How To Manage A Remote Software Team With A Non-Technical Background?

How to Manage A Remote Software Team With A Non-Technical Background?

by Vikas Agarwal — 1 month ago in Development 7 min. read
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Managing a remote software development team is a continuous process that determines the outcome of the collaboration. Effective management leads to the timely development of the software with no additional costs incurred. This leads the software to start its operation aligning with the business logic.

Once you have hired a remote software development team, you must manage them from your workplace or home. But in the management process, you will likely face challenges like time zone, cultural, and language differences. Irrespective of your educational or work background, you must excel at managing the team to produce the required output.

8 Challenges for a Non-Technical Manager

Almost every manager faces challenges like time zone differences and language barriers while effectively managing the remote software development team. But there is a set of tough challenges faced by a manager with a non-technical background.

Understanding The Technicalities

A non-technical manager has to understand the technicalities involved in the development process, like the APIs, methodologies, coding standards, coding reviews, servers in use, data storage, security practices for protecting data, etc. A non-technical background manager requires basic knowledge of all such terms.

Checking on KPIs

KPIs associated with such technical terms are technical enough to be understood. The manager with a non-technical background usually faces an issue with understanding the quantities to measure the deliverables and progress of the team.

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Evaluation of Results

A non-technical manager may find it challenging to understand the results provided by the remote software team. The results in the middle of the development process are different and even more technical than the outcome.

Workflow and Deployment Process

Non-technical managers may find it difficult to understand the road map for the deployment process and workflow of software development.



Response

The non-tech manager faces difficulties in responding to requests for upgrades and proposals by the team in accordance with the budget, roadmap, and timeline.

Smart Tools

Non-technical managers may find it demanding to use the software and tools for checking the updates and tracking the progress of remote software development teams.

Development Process Control

Managers with non-technical backgrounds might find it tough to control the development process. The manager should ensure the team follows the processes, and no skill gap should adhere to development. If any problem arises in between, the manager should effectively solve the problem.

Technical Reporting

After evaluating the results and measuring the KPIs, the Non-tech manager may face issues reporting to the project’s stakeholders.

5 Skills Sought in a Non-Technical Manager

Every non-technical manager has to overcome the challenges faced in the management process of a remote software development team. The challenges can be eliminated by upskilling, reevaluating the existing skill set, and smart work. Developing a skill set is necessary for every non-technical manager to follow. The technical barriers can be easily overcome by research, patience, and understanding of the listed procedures’ overview.

Multi-Tasking

To be a manager of influence, you must be able to manage multiple tasks. This is ensured by setting up micro-goals daily with utmost consistency.

A good manager plans the day with all the tasks that must be completed or checked upon.

Any such task is not left undisturbed. Each task is regularly accountable to the schedule of the manager.

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Encouraging Professional Behavior

A manager should be smart enough to point out the mistakes of each team member. But the feedback should be given politely and professionally, leaving room for the team member to approve.

Such managers with a good attitude are easily reachable by the team members to discuss the issues incurred, leading to their ultimate resolution.

Problem Solving

A good manager should possess the skills of problem-solving. With logic, creativity, decision-making, micro-management, resilience, patience, and determination, any problem can be solved. The complex issues can be discussed in the regular meeting and resolved with input from team members and managers.



Negotiation

A manager should possess negotiating skills to place challenges in front of the team members. Such challenges speed up the processes and complete the development procedures within the deadline.

Self Management

A manager should be available for the team to discuss their problems, upgrades, and rooms for improvement.

How To Manage A Remote Software Team With No Technical Background?

You must remember that to be a good manager, and you need necessary “Managerial skills,” not technical skills. Having a technical background is an add-on, but it doesn’t work in management.

‘’ 58% of managers didn’t receive any “Managerial” training.’’

To be a good manager, you should be primarily good at managing things. Technical knowledge for a managerial role is always a secondary requirement.

Too much technicality just puts importance on the technical aspects of the project and ignores the managerial aspects of team building, communication, recording, reporting, and integrating.

A manager can be technical or non-technical irrespective of the educational or work background because managerial skills are beyond coding.

Learn About Your Team

Hiring a software development team could be easy but managing it is not easy. When managing the remote software development team, various professionals work in different domains, like developers, UX/UI designers, business analysts, testers, and quality assurance teams. It is important to understand the skill set of each team member.

There is always a skill gap as every team member can’t excel at each one of the IT skills. As a manager, you must understand which task would suit a member and plan allotment. Moreover, you can hire and rehire professionals anytime to fill in the cap of the required skill set for the task.

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Regular Communication

As a manager, you must regularly check with the remote software development team for progress, updates, and any issues.

