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Managing virtual teams

6 Tips for Leading & Managing Virtual Teams Effectively

10 Jan 2020

Managing virtual teams

Co-locating employees is the thing of the past; software development teams today are not restricted by culture, languages or boundaries. Startups, SMBs, and large businesses have all validated and turned towards the Remote Dedicated Development Team Model that combines all the skills, talents and perspectives to achieve highly consistent corporate goals.

Read: COVID-19: Benefits of Hiring Virtual Teams during Coronavirus pandemic

Companies have begun to organize projects over distance by hiring dedicated remote developers located across different geographies acting and delivering as a team (Learn why companies prefer virtual dedicated teams). Every company you look into today is on at least one remote development team. It is due to the flexibility, immediate deployment, years of experience and effective project execution of the remote developers that the leaders of Virtual Teams call themselves the most effective in business and there are no doubt virtual teams are the future of our workforce.

Now let’s have a look at the benefits you can achieve by hiring remote software developers against freelancers and in-house talent:

Managing virtual teams

We understand that managing virtual teams has hair-tearing challenges but we cannot deny the statistics flowing across the internet that remote software developers are outperforming in-house teams. Almost 80% of professionals are working remotely and are demonstrating more than 15% of increased productivity.

Now let’s have a look at the challenges of hiring a remote dedicated development team:

  1. Ineffective Communication
  2. Lack of Trust & cohesion
  3. Risk to Productivity
  4. Cultural barriers
  5. Difficulty in conflict resolution

Looking at the above 5 challenges in hiring & building virtual teams, don’t you think the same challenges prevail within the in-house teams in some capacity?  With the advancement in technology, improved means of communication, and modern work culture, don’t you think managing virtual teams in the workplace is not as tough as we think it is? Yet let’s look at some of the actions you can take to overcome the challenges in managing virtual teams:

Read: Learn how we set up Remote Teams on Microsoft Solutions for a Microsoft Partner

Action 1: Standardize Work System

Each member in your remote team might belong to a different culture and to a unique work culture but due to their highly flexible nature, you can undisputedly standardize the work system for the project and tasks to be carried out to achieve desired results. By setting strong standards and repeatable work processes, you can avoid frequent confusion, questions, and misunderstandings among the team members. This way the remote employees attain cohesion and achieve goals in collaboration.

Action 2: Establish Multiple Communication Channels

Do you use a single communication channel/tool at your organization? We bet you don’t. And also we at Star Knowledge have standardized multiple communication channels and tools for voice, video, and chat for both internal and external communication. But when it comes to managing remote development teams it is important that you establish multiple tools here as well so that the team members can easily communicate with each other in times of urgency or any disagreement.

Action 3: Practice regular meetings

The challenge of ‘Ineffective Communication’ can be overcome by implementing the practice of regular meetings. Scheduling online meetings (face-to-face video conferencing) regularly will eliminate confusion and promote honest feedback among the offsite development team members. As a project manager, you can also schedule one-on-one meetings with the team members when the situation calls for it one advantage of this is your rapport with the team will be enhanced. As a PM, you can also encourage a social meet-in-person gathering twice or thrice a year for your offsite team.

Action 4: Open room for informal conversation

When you provide room for informal conversation it is most likely the bond within the virtually connected team becomes stronger and the members will be more open and honest with each other. Virtual team building is easier when you encourage informal conversation and allow members to chat informally whenever they can. After all, positive outcomes are hard to achieve when there is distorted cohesion.

Action 5: Respect the time zones & overlaps

When building remote teams, it is obvious that not every talent will hail from the same time zone. As a project manager, it is important that you make sure the whole team sits together for at least 3 hours. To ensure only a single member doesn’t have to wake up early or go late to bed all the time, you can rotate the times every week, this will not only satisfy the team but also fulfill project goals.

Action 6: Encourage Relationship Building

Fellow developers work away from each other and lack opportunities for face-to-face communication and interactions, this makes them feel like they’re working all alone. As a remote team manager, promote relationship-building among the team members by encouraging consistent communication and trust. This way remote employees cultivate trust through diligence and honesty, positive energy in the team facilitates frequent follow-ups, quick task completion, and faster problem resolution.

Conclusion

The Dedicated Team model has gained exceptional popularity among the IT and software development companies in the recent years due to the higher efficiency, flexibility, better control & management, and saving on cost by 65%.

Star Knowledge since the inception of ‘Team-as-a-Service’, has been helping companies in acquiring and managing the right global delivery team. We aim to close the gap between project needs & resource gap by providing niche developers across technologies and platforms like Android, iOS, PHP, WordPress, Magento, Office 365, Dynamics 365, SharePoint and many more. Contact us to learn more about our pricing models.

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