Before going to effectively manage your remote WordPress team you must choose the best one. If you already got the remote team then continue here, but if you are considering or in the process of hiring a remote WordPress development team or even a single developer then you should check this article first. (How NOT to Hire Remote WordPress Development team)
Continuing on the situation where you already got a remote team and it doesn’t yield the desired results. You need to consider the following things to get your remote team back on track.
Remote is the Future. Period.
Even before COVID, remote working was growing, and now because of the lockdown, it’s grown exponentially. In 2017, Automattic, the company behind WordPress closed its San Francisco office. Automattic already has a distributed workforce, they didn’t close the San Fransisco office to cut costs, but the employees themselves preferred to work full time from home, coffee shops, or from anywhere they want.
When workplaces open people will come back to offices, but the tech industry likely to see the same upward trend and natural adoption in remote work culture. 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. Someone needs to lead the way, someone needs to guide their community. That can be you…
Embrace and Encourage Diversity
Your remote WordPress developer team may include people from different parts of the world, faith and belief system, gender preferences, and communication styles.
It is a good thing, diversity is good for business. Big organizations prefer multicultural teams, it fosters innovation. Knowledge of global trends and anti-group thinking mentality adds a different perspective to problem-solving.
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 (more on that later). 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 accent and lingo difference.
Engagement not just Communication
Communication is considered one of the most problematic and important areas in remote or work from home setting. Managers tend to solve the same with the bombardment of information exchange with a myriad of tools. Yes, communication is extremely important and you need tools to facilitate it too. 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 the face to face interactions, but it is the next best thing in the remote setting. You can see people’s faces, their expression which is a very important part of communication. Not one set of the rule will apply to all remote team settings, but as a leader/manager, you need to find your own set of rules.
They are not vendors
It’s not your vendor, it is your team; it just happens to be working remotely. So all that goes into building and running an in-house team goes into remote teams.
You need to involve your remote team in in-house team activities, (virtually obviously). A lot of tools and services will come up which will facilitate that the same. A quick google search will show you the content around it.
Now the next points are a little obvious and you know most of it, so I will just touch upon the points.
Planning and time tracking tools
You must be using some type of tool for project planning and time tracking. You need to add your remote team in 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, not just face time
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 differences are generally considered as an issue, but if used effectively it can save time. 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 a day in the process. Think, you can find a few of those activities which can save time by utilizing Time zone difference effectively.