Tips to Help you Easily Work with Remote Developers

Working With Remote Developers? 3 Key Tips To Manage Them Better

This blog summarizes the issues faced by entrepreneurs while working with remote developers and solutions that can effectively help them get sorted.

Updated on :
December 3rd, 2020
Twinkle Kalkandha
Twinkle Kalkandha
Product Strategist

Remote developers are basically technology experts, willing to work on projects; on an hourly, monthly or a project-basis (as per the work settings). They are not in-house with the team and may be operating from the same city, same country or even offshore from some other country. What connects them with an entrepreneur like you is your task of mobile development and the passion with which they can bring the app idea to life.

They tend to communicate, deliver prototypes and receive feedback online, through the plethora of amazing communication and file sharing options available.

But, however easy it may sound, handling, remote teams is not a simple task. This is well clarified through the pointers below.

Challenges while working with a Remote Workforce

The success of a mobile app does not pertain to who has developed it, rather it depends on how well it functions and how good it looks. You might employ inhouse developers or remote developers or a mobile app development company for that matter, it is always the end result that counts.
So, if you have chosen and entrusted a remote team with the task of developing your mobile app, the next step is to ensure it gets done well. You will thus, need to address all the challenges that are coupled with working with them:

1. Lookout for the best options: The first and the foremost challenging part of hiring remote employees is finding the right people for your work. Mobile App development is not a day’s job. Rather, it requires constant work, day in, day out. For optimum remote workforce management, you will have to find individuals who are easy to work with and have the optimum mindset to follow through the huge task at hand successfully. Also, it is necessary as an app owner, you should be easily able to communicate and connect with them.

2. Lookout for developers who are passionate about your idea: When working with remote teams, you need to ensure that you find developers, who believe in your idea, are ready to come on board fully and understand and share this ‘vision’. They should be equally invested in the viability of your idea and its intent. When a remote team develops a part of an interface of an already running business enterprise, they also need to ensure that its look and feel is well synchronized with the existing styles for that uniform feel.

3. Communication should be clear on both sides: ‘Communication’ is paramount to development of an application, especially when you have to manage remote teams. There are many intricacies involved in a mobile app development process and the appropriate look, information, data flow, functionalities are needed to be made clear.

Clear and regular communication leads to transparency and a mutually respectful and trustworthy work environment. Timely communication shall also help you as app owners to stay abreast with the development speed of the remote developers. Miscommunication in any form here could lead to application becoming completely dysfunctional at a later stage. In order to ensure that short term goals are achieved on time and the final deadlines are met, setting up proper communication channels is necessary.

4. App developer’s location: Though the technology these days allows online and video linked communications anytime from anywhere, they just might not seem enough while app development. Some things and parts of work flows and operations cannot be explained even through video calls and the developers are required to physically visit the worksites to understand workflows. This can make your choice of cross-border remote employee redundant in the long run.

5. Data Security: Another very big threat that needs to be redressed when working with remote developers, is their take on data security. As a company, you would be required to share your ideas, mindset, work details and competitor list with your remote developers. You would thus require individuals whom you can trust with all this information, even after the project is successfully completed and deployed.

Tips For Managing Remote Teams Successfully

Application Development is a cumbersome process that involves various layers of processes including client demands, expectations, technical and creative inclusions, strategic inputs, backend synchronizations, data handling procedures, data security verifications and certifications, amongst others. When you hire remote developers, for your mobile application development, the above stated issues can act as spoilsport. Apart from choosing a remote work team with the right experience and expertise, here are best practices for remote teams and individual developers that can ensure a smooth development process for both you as well as the developers:

1. Lookout for your developer in appropriate places, in appropriate manner, with the appropriate mindset: App developers always play a key role in the development of apps. So, as much time and research it may take; lookout for the best app developer there is to hire.

You could follow the following steps for the same:

  • In order to hire the best available remote employees, you should look through the easily available reports and listings like Mobileappdaily’s yearly reports and Appdexa’s app development company listings, amongst others
  • Gather all the necessary information about their locations, projects, expertise and experience.
  • Shortlist the ones that seem to include your project requirements and your mindset.
  • If possible, contact them directly or through a mail telling them about you and your project inclusions. You may even post about the same on remote work platforms like Upwork, Guru, etc.
  • Set up an online meeting.
  • Try and analyze their personalities and work approach.
  • Choose the best one out there.

