Software development is in a league of its own when it comes to transformation. And right now, disruptions seem to be led by distributed tech teams working in unison to achieve a common goal. Within this framework, protocols are designed to integrate distributed teams and enhance the end-user experience. Read on to understand how distributed software development can drive sustainable growth for your organization.
What Does Distributed Development Mean?
Distributed development is unifying tech teams spread across geographical boundaries on a common objective. The model divides work into mini-projects that can be individually accomplished by smaller teams and combined for the final result. Distributed development takes remote work one step further and applies its principles to the whole organization.
Distributed development is a well-known model of development in the IT space. Unfortunately, the risks surrounding source code protection and accountability prevented companies from adopting it on a large scale. However, newer tools and systems have solved these problems.
Platforms for collaborative creation such as Github enable remote teams to work on the same piece of software responsibly. Virtual interactions are now augmented by holographic meetings using application software development kits (SDK) like Microsoft Mesh.
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Working from home avoids commuting, and fewer commuters result in
lower greenhouse gas emissions.
What about Moments of Serendipity?
The Office-Serendipity Theory of Innovation suggests that spontaneous meetings with co-workers give rise to creativity and inventive thinking. Adherents of this thought process revere the organic brainstorming these moments of serendipity lead to and dismiss remote work for fear of losing out on them.
Co-located software teams are great. However, open-floor plans have demonstrated the chaotic nature of distractions that follow constant proximity. Not every break room catch-up leads to great ideas. Remote teams may actually be more strategically equipped to manufacture these moments of serendipity. Tech leaders can nudge their development teams toward collaboration by using the communication tools appropriately and building behavioral prompts to mimic water-cooler conversations. Case in point, it is possible to digitally synthesize “accidental discoveries”.
Why Distributed Software Development Teams Work Better?
Remote workers are, by design, more open to new processes and, therefore, adapt quickly to new work methods. Besides, the asynchronous communication typical to a distributed team can in itself be an advantage, enforcing mindfulness in responding and filtering out distractions while working.
The advantages of diversity in distributed teams cannot be emphasized enough. Sourcing talent from tech hubs like India, Ukraine, and Brazil is common among tech giants, and for a good reason. Multicultural teams bring in diverse and varying perspectives, and often find unique solutions that stand out from the normal.
The cost savings of distributed development can help startups gain traction earlier and fuel growth. For existing companies, this is an opportunity to divert resources to build competencies.
Building an Efficient Distributed Software Development Team
A successful distributed software development team is built from several different components. Here are a few strategies your software development teams can adopt:
1. Hire the right people
Nothing solid can be built on a rocky foundation. Therefore, it is crucial that you hire talent that aligns with your values and expectations. Draft a clear outline beforehand to assist your hiring process and communicate clearly with candidates.
2. Consistent communication
Schedule regular check-ins with your team and ensure virtual interactions are productive. Make it a rule to kick-off all projects with an interactive video call conversation. Misunderstandings can affect communication lines and should be addressed immediately.
3. Distributed agile practices
Applying agile practices to distributed development can be made possible by planning ahead and establishing ground rules for workflows. Having a dedicated coach helps tremendously. They can ensure all team members are working towards the same goal, even if it is highly volatile.
4. Set up the project management process
There are several variables in managing distributed development and it is key to have a reliable tool for project management. This tool should call attention to the critical areas and help distribute tasks efficiently.
5. Distributed leadership
Distributed teams are structured to support decentralized leadership. With projects subdivided into mini-project groups, there is more scope for distributing leadership across management. If your teams are concentrated in any area, you can also assign leaders from the same country to increase efficiency and integrate better.
Distributed tech teams are becoming increasingly popular as companies start to realize that great talent has no geographic boundaries. Organizations have access to a bigger pool of qualified candidates who are willing to work remotely. Companies can also be leaner without the office space rent and ancillary expenses, reducing their overheads and putting the same money back into their business.
Managing a distributed team, however, is no walk in the park. Challenges like global payroll, country-specific compliance, localized onboarding and finding the right people for the job take up a lot of time and money. With Skuad’s unified platform and global employment infrastructure, you can build a remote team anywhere in the world. We will take care of hiring, onboarding, payroll, compliance, benefits and more, while you build your team on international superheroes. Talk to our People Ops experts to get started.