There are many ways for business communication, like online video conferencing, email communication, business messaging apps, social media, etc.

Effective communication happens in two ways- a manager should be a good deliverer and an active listener. This can be ensured by regular short meetings, either weekly or daily. You should resolve their queries during the meetings, ask your own questions, and provide feedback.

The feedback should motivate the team members and contain constructive criticism in case of misalignment. You should always be approachable enough that your team doesn’t hesitate to put forward their issues.



Follow The Agile Approach

Agile Approach

To effectively manage your team, you must choose an Agile approach

Connect with the remote software team through video conferencing.

Schedule stand-ups.

  • Ask Questions
  • Track Progress
  • Resolution of Queries
  • Feedback

Proper Documentation

You need to document the software development plans and the progress measured at each stage of the development process. Maintaining proper documentation records is the key to aligning your software development with its requirements.

A manager should continuously check the records to track progress and match the alignment of development with the allotted budget.

Detailed and informative software documentation is the key to preventing code failure and understanding the project’s goals.

Any change in the ongoing processes and possible updates must be added to the records and matched with the budget and timeline of the software development.

Avoid Complexity

As a manager, please avoid placing too much complexity on the remote software development team. If you plan to introduce complex processes, make sure to divide tasks between the team members and set a flexible deadline to reduce the workload. Since it is a dedicated software development team, you can hire/rehire professionals regularly.

Hire The Right People

It is important to hire the right people to develop the software. Usually, in dedicated software development teams, multiple people are involved in hiring the team members/contracting a company. Managers, HRs, CEOs, and other professionals are involved in these procedures.

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Avoid Changes

Refrain from introducing changes in mid-development procedures. Too many changes in the middle of a process are complicated for any team member to understand and take quick action.

If a change is necessary enough to match the business logic, ensure proper communication with the team members regarding the development procedures.

Effective Planning

A manager needs to plan the entire process in accordance with the objective. The strategy should be smart enough to align the development process concerning the project stakeholders.

Tasks are allotted to specific team members, and timelines should be set during the pre-launch of the project.



Proper Tracking

As a manager, you should properly track the progress of the remote software development team. Right KPIs and regular meetings facilitate the process of tracking.

You should give performance feedback on each team member’s contributions to real-time development processes.

Once you have tracked all the KPIs, make sure to document those and prepare a report to present the stakeholders and necessary professionals involved in the project.

Hire a Technical Lead

If the project’s technicality is too high, you can think of hiring a technical lead. Usually, the technical lead is placed below the manager for presenting the progress, reports, and deployment processes.

The technical lead can be a senior developer to micro-manage the development team. The collaboration with the technical lead and manager brings better results as both professionals put in their expertise to provide a report to the project’s stakeholders. You can always hire/rehire such teams based on performance.

Use the Right Tools

Since it is a remote software development team, you should use all-in-one Project Management Tools to properly track, measure, and record for effective management. You can create a separate database for each process and ask the team members for regular updates.

Use a CRM to effectively manage the team to understand their requirements, input, updates, communication, and other deployment processes.

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Supervise The Process

  • Divide the parts of software development processes equally among the remote software development team members.
  • Try to check on each team separately with the meetings.
  • Ensure that the assigned work to the team aligns with their expertise and is divided equally among them.
  • Hold code reviews with the team weekly.
  • Regularly run tests on the code and debug whenever needed.
  • Try to resolve queries of the developers and stakeholders regularly.
  • If your team lacks something, ensure to fill the gap with effective planning. You must commit to pointing out the mistakes in the project and urge the developers for correction.

Strategize for Risk Management

For perfect software development team management, a good manager should prepare a risk management strategy in advance. An uncertain situation like code failure or bug might be incurred during the development procedures. There should always be a different plan to act upon in such situations.



Conclusion

Managing a remote software development team with no prior experience in technical operations or educational background might appear challenging. Some generic challenges that each manager may face are time zone differences and language barriers, which are easily manageable. But the technical issues faced by managers of such backgrounds might be tough to deal with. Some challenges include understanding technicalities, software deployment procedures, evaluation of results, usage of smart tools, etc.

To solve these issues, managers may think of enhancing their skills, gaining some basic technical knowledge, and hiring a technical lead to produce the required software output by the deadline.

Vikas Agarwal

Vikas Agarwal is the Founder of GrowExx, a Digital Product Development Agency specializing in Product Engineering, Data Engineering, Business Intelligence,Web and Mobile Applications. His expertize lies in Technology Innovation, Product Management, Building & nurturing strong and self-managed high performing Agile teams.

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