Is the old-school way of development the only way to go for successful product development?
The majority of the businesses would have agreed and stuck to this school of thought a few months back. But the pandemic ushered in a wave of new products developed fully by remote teams while the world was in lockdown. It reinstated the saying that necessity is the mother of invention and made most product development companies take the remote way to avoid going obsolete.
Truth be told, many have been succeeding at remote product development for years and many more have adopted this way of building a product within the past few months. But we cannot negate the fact that there are so many more who still have their own doubts and apprehensions about remote product development. Be it the apprehension to make the most of their team without the physical proximity of office or the
Remote Product Development: An Overview
We all know on the surface level that remote product development is nothing but getting a product developed by remote teams sitting somewhere outside the on-site office. This could be done by developers sitting at home, in another city, or in a totally different country. You hire a team of remote product developers, testers, QA engineers, product managers, etc., to build your app, software, platform, or any other product. Most companies are not seeking remote work for their products as it enables them to find the best talent and tech expertise for their product without going overboard with the budget.
Ways For Effective Remote Product Development
There are several ways that a company can make the most of its remote product development teams. All it needs is to follow certain strategies, and getting a product developed within the time frame and that too at a lower cost would become a cakewalk. So, let’s throw light on some of the ways to get effective remote product development.
Scrutinize To Find The Best Talent
Many times, a sense of leniency dawns upon people when they are looking for remote developers. They do not scrutinize the remote tech teams as exhaustively as they would for in-house developers. But this where they go wrong.
Before you can look to make the most of remote development teams, it is imperative that you find the right team first. This will set the right direction for the entire development team. Here is how you can hire the dream remote development team:
- Have an in-depth job description for the remote developers so that you can attract a more filtered list of candidates
- Look for remote developers on different platforms like UpWork, Toptal, Freelancer, PeoplePerHour, etc.
- Make sure to conduct an in-depth interview via video conferencing to ensure you have found the right person for the job.
- Scan the developer skills to ensure you have found someone that matches your product requirement.
Don’t Let Geographies Bind You
Many people are still apprehensive about hiring developers across the seas for the project. But that’s the main essence of remote product development. It blurs any geographic boundaries and lets you expand your horizon to find the best talent. Do not hesitate to look at far-off countries with the best IT talent to hire developers. You need the best team for your product and remote development offers you the chance to build one. You can choose to hire developers from the best IT hubs across the globe to build the best remote development team.
Documenting Is Important
Is it difficult to keep a track of everything your team is doing? Does your development team need to reach out to you for checking every little detail? This can be one of the biggest challenges in remote product development. And documenting can offer the one-stop solution for it all. Documentation offers a number of benefits that can help you simplify and streamline your remote product development process. Documenting can help you:
- Define your requirements
- Set up timelines for a sprint along with the to-dos in each sprint
- Prioritize the tasks for development
- Assign tasks and set goals for each of the remote developer or other team members
- Transfer knowledge based on information provided by the client or other data collected
- Keep everything organized in one place for quick access by each remote IT staff
- The expectation that you have from each of the developers
Cultivate Product Excitement & Empathy
Another way you can certainly make the most of your remote product development is by cultivating excitement and empathy in the developers for your product. When the teams are working in-house, it is easier to have a more detailed discussion about the product which makes them feel more connected to the product. However, remote teams can feel alienated and just focus on the tasks at hand instead of focussing on the bigger picture of the product as a whole.
Before on-boarding, the remote development team onto the project, make sure that you have already briefed them about the entire thing and what the product stands for. Once they know the main aim of the product, it would be easier for them to understand the requirements and all the aspects of the product as a whole. There is a greater need for a developer to be more excited about a product in order to start with the development and create something that they could feel excited about. This brings us to our next point.
Offer Scope For Criticism
It is not just a sense of excitement but the developers should also feel that they have the freedom to express their views on the product without being completely sidelined. Their constructive criticism never harmed any product and developers sure can offer a fresh perspective into the working of the product. They have extensive knowledge of the codes and can tell what feature can be implemented to work well and what might offer some glitch in the coming times. Empowering the remote developers to make decisions independently can also help in getting better results in a shorter time frame.
Define A Visual Product Outline
When working with remote developers, a visual product online can be a great way to get everyone on-board. Like an architect creates a 3-d design for a structure before getting on to build the real building, similarly, there should be a visual outline for the product. This can clear many doubts and misunderstandings about the product. They will also have a clearer view of what path to take for the development which can make things easier.
For example, if you are planning to build a new website, have the designer create a design of the same. The features or functionalities could be elaborated on in the document that you create. Once this is shared, the developer can start working as per the visual outline to copy the same design in codes.
Sprint-Based Development Always Succeeds
As a remote manager, the waterfall method can lead to missed goals, skipped deadlines, and much more. To make the most of your remote teams, make sure to follow the agile way of working, which promotes sprint-based development.
Remote development and remote teams go hand in hand. The division of the whole project in sprints makes it even easier to manage the work with remote developers. You have smaller goals that need to be finished within two weeks. And keeping a track of those two weeks is much easier compared to tracking the whole project at once.
Plan Workflow For New Normal
This one strategy is for the new normal, i.e., remote product development after the pandemic and its subsequent lockdown. There is a shift in the way businesses function now and remote development has become the new normal. It is important for remote team managers to create new workflows to embrace the new normal.
Once the remote developers and other members of the product team are on-board, have a discussion about their working style and routine. The pandemic has hit everyone hard and mental health should be of utmost priority. Make sure to have a flexible time frame and plan a workflow keeping everyone’s convenience in mind, while also ensuring to not hamper productivity.
Companies Succeeding With Remote Product Development
There have been countless examples of companies succeeding with their digital products. But more often than not, businesses feel that successful products are built when the product team comes and works together in the same physical office. But that’s not the case. There have been many companies that have made the most of remote product development and built successful products. If you are wondering if you can also go ahead with remote product development, have a look at these success stories to get an insight.
The founder of Firefox is known for delivering exceptional digital products. However, not many are aware that Mozilla employs most of its workforce as remote. This is one of the largest companies to have more than half of its workforce working remotely and has managed to launch several products over the span of many years successfully.
How They’ve Made The Most Of Remote Work
Mozilla focuses on its company policies and circulating it among everyone in the remote teams to maintain transparency in the work operations. Transparency is one of the company’s core values and makes sure that its remote developers also follow the same brand culture.
An app that has become a favorite of more than three million designers, InVision is popular for designing and prototyping. This app is not built by a team of on-site developers. Rather, the company operates with distributed teams that are spread across 25 countries. This remote product development team has been the backbone behind building this exceptional product design app.
How They’ve Made The Most Of Remote Work
This product company makes the most of remote development by investing in its employees. It believes that if the employees are satisfied, they will certainly deliver the best. It offers medical packages, gym membership, generous salary, and other allowances to its remote teams.
A leader in creating digital products for all social media users, Buffer is one tool that is quite popular among almost every brand. They have been building, updating, monitoring, and managing their product with the help of remote teams. The product has been doing exceptionally well and many companies can take inspiration from Buffer’s way of working with remote development teams.
How They’ve Made The Most Of Remote Work
The flexibility that Buffer offers its remote teams is exceptional. They have the flexibility to choose their working hours so that they can make the most of their time when they are most productive.
Welcoming The Future Of Product Development
The pandemic and its subsequent lockdown have certainly ushered in the future of work and remote working has become the new normal. The main challenges like communication and collaboration in managing remote teams have been overcome owing to the new tools coming forward. Developing a product certainly takes time but with remote development, companies will look forward to getting the product out in a shorter time.
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