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Top Mistakes to Avoid When Managing a Remote Team of Developers/



Michael is a software engineer and startup growth expert with 10+ years of software engineering and machine learning experience.

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Top Mistakes to Avoid When Managing a Remote Team of Developers
Top Mistakes to Avoid When Managing a Remote Team of Developers

As a small business owner and developer, I have experience working both as a remote developer and managing remote teams for various projects. Through my experiences, I’ve learned the do’s and don’ts of remote team management, which I’ll share in this post to help make the process easier for everyone involved. While there are many things to consider when managing remote developers, I believe focusing on the don’ts can be more useful since they generally apply to most teams.

Don’t Believe in Remote Team Myths and Misconceptions

One of the biggest obstacles that managers face when entering the world of remote development is the mindset shift required to accept that the developer won’t be in plain sight, where they can be easily managed and monitored. This new paradigm requires businesses to implement mechanisms to track progress and avoid redundant workloads. These mechanisms help both managers and developers be more productive and efficient, which is in everyone’s best interest. However, it’s important to note that these mechanisms shouldn’t be used to control or micromanage employees.

Don’t forget to Embrace and Encourage Diversity

Multicultural teams transcend national and cultural borders, offering unique insights that are hard to attain with centralized, monolithic teams. Embracing and encouraging diversity is good for business, as it fosters innovation and creativity. Multicultural teams are also less likely to suffer from groupthink mentality, allowing them to tackle problems from different perspectives and produce better solutions for specific regions and markets. However, managers must not overlook or ignore cultural and language differences, which can make or break a team.

Don’t Take Recruitment and Training Lightly

To make the most out of managing remote teams, it’s crucial to be mindful of cultural differences and provide adequate training to compensate for them. While improving language skills is important, communication skills are also affected by cultural differences. Therefore, good recruitment policies should favour individuals prepared to work in multinational environments, and training should focus on developing existing positive traits while mitigating shortcomings and addressing previously identified weak spots. Managers must also take the time to learn more about their teams, individual team members, and problems likely to crop up.

Don’t Use a Complicated Information System

Implementing an effective information system that includes a Source Code Management (SCM) system, issue tracker, and possibly some Wiki pages where all parties can document things or sketch ideas and proposals is crucial. However, it’s important to keep things as simple as possible to ensure the system is used effectively on a daily/hourly basis. A complicated system can take time away from implementation and design and may need to be simplified for new team members who do not have time to learn an organization’s policies.

Don’t Micromanage

Don't Micromanage

Many managers have a hard time letting go of their responsibilities, especially if they come from a developer background. Micromanaging is not a good practice when managing remote employees, as it can make developers feel undervalued and left without a chance to be creative and innovative. This approach also takes too much time away from what the remote developer was hired to do. Managers must strike a balance between being available for communication and providing space for their team to work independently.

Don’t Worry About Time Zones, Use Them to Your Advantage

Working in different time zones can be of benefit to the business, allowing for “round the clock” efficiency when developers in different zones take over various aspects of the project. Overlapping working hours are useful, though not mandatory, when you have a good information system and good communication with your developers. If your developer is ahead of your time zone, it gives you the opportunity to review their work the same day and assess and coordinate