Remote Development Teams might seem like the stuff of the future, but they’re nothing new. We’ve been outsourcing since the era of specializations came into being. Every entrepreneur does not have a strong technical background, and every enterprise level business wishes to incorporate different departments in its ambit.
The modern office building consists of those who handle IT, commerce, sales, marketing and several other departments under one roof.
This is doubly true for tech solutions, or any modern technological enterprise. Many people outsource ventures such as mobile app development, website development and any related software development nowadays. Startups do not possess the necessary capital to maintain an on-site tech solutions team anyway.
The remote workplace is something that is already flourishing in the startup culture – there is also a dearth of good programmers, reportedly, in most Western countries.
Marissa Mayer terminated Yahoo’s work from home benefit recently due to security concerns which sparked a debate as to whether freelancing practices were beneficial or not. But the reality is that more and more employers are now looking to hire remotely.
Of course, there are concerns when a new model is ushered into the playground of ‘just business’, but gone are the days of hiring only ‘a guy you know’. New talent is freely, and widely available on remote workplace websites.
Related Read: Building Your Most Important Growth Strategy – Hiring
This post is to educate you as concerns what to look out for when you’re hiring remote development team, so that you don’t invest your time, money and resources in vain. Recovery, as it is, is very hard in the startup scenario, so being informed while taking such steps is beneficial.
Assess and Evaluate
The first step is altogether too obvious. You need to determine whether or not you need a remote development team after all. This is obviously a big decision, given the mixed bag of reviews people have given regarding such teams.
Some say it produces a time-lag due to communication issues, while others regard it to be a refreshing, speedy experience. Some say it compromises a lot on the security front, while others choose to take the leap of faith and are rewarded accordingly. Many organizations, in fact, don’t even take the necessary steps of incorporating for such teams in their daily workplace structure – so keep all that in mind when evaluating your own business.
The next step is of course, the screening. Companies already have platforms online where such work can be easily sourced – 10Up, appendTo, Basecamp, Upworthy and Zapier are a few names in the market. Other locations are:
- We Work Remotely
- Stack Overflow
- The Muse
- Flex Jobs
Even if it’s a company you know, sourcing the right talent that will take care of all your requirements will be essential.
In addition, to assure you that remote hiring isn’t altogether that alien, here is a list of companies that have high-performance teams scattered throughout the globe: Github, Dell, Amazon, RedHat, Stack Overflow, Pivotal.io, Sencha, Heroku, Help Scout, Basecamp, Edgar, Google, Olark, Toptal, Accenture, Automattic, Buffer, Zapier, Aetna, Deloitte, Intel, Black Mountain Systems, Hudl, BluBox, Udacity, Dolby, Trello, Fog Creek Software, Groove, Chef, Treehouse.
For the screening step, it is crucial that YOU have exactly what you need on a comprehensive document, represented both textually and graphically. Thus, the skillset that you need, along with your other requirements can serve as a good benchmark for screening.
Related Read: Top 10 Hiring Tips For Sourcing The Right Candidate
In addition, meeting the team virtually, or at least a representative in person is always good practice before you actually decide to hire them. See how communicative they are, and look far and wide when it comes to feedback on their work. If they have an online presence (which a tech solutions company inevitably will) then you can follow up on them likewise.
Elements to focus on
- Exceptional Skillset
- Local Competition
- Communication and Transparency
- The Commute Cost
- Extraneous Cost Savings
I’ve listed them in order, and you’ll notice that cost comes at the very end. Why? Well, for one, a primary motivation to hire remotely is the cost factor – it is a one-time investment for a power-up like feature. The expertise you don’t have, locally or otherwise, is being given to you for a temporary cost.
Otherwise, you will only rely on them for updates and other maintenance once the product is developed. If this is the case, then hiring those with an exceptional skillset will be your top priority – the purpose and focus should be on quality, and not on pinching pennies.
Local Competition is a hurdle for you, which will motivate you to hire remotely – if the local pool of companies is actively being fought over, raising prices and also calling in the question of security, then your ideal option exists elsewhere geographically speaking.
