Managing remote workers is a delicate balance. Team leaders need to give people the solutions and the independence they need to thrive, while providing opportunities for collaboration and team synergy.
Working together when in a physical office is as simple as walking over to your coworker’s desk. But how can you replicate this effortless collaboration in a remote-only workplace? In this blog post, we’ll discuss key #2 to successful remote appdev: Communication.
No matter how talented your employees are, and how independent-minded they may be, trying to get them to work together without communicating is like herding a group of cats with their eyes closed.
What’s more, it’s undeniable that some personalities are better suited for remote work than others. Certain people truly thrive when they’re in a familiar and comfortable place like their home. Others, however, do better in a structured environment like an office that provides discipline and face-to-face interactions.
Counteracting this challenge, and enabling the human need for social interaction, is one of the top priorities for ensuring the success of remote work. In order to facilitate collaboration, remote AppDev teams need to link up early and often, maintaining open communication channels. This may include:
- Stand-up meetings on a frequent basis (e.g. daily or twice a week) where team members discuss their recent progress, their current status, and their future plans.
- Stakeholder meetings for important roles to receive updates on the status of the project.
- Team meetings led by the product owner to give team members face time with each other and build camaraderie.
Communicating early and often also provides more transparency and accountability. When team members know what each person is doing, there’s a complete “paper” trail of how each task gets delivered, from concept and development to QA and deploying.
Remote work also provides different challenges and opportunities for how team members choose to communicate. Real-time instant messages are more effective for getting a quick answer than asynchronous methods like email, while meetings are best for long-winded discussions and complex ideas.
At Datavail, we use Microsoft Teams to manage communication between the members of our remote AppDev workforce. Teams is perfectly suited for our workflows as a communication tool:
- Teams is fully integrated with Office 365 and other Microsoft products such as Outlook, OneDrive, and SharePoint.
- Teams lets users create individual channels for a certain topic, allowing team members to cut down on long email conversations and get answers faster.
- Teams is available on a wide variety of devices, which makes it ideal for a remote workforce: desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones (iOS, Android, and Windows Phone), and more.
Enabling effective communication for your team will take you a long way in building a workforce that can develop applications effectively from afar. But it’s only one piece of the pie. To learn about the other two essential pieces, download my white paper, “The 3 Keys to Successful Remote Application Development.”
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