Hiring tech specialists all over the world was one of the main work trends over the past ten years. Technological achievements spread make remote development teams more common. Also the COVID-19 pandemic has helped many companies around the globe realize that hiring in-house developers is no longer the best way to do business.
Hiring a dedicated remote development team brings many advantages like low cost, increased performance and fast onboarding. Deloitte conducted a survey and found out that up to 70% of businesses choose remote teams to reduce costs, 40% – to improve flexibility, 20% – to increase speed to market. According to Global Workspace Analytics, businesses can save up to $11,000 per half-time employee per year by allowing remote work.
And these are not the only reasons to choose offshore teams. However, hiring remote engineers can cause some difficulties in managing such offshore development teams. In this article we will tell you in detail about the benefits of hiring remote developers and some special aspects of working with them by advising you what to do if you decide to work with developers from another country across the world and providing you with some tips on how to manage remote development teams effectively.
What is a remote development team?
Cooperation with remote developers differs from working with in-house developers in many ways, the most obvious of which is that a remote team works at their location, not at your office.
Another equally important difference from working with in-house employees is that remote ones can take care of some administrative issues related to internal management, team personnel, paying taxes, and so on, allowing the business to focus on more important issues.
And eventually the work of business with offshore developers continues for some specific period, for example, until the necessary goals related to software development and maintenance are achieved. After that, they stop their work on this project and start working on another one, but this does not prevent them from continuing long-term cooperation. They can continue working together for as long as necessary, because a business can have many tasks, projects and goals.
When it's worth hiring remote development team
As we just wrote, a business can have many different tasks, projects and goals, a certain budget, deadlines and requirements. Companies sometimes need teams with unique and niche skills that may not be available in the local IT market. There are many reasons why startups and businesses look for remote employees via freelance exchanges and offshore or outstaffing agencies offering development teams. Let's take a look at a few of the main cases when hiring remote developers would be a good solution:
- Early stage projects
As soon as companies launch, they need to deal with a huge number of management and administrative tasks, and owners often lack the energy and time to design, develop and launch their own software products. Therefore, these tasks can be delegated to talented developers from all over the world, which can save your energy, time and money, and you will be left to solve important high-level business tasks.
- Large long-term projects with regular updates
When we discussed remote development teams in previous sections, we mentioned that you can work with them for as long as needed, which is why hiring a remote development team is a great solution for long-term projects. You'll get a team of top-notch and loyal professionals this way, who will know the ins and outs of your product, so they won't have trouble updating and expanding it.
- Expand your business and development scale
Companies need to grow and expand, which means they will need to increase the number of employees. In this case, turning to offshore agencies that offer pools of developers will be a great solution as you will be able to hire new staff without any problems and in a short time, so you can start the process of product expansion as a result.
- Need for unique skills
Sometimes, the development wishes of a particular product require a highly specialized professional or a developer with unique expertise that is hard to find in offline hiring. In this case, hiring remote developers opens up a world of unique talent ready to take on your tasks.
Benefits of hiring a remote development team
Cost-efficiencyThis is the most popular reason why companies turn to remote developers: hiring them is cheaper than managing an in-house team of employees. First, companies don't have to spend on office rent, equipment, office supplies and utilities, and second, if companies hire employees from countries with a lower cost of living, they cut their expenses while paying decent salaries to remote developers.
Moreover, remote working is also economically beneficial for remote developers themselves as they don't have to spend a lot of money on traveling to the office and eating out.
Access to unique global talentsRemote hiring opens the door to hiring skilled professionals with unique backgrounds. The global market is less competitive than the local market, so if you get rid of physical boundaries to find employees, you can find talented developers who are skilled in complex technologies and who know how to work effectively with different types of clients.
Fast and effective employees recruitmentIf you turn to agencies that offer offshore development team hiring services, you'll save time and resources that you can invest in business-critical tasks related, for example, to competitor analysis and technology research.
FlexibilityThe flexibility of remote working can be interpreted from both the business side and the employee side. A business will be able to run its operations with limited staff and serve customers without hiring additional employees. Remote developers, on the other hand, will be able to effectively maintain work-life balance, improve their productivity, and increase their physical and mental health, as they will be able to work in the comfort of their own homes.
ScalabilityWhen the company grows and develops and the product expands, hiring a remote development team will help this to happen without significant increases in time and financial costs.
How to hire remote development team
Before signing a contract with remote developers, companies need to study different aspects of their product and the labor market. To do this, the following steps can be done:
Let's look at the process of hiring a dedicated remote development team in more detail.
Defining the requirementsIn order to start developing your future product, it is important to clearly define the requirements for creating the software and the goals you want to achieve. The structure of your idea may look like the following:
- type of solution (e.g., web or mobile application)
- the formulation of the problem to be solved
- implementation timeframe
- number of specialists needed
- development team skills
- project budget This structure will help to make a list of requirements, which will help to significantly reduce the list of potential companies and simplify the selection of the team for cooperation.
Market researchIn parallel with making your project requirements, you can start researching the labor market, freelance exchanges and agencies with development teams. You can find the desired team in several ways:
It is important to research the countries from which you can hire remote developers. Various US and UK companies prefer to hire teams from Eastern Europe, Latin America, and South Asia. The first two regions have been popular for a long time, but now the Asian direction is gaining more and more popularity.
Eastern Europe is full of developers with unique skills and interesting experiences that can be easily adapted to the corporate culture of businesses. Developers from Latin America are often chosen by American companies because they are in the same time zones. And developers from Asia are fluent in English and offer competitive prices.
