5 Tools for Managing Remote Teams

There are lot of new tools available to help you effectively manage the work of remote team members. Those tools will help you to improve communication, project management and development setups.

1 – Chat rooms: Slack/Gitter/flowdock

Slack, Gitter and Flowdock are effective communication tools that allow you to create channels to talk about specific topics. These are fantastic tools when you have workers all around the globe. It’s a good way of making communication less overkill and you can assign users to channels according to your needs. They also have voice/video calls for free.

2 – Cloud storage provider: Dropbox/Google Drive

Your team needs to access documents, and Dropbox and Google Drive are the best option to do it. They are simple apps. The user just need to drop a new file and assign permissions to others users that will be notify when changes are made. They also have multi edit functionalities that enable two or more users to edit the same document simultaneously.

3 – Issue Tracker: Jira

Issue trackers like Jira have a lot of plug-in that help your team to manage requirements and projects. This helps teams to organize work, document and prioritize tickets. Define releases and dates. Jira integrates well with code repositories like Git, so when a developer closes a task, the ticket will be automatically updated. Managers can create their own dashboards to see the status of each ticket, and you can use some Tempo plugins to load hours. This is a must in any remote development team.

4 – Software container platform: Docker

Docker.com says “Developers use Docker to eliminate “it works on my machine” problems when collaborating on code with co-workers. Operators use Docker to run and manage apps side-by-side in isolated containers to get better compute density. Enterprises use Docker to build agile software delivery pipelines to ship new features faster, more securely and with confidence for both Linux and Windows Server apps.”
Basically you can create docker containers that will include all the dependencies and products you need to build your software and distribute them to your developers in a very easy way. That will make developers life easier.

5 – Continuous Integration tools: Bamboo/Jenkins

This CI tools will help you to build your software and run all your test to detect issues sooner. With distributed teams you don’t want to have your repository broken. These apps will help you to maintain your repository in a good state, and they can build and publish your app directly to test environments. If we integrate this with JIRA and Git, a developer can push a fix to a bug in Git that will automatically move the ticket in JIRA to “Ready to Test” and Bamboo will build the app, run the tests, notify if something went wrong, and publish the app to QA. This is a great feature when you manage remote teams.

When working with remote team members you want to automate all your process to avoid blocking someone’s work. These apps help you to make that possible and to have everything on the cloud. Each member will know where to go to get the information and how processes work. I strongly recommend to use these apps no matters if your team is remote or not, because with these apps you can highly increase your team performance . Now, for a remote team, this should be a must.

New technologies: Big challenge for non-dynamic organizations?

Innovation should be thought as a process, not as a goal. The world is changing very quickly and organizations need to move fast, so it’s not about how to innovate but to create the space to let the innovation happen.

Current mid-range level managers are Baby Boomers or Gen X that have a big challenge to manage new generation developers.

There are very few old school developers willing to learn new languages, most of them just stay coding in the same language they started coding, so we can think that new technologies are going to be mastered by new developers, I mean, Millennial developers.

Millennials understand the world in a different way, not better or worse, just different. They are not affected by the technological changes around them, and they actually enjoy learning new technologies. This is why Millennials will master new languages naturally, and that’s why companies who want to innovate will need to know how to deal with them.

So, innovation translates to our capability to give Millennials the space to learn and build new stuff. Current managers will need to adapt themselves to work with them, and that means to accept remote working, informal communication, and setting up goals instead of requesting 8 hours per day, etc.

How is your company dealing with this? Is it dealing with it at all?

Some startups are starting to accept Remote Working as they know that they can find better skilled developers faster and for less money. They only care for what the developers deliver and not the time they spend doing it. There are a lot of issue tracker tools that help to organize and supervise work . There are a lot of instant messaging tools available to have real time discussions by topic that help everyone in the organization to be updated with the latest status. Millennials handle these tools naturally. X Gen developers are also incurring in this process as they understand that this impacts positively in their performance.

Nowadays we can know where our Uber is, how long it will take to arrive and how much our trip will cost. So who is going to waste time in a corner waiting for a cub? The same happens with the new ways of working. If you have the chance to hire developers remotely and do the job easily for less money, why are you not doing it?