Communication and transparency is a must when it comes to a remote development team. There are a host of technologies that can help you with this – Basecamp, Slack, Asana and other such names come to mind – but ultimately, the company that follows the best practices when it comes to proactive communication will be preferred. In addition, keep time zones in mind when choosing from different geographical locations.
Overhead costs should ideally be kept to a minimum. A company that gives you an estimate of the same will be perfect, but asking never hurts – when budgeting, this will be a crucial added factor.
Productivity can be described as the propensity the company, or development team has towards proactive behavior in this case. While the number of hours and other requirements will be pretty much standard, it is not every day that you will give checklists of tasks. Those that can fill up their hours thinking of how to improve your project or troubleshoot what exists will be ideal.
One key savings factor when it comes to remote teams are the commute costs. If the team is somehow managing to dock even that in their overhead, then there is not much point in looking for that. A leap of faith is needed when you indulge in the virtual world, and online work culture.
Related Read: Key To Managing Remote Employees, Communication
You cannot be obsessive compulsive, and firmly believe that the best practices only exist inside the physical office workspace – if you insist on having a rep or someone else from the team be present on-site, then you’re missing the point.
Lastly, the infamous cost-saving criterion. I repeat, this should not be a driving force when you seek out remote development teams – most cost-saving decisions made in this vein result in those horror-stories you often hear when it comes to remote hiring in the first place.
On-Boarding and Security
For many, the strenuous part actually plays out when it comes to working with a company, or team that is remote. This is because of an inadequate on-boarding process – here, integrating your working practices with theirs is essential. Also, I want to add a note on security since that is one of the most primal concerns when it comes to remote development teams.
Firstly, keeping a clear dedicated line of communication is necessary. A lack of this breeds insecurity, and is generally bad practice. Maintaining this will ensure that your project is more or less on track, and going in the direction you want it to. Softwares like ScreenHero, UserSnap and InVision can help tremendously for sharing code, prototypes and other related information in a seamless manner.
Proper Delegation is the second absolute must. Like we mentioned, not everybody is going to be a proactive worker – having the work objectives and steps clear in your own mind, and in addition, taking the time out to delegate them to your remote team is absolutely crucial. Don’t leave things up for speculation, as much as possible.
Configuring your schedule is the third step. Working in different time-zones can actually be an added advantage for you, as they can work on things while your office is in non-operational mode, and can schedule update calls in the interim period to give you a more efficient schedule. Using workplace optimization software for your scheduling needs will be more efficient here, but that is optional if you’re a good taskmaster.
Lastly, on the issue of security. As things stand, whether someone, or the team as a whole is a potential risk or not is a matter of business ethics. It’s certainly a myth that all remote development teams are potential security leaks – this scenario is characterized by paranoia. However, to ensure that you don’t get the butt end of this proverbial stick, having a few practices doesn’t hurt.
Firstly, vet your developers thoroughly – have a dedicated process for it, if you are that concerned. Second, the legal formalities – which are your most powerful safeguard against leaks and disclosures.
The contract details should be outlined thoroughly, and clearly, with you, as the customer, being granted preference when it comes to continuity and processes.
Scaling up and down should also preferably be in your hands. The protection of intellectual property should be clearly outlined, with all the measures in place – the secure transmission of code, for instance, and security software in place should a third-party attempt to breach.
In addition, check thoroughly if the contract and confidentiality are binding by international law, due to the remote nature of your work.
While there are many more things to keep in mind, these definitely serve as a good start to get you thinking about hiring a remote development team – take the plunge with a pinch of salt and know-how, and you should be fine!
(Disclaimer: This is a guest post submitted on Techstory by the mentioned authors.All the contents and images in the article have been provided to Techstory by the authors of the article. Techstory is not responsible or liable for any content in this article.)
About The Author:
Sachin Gupta, CMO of Code Brew Labs holds an immense love for marketing. A people’s person, Sachin he is known well amongst his circles for being the Marketing Moghul willing to get his hands dirty when needed. With a penchant for business strategies and everything marketing, he seems to be on a hunt for challenges. Having worked with companies like YepMe and MobiKwik his knowledge is in no way limited.
While he’s making waves in the Marketing universe, Sachin likes to keep an eye out for upcoming ventures and entrepreneurial masterpieces in the making.