How to Build a Successful Distributed Software Development Team
Distributed software development is quickly gaining popularity especially in the recent years due to lock down times. The IT sector isn’t an exception, the number of businesses that switch to remote working style has drastically increased. Along with that, the shortage of software engineers on local markets made companies turn to various locations for required resources. It means that developers can be working for one and the same company but can be spread across multiple countries or even continents. They may never meet in reality though they can effectively deliver long-term, large, and complex projects.
There are many ways to go distributed like hiring freelance developers or engage with a software outsourcing company, staff augmentation agency or outstaffing provider. Each engagement model has its own peculiarities and may be aligned to one business but not fit another. If the project is small-scale and requires 1-2 developers then hiring freelance developers can be a good option. There are thousands of remote developers working worldwide at quite low rates. If the project is complicated and long term then turning to an outsourcing provider is a better option. They can provide you with a dedicated team of developers whom you can fully delegate the development of your product. This team has a wide range of advantages for a business looking to expand their current team or has no in-house team.
In this article, we look into the most effective techniques on how to build a distributed software development team and properly manage it with various collaboration tools.
Building Trust, Interpersonal Relationships
Project and team managers know that building trustful relationships in a team allows to quickly boost up its productivity. In united teams their members have low anxiety levels – they aren’t afraid to ask questions, discuss emerging issues, and propose their own ideas.
Establishing close interpersonal relationships in distributed development teams may appear quite challenging, especially for those managers working with these teams for the first time.
To make team-members interact with greater confidence and timely reveal any internal tensions in the group, team managers could:
- hold face-to-face meetings with team participants – this practice helps to define any hidden conflicts and resolve them at early stages, estimate general socio-emotional processes and tendencies in the group, and clarify each participant’s role in the project;
- inspire technical collaboration – gathering a project team for brainstorms, daily standups, task reviews, knowledge exchange, pair programming, and other work-oriented activities help to establish positive communication faster within a group;
- organize after-hours communication – team managers should check if it’s possible to gather their team members in one location for team-building activities. It can greatly facilitate communication in teams. Also, they could encourage their team participants to have small talks and chatter, just by sparing 10-15 mins for a friendly conversation before working meetings or establishing a stand-alone chatroom for non-related to work discussions.
Creating Clear Roadmap and Roles
Each team member should realize their value in the project. Also, they need to know who to refer to in case of any emerging issues, and who to ask for any particular information. Therefore, it’s important to clearly identify and elaborate on team members’ project roles and responsibilities.
Work with a project team isn’t limited only to team members’ introduction to each other and their role allocation. Team managers also need to make sure that the team understands the long and short-term goals of the project, its major milestones and deadlines, aims and objectives. For this, project managers have to create a clear project roadmap and hold an introductory meeting with a project team and project stakeholders to discuss the organizational matters.
Can Distributed Software Development Teams be Agile?
Distributed teams easily adopt Agile software development principles and continuous development practices.