Effectively Manage Your Remote Development Team

Before going to manage your remote WordPress team effectively, you must choose the right one. If you are considering or in the process of hiring a remote WordPress development team or even a developer, then you should check this article first.

Remote is the Future. Period.

Even before COVID, remote working was growing, and now because of the lockdowns, it’s grown exponentially. For example, in 2017, Automattic, the company behind WordPress, closed its San Francisco office. Although Automattic already has a distributed workforce, they didn’t close the San Fransisco office to cut costs. Instead, employees preferred to work full time from home, coffee shops, or anywhere they want.

People will come back to offices when workplaces open, but the tech industry will likely see the same upward trend and natural adoption in remote work cultures. Global giants like Facebook and Google allowing their employees to work from home until the summer of 2021.

So, small to medium businesses also need to adapt to trends and cash out the opportunity.

Embrace and Encourage Diversity

Your remote WordPress developer team may include people from different parts of the world, faith and belief systems, gender preferences, and communication styles.  

It is a good thing; diversity is good for business. Big organizations prefer multicultural teams; it fosters innovation.

As a manager, you should break the ice between your distributed team members. If the team is new, initiate non-work-related, casual discussions over video calls (virtual hangouts, literally). Video calls are a better way of communicating. Make them feel like part of the team, not just a remote code factory, encourage them to speak up, share their views. Embrace the unfamiliar accents and language differences.

Engagement not just Communication

Communication is considered one of the most important yet problematic areas in remote or work-from-home settings. Managers tend to solve the same with the bombardment of information exchange with a myriad of tools. Yes, communication is essential, and you need tools to facilitate it. But the real issue is with the lack of engagement in these communications channels.

To make it engaging, you need to keep it short, fun, yet focused. Try to use video tools; video is better than text email and Slack/WhatsApp chats. Yes, videos cannot replace face-to-face interactions, but it is the next best thing in the remote setting. You can see people’s faces, their expressions which is a crucial part of communication. Not one set of rules will apply to all remote team settings, but you need to find your own set of rules as a leader.

They are not vendors

They are not your vendors; it is your team; it just happens to be working remotely. All that goes into building and managing an in-house team goes into the remote teams. You can involve your remote team in in-house team activities.

Planning and time tracking tools

You must be using some tools for project planning and time tracking. You need to add your remote team to the process too.

Do not micromanage

This applies to the in-house team too. Plan, assign track, measure, and improve it periodically. Do not micromanage every piece of work only because they are part of a remote team.

Reward results

Reward your team based on measurable, well-communicated metrics. Let remote team members use freedom of their new workplace (i.e., home, coffee shop, or a gazebo on a sandy beach). Reward them based on the quality of work and timely completion of milestones assigned, not just time tracked.

Time zone difference, use it to your advantage

Timezone difference is generally considered as an issue, but if used effectively, it can save time. For example, a local tester can test a website or mobile application developed by a remote developer before the developer joins back the next day. This can save the day in the process. You can find more of such activities that can save time by utilizing time zone differences effectively.

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