Remote Teams and App Development: Overcoming the Project Management Challenges

Remote development team.

With the pandemic delivering once-in-a-generation changes to the work culture, an ongoing debate on remote working seems to have been decided. For years, different industries were on the precipice of choosing remote work but refrained from implementing it entirely. However, the onset of the pandemic gave little to no choice, and as a result, remote working is now the new norm.

However, for the app development and coding industry, remote working is not new. Offshore developers have worked with different corporations and business organizations for years. While remote teams are incredible to work with for an app development project, there are some limitations too. In this post, we will discuss some critical challenges and potential solutions to combat these issues.

Recognizing Project Management Challenges of Working with a Remote Team

There are multiple challenges that can arise when working with a remote team of developers for an app development project. However, the project manager’s crucial job is to recognize these limitations and work towards finding a suitable solution.

Communication problems

communication problems in remote app development.The in-office work environment compels software developers to brainstorm ideas and collaborate together on a project. But, communicating over online video meetings and text messages has caused a significant impact on the communications aspect of teamwork.

Oftentimes, the result can be that the team members are unable to voice their ideas and suggestions in he same ways as they might with in-person meetings They might also feel apprehensive about asking questions or actually participating in the discussion. Ultimately, it affects the overall productivity of the project and the reputation of the company.

Solution:

In order to deal with communication issues, it is vital to pick a select few communication channels. These must be reliable, easy to use, and offer instant results. For instance, you can choose Google Drive for document collaboration or Zoom for real-time chat and troubleshooting sessions. Do not overuse these tools, however, as doing so may lead to chaos.

Apart from that, encouraging virtual get-togethers or communications channels that do not involve work will help keep the team close. It is crucial to ensure that the team members feel comfortable with each other in order to work together on the project and the

Differences in the time zone

time zone differences in remote app development.Another critical challenge that remote working brings is the time zone difference. Sure, remote working renders the incredible opportunity to partner with developers from across the globe. However, these differences in the time zone can lead to work issues. You cannot wait hours to talk with another developer about any aspect of the project. It will definitely affect the productivity of the project and waste time.

Solution:

One of the best ways to combat this particular challenge is to set up a time when most employees are available. However, the timing needs to be done considering the time zones of the different software developers. Make sure to keep the timing the same throughout the project and encourage all employees to join the meeting.

That way, all the crucial aspects of the project can be discussed with ease. Another solution is to use tools that enable developers to write and submit daily reports. Finally, project managers can dedicated development team on a trial basis. If the relationship is productive for both parties, the contract relationship can evolve into a long-term business relationship.

Technology breakdown

technology breakdown in remote app development.Successful Remote work is crucially dependent upon the availability of technology adequate do the work. That means the remote developer needs to have the resources necessary for the project. These include powerful computing resources, stable and high-speed internet, and a working knowledge of current collaboration tools. Unfortunately,the potential for technology breakdown is unavoidable and must be considered part of remote working. After all, what can your team do if internet connectivity is lost in the middle of a work session?

Solution:

While technological breakdowns can occur at any time, there are some preventive measures you can adopt to ameliorate the impact of a tech failure.. For instance, it is imperative to maintain backups of the work done each day. That way, you can resume your work from another source without losing the previous progress. Another solution is to keep spare or backup hardware at the ready. Also, make sure you have an alternative internet connection if the primary source becomes unstable.

Monitoring productivity

monitoring productivity with remote app development.When the team developing an app has developers spread across the globe, tracking the productivity of the project becomes harder. That is mainly because developers perform a wide range of individual tasks to complete the larger project. Monitoring individual tasks and the efficiency with which they’re completed becomes challenging. Moreover, the absence of feedback from managers can lead to loss of confidence and misunderstandings on the part of team members. Solution:

In order to keep an eye on the productivity of each remote developer, you should use project management tools. There are numerous tools available in the market that are designed to organize, schedule, and document a project’s progress from concept through post-mortem. Another crucial piece of the puzzle is a qualified, experienced project manager. This professional will be responsible for handling the remote team members and monitoring individual productivity, along with surfacing issues and managing the process of getting them resolved.

Language problems

Language differences in remote app development.When you have a team of remote developers from different corners of the globe, language becomes an issue. While English is the predominant language in the IT sector, it is not the universal language. As such, communicating with non-native English speakers can become an issue.. Language gaps can lead to misunderstandings and confusion. The result is a significant drop in the productivity level of the project.

Solution:

Ask your development partner to make a recommendation on a multi-lingual project management resource. The dedicated professional will handle the team and make sure that language doesn’t become a problem. Beyond language competency, they’ll be able to demonstrate the project oversight background need to keep your project running smoothly. Apart from this, you can also opt for a language translator tool to understand what the other person is saying, though these tools are still somewhat rudimentary in their real-time translation abilities. Team bonding issues

 

Mutual trust

Trust in remote app development.Trust and being able to rely on one another are crucial to working together as a team. Without trust, employees do not have the confidence to ask each other for assistance. This ultimately has a negative impact on the quality of the project and wastes precious time.

In these situations, nurturing the bond between the team members is absolutely essential. To ensure top-quality results, it is vital to address any such concerns and take active steps immediately.

Solution:

The responsibility of ensuring that the team members trust each other falls on the team leader or the project manager. You need to demonstrate your trust in each employee and give them the freedom needed to make decisions. Even if that results in a mistake, you must let them own it. However, that doesn’t mean letting go of control completely.

In order to keep the balance, avoid micromanagement as much as possible. Moreover, make sure that the team members interact with others and form bonds outside business meetings. When employees know each other personally, trust will develop automatically. That will definitely reflect on the quality of the work and the productivity of the overall app development project.

Know What to Expect

Without a doubt, remote working has a wide array of benefits for reams and team leaders. With a remote app development team, you get flexibility, domain expertise, and in some cases, more productivity. However, it is essential that you acknowledge the extensive numbefr of challenges going into the project. Having realistic expectations is the only way to objectively identify issues as they arise and adopt potential solutions.

 

Harikrishna Kundariya

Harikrishna Kundariya is a marketer, developer, designer, co-founder, and Director of eSparkBiz Technologies, a software development company that provides digital solutions to new start-ups based on IoT and chatbot technologies.