After COVID, the work culture has not been the same. Many companies shifted to complete remote work while some focus on a hybrid work environment. Effectively collaborating with team members has become more important.
To ease all of your communication problems we came up with a few solutions. Here we’ll share essential tips for better communication between development teams working remotely.
Communication for Remote Development Teams?
Communication is the core of teamwork, without it, there is no team teamwork. Businesses, managers, and team leads should know the complexities of communicating with remote coworkers.
Communication is just getting the complete and right information to the right person on time. For this, the flow of information should be well defined.
In remote working conditions, the flow is dependent on communication channels. Team building exercises for virtual teams are a great way to improve communication.
Effective Communication Strategies & Tips to Build Successful Remote Team
Greetings + Meetings
Lack of human interaction is the hardest to bear change especially for a remote development team where cooperation and consistent conversation hold great importance. This problem cannot be avoided but it can be managed. To help employees feel comfortable and not in a dark place there should always be open lines of communication.
Encourage them to communicate with each other, create a community or discord channel, and start with greetings. It helps feel less isolated so remote work is less daunting.
Starting the day can be boring or slow for virtual teams. Early meetings will not only push start their day but also put things in action.
Project needs, requirements, tools and technologies are a few things that can be discussed if you are starting out. For running projects, project updates, pointing out problems and discussing solutions, and meeting deadlines are a few pointers to discuss.
Remember not to overdo it, this should be a quick huddle and back to actual work.
According to research by the World Economic Forum, 33.4% of meetings of remote development teams in particular are considered unproductive. Limit meeting times and guide everyone to be respectful of others’ time. Ask relevant and important questions and avoid questions that can be answered over chat.
On top of physical distance, remote teams face time constraints, noise and internet connectivity issues, bonding, trust, and reliability for each other. The connection between team members is very important to overcome these issues. Since that is not possible, video calls are the next best thing.
Seeing your teammates regularly forms a relationship as you know a person by face, name, and how they communicate.
Start practicing from the day you read this, don’t wait for any miscommunication to happen. Depending on the schedule and the team you can have these meetings daily, weekly, biweekly, or at different stages of the project. These tips have also been deemed valuable by the top performing remote development teams.
Have a poll and let the team decide what time is best for them.
For newbies, there can be a communication gap even with all meetings and virtual hangouts. To avoid misunderstanding and time wasted you can make a document of acronyms and abbreviations used.
Communication through slack or trello is quick and better than email. Connect your communication platform with your project and team management platform. This will also help developers manage tasks easily, reducing miscommunication and boosting productivity.
This will increase productivity, allow you to take screenshots, track time & costs, and hold your team accountable.
Additionally, you can craft a
- Daily Activity Report
- Weekly and Monthly targets and goals sheet
- Definitive guide with standard KPIs for projects and team members
- Project board for progress mapping
- Communication tools like Slack, Teams, Flock, Google Chats
Grammar mistakes and poorly communicative messages can easily lead to miscommunication and create problems. Stress the importance of proper communication, grammar, and message tone.
Soft skills play an important role in clear communication and productivity. Learn what soft skills every developer and engineer should have and practice those to excel.
Deciding Tool & Usage
There are a lot of tools available to manage projects and teams. With so many of them available with bundles of features one can easily get carried away.
First, decide on communication, data storage and sharing, document control, and project management tools and stick to that across the teams and company. There are no best or standard channels and tools, select the one that fits best with your team and project category.
You may need to experiment a little. When doing so, select one or two small teams to test.
When managing virtual teams it is best to set guidelines and standards. Take note of the following to set guidelines:
- How often will teammates report/update on the project
- Time management policy
- Breaks and off time for remote workers
- Hours when everyone has to be available
- Accountability and reporting hierarchy
- How soon does someone have to reply/communicate
- Have dedicated project communication channels
- Will they follow the time-completion or task-completion schedule
Have everything in written format and share it with everyone.
Have Fun & Celebration
Celebrate little things and have fun over them. A virtual celebration for sports, birthdays, project completion, holidays etc., will help coworkers bond and become friends. Remember to advertise it to let everyone know when and what event will be happening. A virtual activity should be held at least once a month.
Try Walking In Other’s Shoes
The learning curve with remote communication can be hard for some people. Don’t judge quickly and try to help others. Show empathy but that doesn’t mean you have to spend hours explaining something while your work is being delayed.
Dedicate someone to train new recruits with everything in the first few days. Then assist them for a few weeks. Communicating with virtual teams is a new thing for many, giving them some time to adjust and adapt to a new environment.
Decide Meeting Agendas Beforehand
Not to waste anyone’s time and to efficiently decide the agenda of the meeting beforehand. Take notes and make pointers on the important things to discuss.
A few hours before the meeting, share the agenda with everyone. This way everyone will know what to discuss, ask, and get guidance on. Reach out to your team lead or manager if you need guidance on how to make an agenda.
Decide Meeting Priority Beforehand
Meeting attendees should know meeting priorities. Priorities and agenda can be managed in a singular file but note that they are different things.
Priorities are a hierarchy of topics to discuss, and goals to achieve. No priorities can lead meetings to chaos and the purpose of meetings will be lost.
Meetings are most productive when there are fewer participants. In physical meetings talking over can be productive but in a video call, it is just a mess. Set segregated meetings based on team agenda and responsibilities.
Limiting participants increases clear effective communication. Other members can catch up later if and when needed.
Whether you are a person who takes notes or not, recording meetings are very helpful. Especially when the meeting is an important one. One cannot simply remember what exactly was said nor can you take notes of everything said.
One person can record the meeting then send it to participants.
Free yourself of remembering everything or try to write down everything and listen to the meeting later whenever needed. Similar function is available in skype, if that is what you use.
Managing virtual teams is a whole new ball game. Companies have to step up their game if they want clear communication for remote development teams. The aforementioned are insights and tips that are effectively tested and helpful.
Hire highly experienced remote teams for your project, forget the hassle and save money without losing the quality of work. Connect with us today to pace things up.