How to manage IT remote teams – 5 key aspects

The era of fully in-person work is going through a transition towards another working model. There are plenty of ways of making up, maintaining and leading teams without having to meet face to face in a physical space, but this is not exempt from risks, which we must be ready to face.

Taking into account the changes that are taking place in the current world and, mainly, in the labor market, new demands and new stages appear, where it is possible to develop projects at a faster pace and at other spatial levels. These projects are interconnected from different places of the world and it is also feasible thanks to other team dynamics.

Asynchronous work, technological agility and the chance of identifying the geographical location of talents in any part of the world have become really interesting considering that, at this moment, there are other ways of designing, achieving and sharing projects.

Nowadays, there are many digital tools which let us use agile and flexible methodologies in order to assign the roles and tasks among the members of each team, organize the schedule of every activity and establish assessment and revision methods. At the same time, it is possible to come to common agreements related to each project.

 

 

Regarding the IT area, the necessity of finding skilled personnel leads to the search of new talents by outsourcing and, at the same time, to the constant training that the new employees are offered in order to undergo daily challenges.

There are more and more companies that decide to work remotely but they do not know how to do it or fear failing during that process. In spite of that, it is completely profitable. Beyond the economic benefits that are obtained after that decision, it is also true that leading teams remotely means putting faith in new working methodologies and internal and external strategies of communication. The result of these changes can be seen in better working conditions and greater creativity, productivity and efficiency. So, when workers feel more at ease in the enterprise, they are likely to remain there.

The key is to generate a good work environment by creating mutual support conditions, where challenges can be seen as an opportunity to move forward and grow as professionals and not as an obstacle that prevents them from improving their performance.

The IT talents that are part of the teams feel the necessity of incorporating technical competencies and soft skills so as to fulfill their tasks properly and, in many cases, employers must invest in training to achieve that.

Therefore, it is logical that many companies feel that when modifying their work structure, they lose control on the process and the implementation of the planning. However, at this point, it is also essential a supervision strategy and the chance of a fluent communication, where everyone’s position is appreciated, so both of them know they are going on the same track.  

 

Now, let’s speak about 5 key aspects when leading IT teams remotely:

  1.   Set out the working time: every planning requires to set the goals to fulfill, the way of measuring results and, at the same time, it is necessary to fix the deadlines that must be met by the team and the personal time of every worker. It is essential that this planning makes it possible to organize the personal schedule and the quantity of hours assigned to work, because if there is a balance between both of them, performance and productivity in the execution of projects are likely to improve. The way of solving difficulties must also be identified in a responsible way.
  2.   Make a constant follow up: as they are not in the same physical space, both employers and employees need to get in touch to move forward in each stage. Although it is true that when working remotely those distances seem to be longer, the leader of the team must get together with the other members not only through video conferences or video calls but also through common documents where they share the improvements, so as to evaluate the development of the project, revise the KPIs and make the necessary modifications.
  3.   Strengthen the communication: it is key to set out communication channels by means of which notifications, announcements, updates related to the team and relevant information will be sent and shared. It is also essential to coordinate online meetings between the leaders and the people involved in the project, so they can speak about their ideas, suggestions and contributions. Taking into account their needs and answering their questions lead to a fluent exchange that makes the improvement feasible in a fast and clever way.
  4.   Promote and develop confidence: it is important to appreciate empathy, offer attentive listening and promote respect among workers. This makes it possible to develop a confidence environment where everyone feels accompanied by the rest of the workers in order to achieve the common goals. They should also be helped by their leaders to overcome any obstacle and learn from every experience. The fact of having the chance to express their feelings, expectations and aspirations in front of others causes a better understanding, willingness and commitment towards the job they are performing.
  5.   Appreciate the achievements at an internal and external level: this is an effective way to encourage the employees to continue developing their tasks and being part of the team. The appreciation can be within the enterprise or in a public way. This will boost their self-esteem, raise their desire for growth and success and, therefore, they will feel totally encouraged.

In this sense, considering some trends, such as the Gig economy, which leads the way to the future of the business market, it is clear that the leadership of IT teams remotely is completely beneficial, as it is a tool that enables to offer greater temporary job opportunities to skilled personnel (by objectives or being part of certain projects). At the same time, it makes possible a coordinated job that balances the need of keeping certain flexibility and independence and the need of producing in a current context of high competence and hyper-specialization.

The secret of effectiveness lies in a Culture of Open Talent

Nowadays, companies are going through a crucial moment as they are almost forced to innovate some practices and dynamics in accordance with these times but without giving up old work schemes (in which the physical presence in the office was one of its requirements).

 

Therefore, the complex company culture is constantly changing by means of the use of technologies and Internet, which allows more and more new and better ways of exchange, beyond working face to face.

 

The new searches and needs of both enterprises and freelance workers show the current reality of the labor market.

 

Companies are facing the dilemma of continuing with their talent recruitment and selection processes as they have been doing for ages or looking for new ways of recruitment.

 

One thing is certain, they are immersed in the new virtual model, so they are not exempt from using platforms and digital resources at work. The opportunities that can be obtained with this new situation justify the importance of respecting and including the diversity of available options in the known schemes.

 

So the idea is to create an open talent culture by keeping in permanent contact with collaborators and other companies, increasing the talent sources by looking for more flexible and open ones, generating more dynamism inside the enterprises and encouraging the talent flow respecting its time, roles and specific needs.

 

All of this requires a total commitment in the recruitment of new talents.

 

The aim is to prevent a company culture from keeping closed in on itself, blocked and rigid. In this traditional talent system, there is little resources flow and there are not enough movements in order to make the exchange profitable.

 

Most organizations, even the ones that belong to fields that change constantly, keep on being involved in a traditional working model – the permanent employee who has a fixed schedule. That model is no longer able to follow the rhythm of the huge informative and technical change which it has to respond to and the speed at which it has to do it.

 

Promoting an open talent culture does not mean that we must accept everything equally, as this may cause the system to disorder. When we allow more exchange, there is more energy, ideas and tasks flow which are aimed at creating innovative solutions within the organization.

 

In this context, the foundations of the open talent culture are:

  • Transparency and openness. Once the new temporary members are incorporated, there is new constant information and methods to solve problems. The openness to new information and methodologies are the key for the company success.
  • Agility and dynamism. Open talent cultures are abundant in suggestions and experiences from freelance workers who, as a global community, provide a specific approach in order to share new tools and methods.
  • The incorporation of global talent promotes the addition of different cultures and ways of thinking. The fact of having a culture which is focused on inclusion will improve the results significantly.
  • Collaborative environment. It is essential to understand that, in order to achieve the best performance of remote workers, we must collaborate in an open way.
  • Management by objectives. Open talent cultures hire employees who work by projects. The enterprises that apply this methodology have less permanent labor relationships.
  • More predictability. One of the main problems of an organization is to be able to know which actions it may need in the future. In this context, with an open talent culture, the functions of the employees are reduced and remain without internal background that makes them unable to operate. There is no prejudice when leading change.

 

 

What’s the use of keeping a fixed work team in which its members feel blocked, without any chance of growing and even any clear goals? For what purpose do we resist to take advantage of the new work dynamics?

The current work models must be more and more aligned with the hybrid schemes and the dynamism of the context in which they are developed. Having a close talent culture which does not go together with the external events and trends causes the loss of effectiveness in all of its organizational levels.

An enterprise that maintains its open talent culture, with its front doors in constant movement allowing employees to move freely, is likely to have more effectiveness when showing the results.

This is not a new trend but the promoters of the open talent culture allow the mixed and flexible labor force to increase at a pace that has not been possible so far.