If you are still confused as to what personality traits (apart from their expertise and experience) exactly should you be looking out for in your perfect remote developers, check out the following pointers:

  • Look for a Good Communicator: Good communication is an essential requirement for effectively managing remote teams. Clearly stating goals, expectations and work procedures and understanding of the same by the app developer is vital to every app development project. Apart from this, the developers should be easily able to communicate their issues, clarify doubts and obtain feedback to develop a product as per user expectations.
  • They should be Team Players: An app is not made by a single person and nor within a single day. You and your app development team should be able to gel and work like a team to ensure successful development endeavors.
  • Look for the Self driven Ones: You won’t be available round the clock with your remote developers to ensure work gets done properly. Thus, for managing a remote workforce successfully, you need to ensure that they are initiators in nature and can manage developments as per the set deadlines.
  • Handle and Adapt to Situations: In course of the mobile development process, there will be many changes to the initial design, functionalities, expectations and requirements. There also would be instances where chaos would reign high and maybe, misunderstandings would take over. For successful app development, you need to look for remote developers who are inherently problem solvers in nature and who will not bow to difficult circumstances.
  • Good Time Managers: You app developers will be delivering your mobile apps. So, they have to be doing it as per your set deadlines. The process includes developing prototypes, designs, inculcating changes, etc. All these need to be done in a time bound manner. So, them being good time managers is a must.Once you have found your perfect app developers, half your battle to build the apps of your dreams is won.

2. Create Work Process and Feedback Procedures: This is the most important work aspect required for managing a remote workforce well. As an entrepreneur, to simulate workmanship and earn returns on your investment, you would have to set systems and checks in place to keep tabs on the development of your mobile application.

Remember, you cannot leave anything open-ended; especially not your worker’s productivity, when paying on per hour, per week or a per month basis. Look for the following ways to set standards in place:

  • If possible, set pay packages as per particular developments. Say, an installment of payment to be paid when the 1st prototype gets delivered.
  • Stay updated with development tasks on a regular basis with timely communication, like a daily call. You could even designate an employee with this task.
  • Set work procedures with timely video calls and mails. For instance, initially you could set standard 2 video calls a week, and one mail with the developments.
  • If paying on a weekly or per day or per hour basis, there are software that can help you track your developer’s activities and keystrokes in that time period and record screenshots when they go off track. But, we would seriously argue to trust your developers and not use this methodology.
  • Feedback is vital to all mobile app development processes. Ensure proper feedback is provided to the remote developers and that too in a timely manner. In fact, try and discuss them openly through audio or video calls to ensure clarity of thoughts on both sides.
  • The easiest and the most effective way to check on timely succession of tasks, is to set short term deadlines with smaller goals to be achieved by the remote developer.
  • Also, he or she should be made accountable with timely feedback, as to whether those goals were being achieved on time or not.

These have time and again proven to be managing remote team’s best practices.

3. Communication is the key to all issues: Regular check ins with your developers also features amongst the remote working best practices. So talk to them, as much as possible to make things clear and set ground rules to ensure that all issues on both the sides get resolved. At a point of time, if you think that there are too many communications happening, do not worry. The more you communicate, the clearer the things will be, the better it is. For managing remote employees well, ensure that:

The goals should be clear: Clearly communicate to the developer about your app goals and expectations. Also tell them about the workflows involved in as much clarity as possible. Also tell them about your market research, viability reason, etc. Only then would your developers come in line with your mindset , and shall provide their ideas and feedback on it. Creation of this mutually symbiotic relationship with ample communications is necessary for a successful app development.

  • Be straightforward about your expectations. Set up tangible goals early on and mutually agree on deadlines of the deliverables. Don’t constantly change your project requirements—you will be wasting your own time and money.
  • Regular Check Ins: Check regularly with the app developers about the progress and any issues that they might be facing . It would help you all stay on the same page. A call once a day or once in two days, could be a good option.
  • Give and Receive timely feedbacks: As an app owner you need to stay abreast of your app development. Whenever your developers achieve a goal or a benchmark of the process, be quick to appreciate their progression as well provide timely feedback on the same. From the app developers side as well, they should be able to embrace feedback positively.
  • Varied Time Zones: If you have employed offshore ap developers, difference in time zones could prove as an obstacle to communicate and organize those video calls. You could set timing call rules that would work for both parties.For instance an 8:00AM for one and 5:00PM for the other could work for both, even if there is a 9-hour time gap.

Remote Developers are Passionate Workers

There are several benefits of remote employees . They are experts of their work, and yet inculcate lower overheads and lesser employee management issues. In fact, freelance developers are usually very motivated to complete a job on time, and to your satisfaction. Delivering quality work on time is exactly what allows them to live the work style they have chosen.Though, locating genuine coders who are experts (or at least understand) the design and creativity part of user interfaces is one of the biggest challenges you will face here.

Whatever be the issues, remember that a well chosen remote team can develop genuinely effective and sustainable mobile application models too. Applications like Automattic, Toggl, Buffer, Del, Git Lab, Invision, Todoist, etc. have had interfaces or parts developed and deployed successfully by remote teams and individual developers. If these large businesses could work with them, the option can of course work for you too.

Next up

How should you protect your mobile app from becoming another common app failure?