Ihor
Feoktistov
CTO at Relevant

Advantages of Distributed Development Teams and Ways to Go Remote

Dedicated teams

The popularity of a distributed model of development steadily increases every passing year, and so does the number of organizations that encourage remote work. Recent research suggests that work from a distance may surpass office labor by 2025. Do you know why distributed development teams are on a steady rise? In short, many companies have embraced it because of the advantages of distributed teams, which include a more reliable, cost-effective, and efficient way to operate, far outweigh the downsides of this model.

Even nowadays, organizations in “hot spots” have difficulties finding and evaluating the technical workforce. It’s even harder to find qualified and efficient managers who can effectively lead the core engineering team. If your firm is located far away from bigger cities with a broader talent pool, it gets much tougher to find professionals locally.

However, if you think that quicker talent acquisition is the only thing that makes so many organizations worldwide opt for distributed teams, then you are far from the truth. In this article, we are going to tell you why so many organizations prefer to work with remote engineering teams and delegate development to software development outsourcing companies.

What is a Distributed Software Development

Distributed software development means an operating model where the company has multiple remote engineering teams. Developers can be spread across multiple locations, including different countries or even continents.

Companies that opt for distributed development can be divided into the following groups:

  1. Partially distributed – these organizations can have office workers and dedicated remote staff. Companies like Trello, GitHub, as well as many Dell and Microsoft divisions, fall into this category.
  2. Fully distributed firms, which opted to be fully remote. The list of companies with this model includes Automattic, Zapier, Articulate, and GitLab.

To get partially or fully remote, companies can recruit freelancers or hire software development teams from IT outsourcing companies that specialize in supplying organizations with teams of engineers, managers, analysts, as well as other IT-related services.

However, before contemplating the idea of going distributed, you need to weigh the pros and cons of this operating model first.

Common Concerns with Distributed Teams

The tech market is filled with companies that successfully embraced the distributed development team model despite its seemingly “too innovative” or “unreliable” nature. Even more so, presumably, 88% of executives support the idea of remote work, according to the recent report conducted by Buffer. Still, some executives have preconceptions about remote development or that Agile methodologies won’t fit with remote engineering teams.

Let’s go through the most prevalent concerns about distributed engineering teams to find out which ones are more grounded in reality.

Poor quality of work

Some people still picture a crew of part-time, underpaid developers somewhere in suburbs working on ten projects at once with the corresponding quality when they hear the words “distributed development team.” However, this concern has become outdated for at least 15 years. The market for distributed software development has been increasing so rapidly that competition drives outsourcing companies and freelancers to deliver the best possible services to their clients. Solid outsourcing vendors are also meticulous with the staffing and vetting of potential employees to ensure that they can provide only the most reliable talent to their customers.

Remote engineering teams can’t be adequately managed

Even though it’s challenging to implement Agile development to remote engineering teams, it is not impossible if you adjust your operations to distribute the work evenly across different teams. The company needs to make sure that all team members have roughly equal workload and that every employee understands his role. There are also a wide variety of practical online tools for management and planning (Monday, Trello, OmniPlan, as well as services like Dropbox and Google Drive). The organization that successfully implements these techniques is more likely to have a productive distributed development team management, given that it streamlined effective communication process.

Also, it’s important to point out that you can hire a dedicated team with a project manager, who’ll do the management locally, while you control the process on the high-level. Since 2013, we at Relevant Software have been helping companies from various corners of the world to build software products from scratch and meet the product-market fit.

Communication problems

Communicating on distance can be problematic for many companies. It’s much easier to schedule and plan conferences when you work in the same office or at least sharing the same time zone. There is also a potential problem of isolation that some employees may face. That’s especially apparent if your firm is only partially distributed, where some of the remote workers can start to feel alienated from their on-site colleagues.

However, there is a great variety of tools for online communications and scheduling that makes telecommuting possible even for large enterprises. With experience, you’ll find that using apps such as Slack, Skype, or Google Hangouts can make communication smooth and streamlined, giving it some advantages over regular on-site meetups. 

If you want to synchronize meetings or specific events for teams who operate in different time zones, you can use tools provided by TimeAndDate and Every Time Zone. As you master these tools, you may discover that having crews in various time zones can become one of the main benefits of the distributed development team model.

Advantages of distributed development teams

Now that we talked about some concerns about the growing trend of going distributed, it is time to find out what exactly drives startups and larger enterprises alike to choose this path.

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Access to a diverse talent pool

With distributed development teams, you don’t need to search for local talents. You can choose developers you need by gaining access to a global, almost unlimited pool of technical talent.

You can add different cultures and nationalities to your workforce by getting talent from overseas, which can help you adopt and implement new innovative ideas. Diverse crews have more than 30% chance to outperform their non-diverse on-site counterparts based on the studies.

