How to Work with Remote Engineers… Successfully

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How to Work with Remote Engineers… Successfully

You know what makes a great dev project. You know who makes a great engineer. You even know how to guide a project from ideation to brilliant completion. But how do you bring that all together when your engineers aren’t working in your building and possibly not even on the same continent?

If you’re embarking on your first journey with remote engineers (or maybe considering the idea) you probably have a million questions about how to get the most out of your investment. Here are a few answers to the questions you should be asking first.

Does time zone matter?

Yes, time zone definitely matters, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone has to be in the same time zone. At first it can be a challenge dealing with workers in different timezones. It takes a bit of planning, but there are ways to deal with those challenges.

When trying to find remote engineers to fit your team, consider the time difference and how that may affect your work schedule. If your project allows for portions of the work to be done individually, a longer distance relationship could be the right fit. However, the farther away the engineers, the more important clear expectations and communication become.

A few things to consider: – Which are your critical meetings to keep productivity going? – Can you shift those meetings to overlap during the work hours of your local team as well as the remote team? – Will the remote engineering firm shift their hours to help you schedule meetings? – Are there alternate ways to communicate your needs that do not require as many meetings, or can the participant list be reduced?

How do we communicate?

Bringing your project to completion is hard enough. Don’t let slow or confusing communication get in the way. Be sure you have every tool needed to make conversation easy. Email is, of course, reliable but potentially very slow. If you email at the beginning of your work day, is someone else prepping to clock out or maybe even asleep? They may not get back to you before your next work day.

Chat platforms like Slack make short easy questions a snap to answer with a far shorter wait time. Also, find a good video conferencing platform. Sometimes you really need to talk face-to-face, or at least face-to-camera. There are several to choose from with a variety of reasonable pricing options to suit your communication needs.

Is there a way to track our progress?

The simple answer to this is yes. However, the greater and much more complex question is What should you track? Most experts agree that paying the hours on the time card and hoping the remote engineer submits their work on time isn’t a viable option, but from there opinions diverge. Some project managers want visibility into every task at every level. Others just want to check on things at various markers. If you don’t already have a project management tool, look into the many project management platforms like Pivotal Tracker, Asana or Trello which can be customized for projects, tasks, checkpoints, and teams while maintaining communication within the related each function.

The important part of this is to agree on what you will be tracking, how you will track performance, and ensuring the remote engineers understand your expectations.

Remember, even though the engineers are far away, their work still represents you. Before hiring, make sure their skills are a good fit for your team and project.

Contact us to find out how we can help you quickly hire skilled engineers.

Afam Agbodike

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