Narrowing down the listOnce you have found developers that suit your requirements, the selection stage begins - conducting general and technical interviews. Watch carefully the answers of your candidates and find the key points that will help you make a decision, like willingness to work with you, language and technology skills, mutual understanding during the interview.
Once you've narrowed your candidate pool down to one or two candidates, gather feedback and reviews from past clients. Don't be afraid to ask serious questions and allow candidates to tell as much about themselves as possible.
Signing the contractOnce you have chosen a development team to collaborate with, you need to sign a contract with them. To do this, you need to define the area of responsibility and distribute duties to make the development process clearer and reduce the likelihood of conflicts between the parties. A contract is a complicated thing, so if necessary, ask for help from lawyers who will help you properly draft the documents and all the necessary attachments, which may consist of the following agreements:
- A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), which spells out what information is confidential and what the penalties for disclosure will be.
- Master Service Agreement (MSA), which specifies the terms of payment, legal aspects and confirmation of the quality assurance of the products developed.
- Statement of Work (SOW), which specifies the project terms and conditions, deliverables, timelines and cost of the product work.
How to manage a remote development teamOnce you have hired a remote development team, it needs to be managed competently and effectively. However, some difficulties may arise during cooperation, which you need to be able to work with and turn into advantages that allow you to complete the project on time.
Challenges to managing remote development teamsLet's take a look at some of the difficulties of managing remote development teams:
- Time zone differences
If you are working with remote developers from another part of the world, you can face a big time zone difference. On the one hand, having employees of the same company in different time zones allows for continuous product development and quicker time to market, but on the other hand, it makes it difficult to organize calls and meetings, because it can be quite difficult to find a convenient time for everyone.
- Differences in culture
Creating a friendly atmosphere in the company and setting clear work rules is vital, especially if you work in an international multicultural team. Therefore, think creatively about the team atmosphere.
- Collaboration issues
If a development team worked together for a long time, they may have a certain methodology of work and an established technology stack. If the team is not familiar with the technologies offered by the company, then product owners will have to look for new developers for the project.
It is also important to build an infrastructure for convenient work of the online and offline team: choose a technology stack, frameworks, and programs for communication.
Tips for managing remote development teamsIt is impossible to come up with a universal algorithm of how to manage a remote development team, because every project has its own specifics that you need to adjust to. Nevertheless, there are a few tips that will help simplify your interaction with the development team.
Organize a simple and fast onboarding processOnboarding remote employees differs significantly from onboarding in-house employees, as there is no personal offline interaction between the employee and the manager. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare a lot of instructions and documents that will help to go through an effective company onboarding.
- Provide employees with access to the documents and software they need, as well as prepare solutions to some administrative issues to quickly and easily onboard the development team to the project.
- Don't forget to ask for feedback from the development team to improve the onboarding process for new employees.
Choosing communication and project management toolsSince you are working with a remote team, you will need user-friendly communication and collaboration tools, which are currently on the market in large numbers, such as Zoom, Slack, Teams, Trello, Jira, Asana, Google Drive, and many others.
Building a time zone-aware work schedule and collaboration with the development teamHaving a team working in different time zones is a difficult challenge, however, you can use this as an opportunity to work efficiently. To do this, allow your team to complete tasks that require their professional expertise during their convenient working hours. However, set aside a couple hours a day for joint calls, daily meetings and agile events when the whole team is available at the same time.
Also, time zone differences will give you an idea of the format in which you can interact with the development team. If the development team is ahead of your time zone, you have the opportunity to review results and give feedback on the same day, and if your time zone is ahead, you have time to create a work plan for the development team at the beginning of the day.
Motivate, engage and reward the development teamOnly motivated employees will be able to work efficiently and create a favorable working environment. For this, you can apply the following steps:
- Define clear business goals and explain them clearly to your employees. Only a full understanding of each employee's role will help achieve overall success.
- Developers are eager to grow within the company and improve their skills, therefore increasing their job satisfaction. For this, offer them the opportunity to attend necessary training and webinars.
- Praise your employees for their hard work to increase their motivation. Express your gratitude to them with public recognition, promotions or bonuses.
- Teamwork is impossible without cultural life in the company, so don't forget to organize various online and offline events, team building activities and other stuff.
Keep an eye on remote team performance metricsProject managers use a variety of metrics that allow them to assess the team's performance and project readiness. We cover a few ways you can keep track of progress and support developers:
- Define key performance indicators (KPIs) that are clear to your team, measurable, and relevant, i.e. suit the SMART concept (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound).
- Check these metrics regularly, identify areas with problems, fix them, and don't forget to give extensive feedback to your team as part of an annual or quarterly performance review.
- If you see that someone is underperforming, have an honest conversation with them that will help identify the issues and challenges the developer is facing. Make a plan based on the results of the conversation, that will help you overcome all the challenges and improve productivity.
Trust your teamDuring the hiring process, you were very selective about your development team. You have looked into the developers' references and their experience. Therefore, allow the developers to do their job with integrity. Micromanagement is a bad and ineffective idea.
ConclusionWorking with remote developers gives businesses many advantages in the form of low development costs and the opportunity to work with unique experts. Combined with competent management, your teamwork can lead your company to its goals, everyone will be satisfied with the work and will be able to continue a productive long-term cooperation.
We hope that our article and the tips presented in it will help set your business up for success. If you want to tell us about your project and hire a team of remote developers or have questions about development, feel free to contact us by filling up the form below. We'll answer your questions or find a development team for your goals and needs and come back with your project estimation.