While many companies are enlisting the help of remote developers or switching to remote work full-time, you may have questions about the best way to hire and work with remote developers. There are many benefits to hiring remote software developers, as having remote employees is a cost-effective mode of work (reduces office-related costs) and, with a wider pool to choose from, you have access to more talented developers.
However, as with any hiring process, hiring the right developers can be time-consuming and, if not done efficiently, can take several weeks or even months, costing your company valuable time and money.
If you’re interested in bringing on remote developers for your next software development project, consider the following best practices for hiring and working with remote software developers.
When Hiring a Remote Software Development Company
Look For Developers Who Are Time-Zone Friendly
Hiring developers who are in a similar time zone ensures that you can have real-time communication with your team. The “follow the sun” principle is no longer a viable option for software development. Gone are (or should be) the days when executives need to be up in the middle of the night or twilight hours to attend a meeting with a development team on the other side of the world.
When the “waterfall method” of development was the norm, valid arguments could be made for “follow the sun.” Now that “agile” and “scrum” have taken reign, it’s clear that real-time communication during software development is paramount to the efficient and effective delivery of the product as well as to provide a better experience and quality of life for everyone working in your company.
Get the Right People for the Job
It goes without saying that, if you’re going to be hiring someone to develop your software product, you’ll want to hire a team that’s a good fit with your current team and will produce the best product possible. How can you find the right people who are the best at what they do with the right hard and soft skills for your team?
Check Their Credentials and Equipment
Each team member brought onto the project should provide basic documentation (for deployment, APIs, and infrastructure) before the project starts. At project kickoff, the development team vendor should ask you who is responsible for reviewing the credentials of each team member. All documents for each team member should be given to your HR department or team lead for review. As each developer is welcomed to the team, introduce them to your company with an environment introduction session as part of their onboarding process. Also, ensure they have the right equipment and access to the appropriate tools and repositories. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often it’s overlooked until the day the new developer starts with your team.
Hire Specialized Developers
Full-stack developers can be an asset to any development team because of their flexibility and wide range of knowledge. However, hiring developers by their role and tech stack abilities can help your software development project go much smoother and can make the development process be more efficient. Specialized developers, while only trained in one specific stack, have in-depth knowledge and experience that makes them invaluable. Hiring specialized developers may cost you more in terms of expenditures on developers, but you’ll likely save money with efficiency and precision.
Specialties that you’ll likely need for your software development project include:
- UX (user experience)/UI (user interface) design
- Front end
- SRE (site reliability engineering)
- QA (quality assurance
Enlist Senior-Led Teams
Make sure that there is a senior-level leader on the development team and that the team is made up of experienced developers. In other words, you don’t want to pay for a junior developer to be learning on your project. You can get by with one or two mid-level developers,
as long as they are surrounded by more senior “teachers.”
Focus on the Skills and Experience of the Developers, Not the Vendors
When interviewing an outsourced vendor, it’s not always relevant that the vendor itself has experience in the domain that you are using. Exceptions to this are in design and in the development of any healthcare product, each of which has its own specific needs in terms of domain knowledge for several reasons we won’t discuss here. But those, and a few other examples aside, what really matters is whether the vendor has the personnel available for your project who do have experience in your domain. It doesn’t matter if a vendor does have experience in your domain if none of the developers assigned to your project don’t. Ask to be a part of the selection process, or at least meet all your team members, and have them highlight their specific project contributions in their past.
When Working With a Remote Software Development Company
Establish and Promote Fluid Communication Practices
One challenge that usually comes up when working with remote employees is communication. For example, hiring employees that are located in misaligned time zones can impede frequent and fluid communication. Some vendors like to have a central person through which communication flows. By doing so, they can prevent or minimize scope creep, which can happen when a client representative directs a member of the vendor’s delivery team to do something that is not in scope. While this can be useful, having a central person through which information is funneled delays information flow and therefore the velocity of your delivery too.
Consider employing a team messaging app, like Slack, that connects all of your team members on the same platform and allows them to communicate in real-time. Also, make sure that everyone on the team has everyone else’s contact information outside of your communication platform, establish clear communication guidelines, and make sure that everyone knows each others’ schedules.
Transparency is an important aspect of software development, as it promotes accountability and collaboration among team members. Transparency begins by giving everyone on the team ready access to the project scope information–at least the information that is relevant to their role. Access to this information helps align each team member’s project goals and therefore encourages efficiency and precision.
Frequent team sprints and stand-ups also foster transparency among team members. By establishing recurring sprints and stand-ups, this provides the space for team members to communicate their progress, raise concerns, and address any issues they may be having.
When bringing on new team members, especially when working remotely, your company culture can help them feel welcome and more engaged. You can help promote company culture with remote workers by planning weekly or biweekly company calls and clearly communicating expectations. Feeling part of the team is especially important for workers in other cultures that are unfamiliar with the word “co-employment”. Don’t be so worried about possible US-based legal divisions that you fail to embrace your new team and therefore end up quelling their passion; they want to belong, and working for a US-based company is a great source of pride.
AccelOne Nearshore and Offshore Remote Software Development
If you are wanting to hire a remote software development team, but you’re not sure where to start, consider enlisting the help of an IT staffing and recruiting company, like AcceloOne.
At AccelOne, we know what you need when it comes to enlisting nearshore software development and talent sourcing solutions. To learn more about our services or to schedule a consultation, contact us online or call 800.863.6814.
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Based in Seattle and with offices in Las Vegas and Buenos Aires, AccelOne aims to solve software development’s biggest challenge: delivering quality solutions on time and on budget. We offer custom software development, nearshoring, and IT staffing and recruiting services. Browse our site to learn more.