Managing Development and Testing Teams Remotely

As an offshore development and testing company, we have been working with clients remotely for the last 16 years.

In that time we have developed a system that allows us to achieve our clients’ objectives while also maintaining communication through the process.

All in all, when global lockdowns occurred these systems have been very valuable for both ourselves and our clients.

So, if you are managing a team of developers and testers remotely and have not modified your management processes this should help.

Make the Objective Clear

Yes, this is obvious, but it is so much more important when you have a remote team working on a project.

So, what does this mean? Well, it means

  1. Clear documentation across the project
  2. Defined tasks for each team member
  3. Micro-deadlines for each component task
  4. Constant feedback loops

Morning Stand-Ups

Just because you all are not in the same office doesn’t mean that you should skip your morning stand-ups. In fact, they are more important than ever.

We like to say that overcommunicating is the key to success for a full team that is remote working.

So, it’s important to allow everyone to have their input and be comfortable to highlight areas of difficulty on these stand-ups (on Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams et. al).

Intuitive Processes and Reporting

Whatever reporting system you use it has to be intuitive for everyone. From talking to clients and others in the development community we see that in some cases the extra work, particularly in communication such as writing more emails and sending more reports to management, eats up developers’ and testers’ time.

We find that a project manager should be able to handle documentation allowing the developers and testers to focus more of their time on the actual work.

The project manager should also speak to developers on their projects on a daily basis.

If the original documentation is of high quality the follow-up interactions can be more informal with the project manager taking notes.

Whatever platform and tools you use. Remember, that your underlying processes must be up to scratch. No project management platform can make up for poor organisational processes.

Take Time For Group Feedback

Now, here is a key point. How are things going? Can we do it better? Do you have any ideas?

It is important for you to refine your process. Yes, we can’t simply call round to our colleagues’ desks and ask a question. But, we should look to iterate our communication process so we can get close to that.

All in all, even the most experienced project manager can get something from group feedback sessions.

As a plus, these sessions should be fun and work much better without formality. People should be able to speak their mind on the call.

Help Each Other

Being isolated and working from home it is easy to forget your co-workers. Some of them may be having trouble or have too much on their plate. If you have the time offer to help.

However, if regular virtual stand-ups are kept any issues should be identified and addresses quickly.

Ultimately, good project management best practice is important.

Conclusion

With many developers working from home for much longer than originally expected building systems that work in this environment is paramount.

Yes, it takes an adjustment to how you worked in the office but as you get feedback from your team you can tweak your approach so you get things done faster while maintaining the quality of your deliverables.

In summary, we believe focusing on these core points is a great start to improving your remote working processes.

  1. Clarity
  2. Communication
  3. Feedback loop
  4. More frequent updates
  5. Top-level of documentation
  6. Celebrate success

If you have any questions on how to improve the management of your remote/working from home development or testing teams let us know. We are happy to talk.