A common situation in the modern world is when clients are located in a different city, country or even continent. With ever increasing globalization the remote cooperation model becomes more and more popular, though it has own positive and negative sides. While positive sides are obvious, there must be a way to avoid the negative impact.
Let us investigate the major disadvantages of working with a remote software development team and ways of solving them.
Controlling a remote team
When a team is working remotely, it is hard to evaluate how effectively people do their job (and whether they are doing it at all) or why they don’t respond quickly enough. That suspicion can easily grow into distrust and uncomfortable communication with the team.
Of course you can handle this by installing the software that allows you to see people’s screens or by requiring to send reports every day, or by controlling them in some other even more sophisticated ways. But what actually turns a remote group of people into a team comfortable to work with, is the way they (not you!) handle such problem.
Usually every project has it’s own milestones. So when the product gets some visible functionality that can be presented to and tested by the client, delivering such results according to the plan agreed with the client is a great way to showcase team efficiency, keep the communication positive and build relations.
In RubyGarage, when the product is already designed and it’s time to set the scope (tasks, goals, deliverables, deadlines and cost), the team’s project manager additionally defines how to make you stay aware of what is going on. We believe that a great leader should always worry about how to communicate properly with the client, bring constant feedback and show achievements of the team.
Communication requires more efforts
Remote developers often document all the ideas, tasks and bugs. This requires setting up additional hardware and software. Even then you may still be writing numerous emails and making calls everyday.
This is also a problem that can be handled by the remote team on its own:
- Any troubles with the Internet connection can be addressed beforehand by installing a reserve Internet connection line in case of emergency.
- A team having experience working on its market has all the issue trackers and project tools installed and set up on their own hardware (or in the cloud), so they already know how to build effective communication with the client.
- All the requirements, tasks, deadlines and deliverables are discussed and fixed in the scope definition before the work gets started, which allows to avoid unnecessary communication like everyday calls, emails and reports.
Remote teams don't think about your mission
Often, when people agree to work in your office, that also means that they are ready to dedicate a piece of their life to the idea you’re trying to bring with your product. In case of remote teams people usually join them to get some experience and, of course, earn money. So why should the remote team strive to bring the best product possible for you?
This conclusion makes sense, but professional remote teams have the answer, and it\s simple: the better is the product, the easier it is to maintain it later if anything happens.
Here in RubyGarage we develop various online products such as collaboration tools, e-commerce solutions, analytics tools etc. Obviously, they may require attention and maintenance after they have been launched, and we are the best candidates in such case: the less time it takes us to fix the problem, the more satisfied is the client.
Making a great product means something more than simply following client’s instructions. That is why some remote teams help clients both release the product and make it successful. This means applying startup business methods like starting with a minimum viable product (MVP) , collecting necessary info about the product before continuing with its development, helping to present the product to investors and much more.
So you can easily check if the remote team thinks about your mission by studying the way they’re working on your idea. Are they ready to keep an eye on the product even after it is released? Do they try to offer better solutions instead of getting the exact instructions on what to do from you? Do they apply their experience to improve the product or optimize it even before it is created? If yes - you’re on the right track.
As a conclusion, any possible disadvantage of working with a remote team can be handled by that same team on its own… as long as the team is interested in building long-time relationships with its clients and cares about its reputation.