Remote working had been on the rise, and has been proven to have some great benefits, including lowered stress and improved productivity. Even so, the secret to successfully managing a remote IT team isn’t just to start working from home. There is a lot of work that goes into producing great results.
Here are some features that all successful IT teams working remotely share.
Any successful team needs strong leaders, but this is especially true for remotely working teams. In order to achieve objectives, leaders need to identify the common goal, the potential conflicts in the route to achieving it, and the role of each team member in achieving it.
The secret to managing remote IT teams lies in good team leaders who also understand how important it is to have personal connections within the team in order for members to work cohesively as a unit. As a result, they ensure that the team is allowed interaction that isn’t always work-related.
In fact, good leadership can be the single-most important secret of a successful remote IT team.
Any team requires collaboration to be effective. This requires each member to share ideas and opinions, not just the team leader. However, during remote meetings, it is very easy for the quieter members of the team to get missed.
This is why it is up to the team leader to ensure that everyone gets a voice. Successful remote IT teams use video-conferencing for meetings to allows everyone to communicate effectively. It is especially useful for observing facial expressions and body language of team members, which can be important communication tools.
Feedback isn’t only necessary during meetings either. If you don’t hear from a colleague, it’s easy to assume they are fine. However, some people find it difficult to communicate when they’re struggling and will often not say anything. In such cases, it is up to the team leader to encourage them to speak up by asking open-ended questions.
Know Your Team
Another reason why a successful remote IT team relies on good leadership is because these leaders invest time in getting to know their team. As a result, they understand the personality of each member. This is important because different people have different working styles and needs.
Some may need little direction and will go off and do what they need to do, and may not appreciate being micro-managed. Others might find the flexibility uncomfortable and need more guidance. Some enjoy not having to stick to working hours while others need the 9-to-5 structure to be productive.
The team leader needs to take the different working styles into account in order to manage them all effectively.
As mentioned earlier, video conferences can help improve communication within the team. This is why successful remote IT teams will use video calls instead of text or voice-based platforms to talk to each other.
Being able to celebrate achievements together (albeit on video) is also a great way of building team spirit.
Video conferencing also serves another important function for remote teams. Seeing other people can help alleviate the sense of isolation when working from home.
Smaller Team Size
Another secret of successful remote IT teams is the fact that they are usually limited to ten people or fewer. While it might seem that larger teams would get more done, the fact is that small teams are much nimbler and can work better.
The reason for this is, with different working styles and preferences, it is much more difficult to coordinate a larger group, while a small group can adapt to an agile way of working quite easily.
Use multiple communication platforms
It’s quite evident that communication is one of the major secrets for success in remote IT teams. If the group communicates well, it becomes apparent in the results they deliver. This is why successful remotely-working IT teams don’t rely on just one channel to communicate.
There are several tools and platforms for remote working and communication, and each one of them offers a different set of advantages. Slack is excellent for text communication and collaboration, while Skype can be used for text as well as voice communication. Zoom is designed for video conferencing, Microsoft Teams is an all-in-one tool which combines video conferencing, document sharing and collaboration, and Trello allows teams to manage tasks and organise projects.
As with any other team, a successful remote IT team needs members that are able to work fluidly with each other. This means they need to communicate effectively and manage their strengths and weaknesses in order to give great results.
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