How to build high-performing remote software development teams

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Maulik Sailor
Maulik Sailor
August 18, 2021
Generally, high-performing remote software development teams encompass individuals with specialized expertise and complementary skills. Putting together these teams goes beyond simply pulling the right talent and skills. Instead, you need to carefully watch how you develop certain practices, characteristics, and behaviours among your remote team.
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Having a high-performing remote software development team can go a long way in increasing productivity, improving decision making, enhancing the ability to solve complex problems, and many other benefits. But what are high-performing distributed software development teams? What does it take to put together such teams?

Generally, high-performing remote software development teams encompass individuals with specialized expertise and complementary skills. Putting together these teams goes beyond simply pulling the right talent and skills. Instead, you need to carefully watch how you develop certain practices, characteristics, and behaviours among your remote team.

To make the most of CodeMonk, you need to master the art of building effective distributed software development teams.

What is a high-performing software development team?

You cannot create an efficient remote software development team if you do not understand what such a team looks like. As mentioned, coming together is one thing. Keeping up the determination and actively working towards your goals is another.

You can confidently say that you have an effective remote software team if they have open communication, have better conflict management criteria, work towards clear goals, and have impeccable leadership. More importantly, they have trust and respect for each other.

Imagine a situation where one of the team members messes up or fails to deliver on time. Such issues are bound to happen for any given team. However, you can have an easy time as the manager if you deal with understanding members who willingly stand with each other instead of pointing fingers.

What are the key attributes of an effective software development team?

You can evaluate the attributes portrayed by your software development team to determine if they are high-performing.

Some of the key features of high-performing teams include:

1. Varied Skills

Undoubtedly, this is the basis for you to form your team. However, instead of focusing just on the limited technical skills that are needed now, you should also focus on technical skills that could become relevant in short-mid term and soft skills that gives you wider coverage to deal with stress scenarios.

2. Communication

Perhaps, this is one of the most important components in any remote team. Effective communication plays a central role in everything that your team does. You can tell that you have an effective team if they willingly share thoughts, engage in open and honest discussions, and have the platform to express their opinions and ideas.

3. Goals

Goals are central to how your team runs and will determine the overall direction that you take. A high-performing team has clear goals and know their overall aim.

4. Impeccable leadership

Good leadership is a vital attribute of a high-performing team. You hold the authority in the team, and how you give directions matters.

5. Trust and respect

A high-performing team cannot afford to compromise on the need to trust and respect one another. Such teams normally trust colleagues to work independently towards the team’s goals. Mutual respect between members goes a long way in avoiding conflicts and generally attaining your goals.

There are more attributes of high-performing software development teams, most of which you shall encounter in the below section, where we discuss the tips for creating an effective team.

Why it’s important to build one?

Should you care about building a high-performing software development team? Absolutely! Here are some benefits you can expect:

  1. Reduced wastage of time as everyone has clarity on what they need to do

2. High-quality software developed from a skilled team

3. Team leaders no longer need to worry about micromanaging members

4. Increased engagement and better communication

5. Greater efficiency and productivity

6. More delegation potential for the tea leader and greater flexibility

7. Everyone becomes accountable to meet objectives

8. No longer have to deal with issues of team members playing favourites

How does it outperform normal teams?

High-performing teams outperform normal teams in many areas, two of the main ones being increased output and reduced costs.

High-performing remote software development teams register the highest productivity compared to normal teams. Everybody knows what they are supposed to do, have great leadership, and possess the technical know-how to execute duties assigned to them. Furthermore, the increased collaboration in these teams means they can help each other to increase output.

As far as cost reduction is concerned, a high-performing team has a higher work-life balance brought about by the flexibility to work from anywhere at any time. As a result of the increased job satisfaction, you reduce the employee turnover rate and the subsequent cost of hiring new team members. Additionally, the higher output rate translates to more work being done within the designated timeframe and budget.

Tips to creating high-performing distributed software development teams

Creating a high-performing distributed software development team needs you to master the art of doing things differently. Here are some tips to consider:

1. Start with strong technical skills — Ensure the candidate has strong foundations. E.g. when interviewing developers — instead of asking many questions about the programming frameworks, ask more questions about fundamentals programming concepts, problem-solving and solution designs. Why? Because he/she can learn new frameworks, but if the developer doesn’t have strong fundamentals, they will just write a bad software program.

2. Look beyond technical skills — Focus on soft skills like analytical skills, reasoning skills, problem-solving, attention to details, etc. In distributed teams, you have people in different locations. Thus working independently and diligently is very important. You do not want developers who need constant babysitting or need constant guidance. You need them to take ownership of their work, follow all best practices and deliver quality output.

3. Ensure that he/she is fit for the team — Not all teams are equal, so identify the gaps in your team. Ensure you have a good spread of team workers, solo contributors and team leaders, e.g., do you have many solo contributors but no team player? In such situation, if you have to make a selection between candidates with identical tech skills, recruit the one who is a better team player.

4. Balance the personalities — Similar to teamwork, you need people with different personalities. If you have everyone aggressive in your team, then they will keep arguing. If you have everyone complacent, they will have group thinking, which is not a good sign for a productive team. Hence, balance various personalities. Disc profile could be useful here.

5. Motivations — Every individual will have different motivations, which will change as per time and situation. Ensure their motivation matches yours, or else it will create conflicts. E.g. if someone is looking for higher pay as a primary motivation, hire him only if you can afford that and have a specific outcome to be delivered. If someone is looking for learning opportunities, you may compromise on the salary to create a good learning plan for the individual. Some may want to work in a specific industry, specific project time, team size, time zone, etc. Ensure these are in line with your expectations.

6. Open communication — This goes without saying. You need to ensure open and honest communication with the individual right from the start before hiring. Once onboarded, ensure the team members communicate openly with honesty, identify issues, collaboratively resolve them, own up failures, and celebrate successes. It is also important that it’s a 2-way communication between you and the team. Provide regular feedback to the team and the individuals, create support infrastructure.

7. Costs — Not every hiring manager will have unlimited budgets, and throwing money to the team is not the answer. The most expensive resources are not always the best and are not the solution for every team, and not every company can afford bay area salaries. Instead, you need to hire the most suitable resources for your individual need, who fit within your budget. Thanks to platforms like CodeMonk, it is now very easy to find better resources in remote locations that can outperform bay area developers at a fraction of the costs.

CodeMonk seeks to help you make the most of your remote software development team. We believe that by following the tips shared here, you get to improve productivity and save on costs.

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