDP), which allows the tracking of the development of skills and the improvement of results in each individual's case.

You can also switch employees around within small groups to visually compare their effectiveness, building transferable skills within the group, and creating the right combination based on professional and human factors.

In general, the approach to assessing KPIs is similar in both remote and on-site teams, but there is a significant difference in the rate of work intensity for remote engineering teams. Workers in another country may have a different workflow to someone in your own office. All this affects the result, and it is better to discuss such details with the employees in advance, to gain a proper understanding of their needs and wishes.

Conclusion

Here's how to build a remote team: with a competent approach, sound hiring and onboarding practices, and emotional intelligence. With all of these things in place, the arrangement can be profitable for your business.

There are multiple effective tools to help organize and manage remote engineering teams. The head of the engineering team should also take every opportunity to explain and implement their business plans, and to take a leading position in a complex, competitive, environment.

Want to build your own remote engineering team? Talk to the experts!