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Managing Distributed Development Teams: Traps, Bottlenecks, and Tips to Succeed

November 25 2022 - A distributed team is a team that is geographically dispersed and occasionally even works from various time zones. With the distributed development team's dispersed organizational structure, you have several coexisting teams where team members communicate virtually to work together. These distributed development teams employ one or more service providers from various locations as part of an outsourcing strategy for your company.

What is distributed software development?

The term distributed software development refers to the process of planning, designing, developing, testing, and managing software using distributed development teams dispersed over different time zones. Software is created by these teams using web-based communication and collaboration technologies.

Tips for using a distributed team

  1. Hire the best team: Recruiting competent individuals is the first step in building a successful dispersed team for software development. However, it won't be easy because not all job seekers are suited to working remotely. It would help if you employed people who can work from anywhere in the world. The superb method to locate the perfect team is to look for self-driven, disciplined people. To ensure you have the correct team members, do one-on-one interviews, evaluate candidates' communication abilities, and assess their skill sets. Additionally, it might be advantageous if the team member has prior expertise working with remote teams.
  2. Make visual interactions that are regular and consistent: Keep in mind that communication is greatly influenced by the team's tone, gestures, and voice. Additionally, establishing a solid relationship with the team is essential for the project's success. Personal interaction among team members helps to foster trust, facilitate self-organization, lower the chance of missing deadlines, and raise morale. To improve the team's companionship, make sure that each member develops a deep personal connection with one another.
  3. Create an onboarding procedure: You can increase employee loyalty by as much as 82% by creating an onboarding process. The onboarding procedure has to be specially designed for distributed teams. The distributed team may quickly feel separated from others because they won't have any teammates with whom to converse.
  4. Set reasonable goals: You shouldn't have too high of expectations for the team. You may do that by giving the team easy-to-reach objectives and plans. The crew won't become exhausted while working on the project. You may do this by selecting a scope-specific approach that will assist you in establishing realistic objectives for each stage of the software development lifespan.
  5. KPIs for Performance Monitoring: The key performance indicators of your team might be significantly impacted by the project management approach you choose. These KPIs will serve as a gauge of the team's success. Keep the KPIs concise and actionable if you use the scrum project management framework, where the development team produces quick but significant results. Have long-term KPIs if your distributed team uses agile project development and completes the project in one go.

Traps and bottlenecks of distributed teams

  1. Insufficient collaboration: The "every man for himself" mentality is a significant concern in a distributed development environment when individuals are frequently in various time zones. A project management tool is crucial to monitor individual deliverables and overall performance and maintain cooperation at the forefront of goals.
  2. Communication: This isn't a straightforward issue. Due to their global location, dispersed teams risk disengaging and failing to engage in the dialogues essential to complete their duties. The solution to this problem is to include communication tools as a standard component of daily operations.
  3. Transparency: Each plan needs to be visible at every level, and managing distant teams makes this even more critical. This problem is resolved by routinely using a project management application with precisely defined tasks, dependencies, potential roadblocks, and due dates.
  4. Knowledge and file-sharing challenges: Due to their different time zone differences, the marketing manager and salesperson might need to wait a whole business day before communicating online. The key to fixing this is having a standard library for files and storing everything one would require in one location so they always have the most recent version.
  5. Lack of Excellent Ideas: When a team works together in one location, brainstorming sessions happen more frequently, and ideas are followed up. Great ideas are often not communicated or lost when people are far apart, especially when using numerous technologies at once. The ability to swiftly establish tasks from online chats and monitor those activities with a clear explanation of ownership would be valuable in this situation.

The administration of a remote team requires a rigorous, tried-and-true strategy. Such a model may appear complicated and complex at first. Still, with the correct project management, tools, methodologies, and development service providers, you may receive rapid delivery of web app components and achieve outstanding outcomes. A distributed development team allows productivity, agility, and flexibility, as was mentioned in one of the parts before. Additionally, it becomes easier to find qualified experts without wasting time and money on in-house training.

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