Also, according to statistics, the technical market in the US alone will face a severe shortage of engineers by 2021. Acquiring talents is going to become an even harder and more costly challenge for companies refusing to go remote, giving even more advantages to hiring distributed engineering teams.

Cost-effectiveness

The USA currently stands as a country with the highest salaries for software developers with an average yearly payment of around $100,000. However, there are countries in Eastern Europe like Ukraine, which is placed on the 8th place in a list of countries with the best programmers, where engineers have an average annual salary of less than $25,000. In addition to cutting cost for salaries, having a distributed development team gives your other advantages. For example, an average US company saves over $10,000 yearly per remote employee by rent alone.

Increased productivity

Access to a global talent pool means that you have even more professionals to choose from, and supplying your dev team with experts undeniable leads to better productivity overall. Additionally, research by Stanford University shows that employees that work from a distance have equal or even bigger efficiency than on-site workers. Adding to that, the remote staff has a lower attrition rate and more working hours per year because they usually have fewer sick days and take shorter breaks.

Bigger reach

Hiring people from around the world increases your company’s time-effectiveness. By having employees in different time zones, an organization can strategically increase it’s daily working hours and have at least one team always available.

Better retention and employee satisfaction

Many workers prefer flexible working hours and a lack of commitment to be on-site. There are successful enterprises like Helpshift that see the benefits of allowing their staff to work from home. With distributed development teams, your company can start to focus on the results and effectiveness of each worker instead of their physical location during work hours. Studies by PGI state that 82% of distance workers have much lower stress compared to their office colleagues, which enforces a greater retention rate and leads to increased productivity.

How to Go Distributed?

There are many ways to go distributed based on your company’s needs. For example, you can hire freelance engineers or full software development teams to augment your staff. Your company can use staff augmentation services of an outsourcing company to fully or partly delegate the development of your products. Let’s look at each way more closely.

Hiring freelancers

If you have a smaller project with a steady plan, delivery dates, and have a streamlined screening and communication process developed, you may benefit from freelance engineers. Gladly, there are many ways to find them online if you want to go remote. However, always keep in mind that when hiring dedicated remote staff, especially if they live in another country, you’ll have fewer means of managing him or protecting intellectual rights for your property. Considering how many freelancers there are nowadays, finding true experts among thousands of remote programmers is a complex task that requires proper staffing and vetting, as well as a room for some trial-and-error. 

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The best ways to find potential remote dedicated developers are the following:

Recruiting an outsourcing company

It will give you more advantages to hiring a dedicated team provided by an outsourcing company in the following scenarios:

  • Companies that need to increase expertise or key stack in a short period of time can get specialists with any required skills through outsourcing vendors.
  • Business with tight deadlines that want to fit in the schedule by boosting expert capacity with remote talent.
  • Startups that want to scale fast and have no time to spend on screening local hires can leverage an offshore managed team of the desired size.
  • Organizations that have no clear plan, set deadlines, or model for their future project, and need help from an outsourcing company with a product discovery phase, planning, and further development.
  • Any company that wants to be in charge of the development process while avoiding the administrative part of the management.

Hire Ukrainian Developers: Top 10 Reasons Why Outsource to Ukraine

Even though finding the right outsourcing company is less time-consuming and less risky than screening freelancers one by one, it’s still essential to find an outsourcing vendor that suits you. When choosing, you need to pay attention to the company’s payment model and pricing, size, talent acquisition, vetting process, as well as its portfolio and feedback from previous customers.

The most popular and effective portals to choose a good outsourcing company for distributed development are the following:

  • Clutch. Review portal that helps to find business-to-business companions. It shows only verified feedback from real clients to ensure that you can evaluate potential vendors based on the quality of their services.
  • Goodfirms. The site that provides customers with vast options for finding outsourcing companies with desired tech stack and qualification.
  • VenturePact. A solid site with thorough research functions and options for time-tracking and communication enablement. Using this review platform will help you engage with companies with many different areas of IT expertise.

To find out about even more ways to acquire remote developers or find an outsourcing company, you can read our article.

Summary

To sum it all up, organizations that embrace the distributed development model are not fully protected from the risks of hiring unsuited engineers. There are also some real downsides to this model that are hiding behind many misconceptions about remote development teams.

Nonetheless, more and more companies are opting to go remote because of the irrefutable advantages of distributed engineering teams, some of which include better flexibility, cost- and time-effectiveness, and access to an almost unlimited talent pool. Seeing how many ways and places there are to discover remote talent, and taking into account the imminent shortage of engineers that local markets are going to face in a couple of years, remote engineering teams may be the work model of the future for many companies. The question is: can you afford not to innovate now?

Written by
Ihor Feoktistov
CTO at Relevant
I make sure our clients get the highest code quality and the best tech talent on the market. I am also a Software Engineering Advisor for startups. Let's connect.

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