The Ultimate Guide to Remote Development Team Productivity (Tips and More!)

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Apr 15, 2021
Updated on
May 23, 2022
Table of Content

Whether you've always had a remote team, or you've pivoted to remote work due to the pandemic, then you know and understand just how tough it can be to keep your team motivated (and beyond). 

It could be due to the isolation, the lack of easy face-to-face communication, or even the general malaise in the (pandemic) air...but in any case, you and your team still have a job to complete. 

But, between getting that job completed and ensuring everyone stays on task, there’s a bit of a gulf. 

As such, we here at GoRetro & Acumen have provided you with tips upon tips upon tips, to ensure that you have everything you need up your sleeve to keep your team happy and motivated: we call it, ‘the ultimate guide to remote work’: 

Keep meetings productive and on task

We think you’d agree that one thing we’d wished we’d have known ahead of the pandemic is that we should have invested in Zoom stock. And that’s because they’ve have really risen to the task during the pandemic: it has a fantastic free plan, it's reliable, easy to use and it takes just seconds to download. 

One of the most important things to watch with your remote working team is the ease of communication and holding effective meetings. While we all crave human connection, it’s helpful to know when and how this will occur. 

Enter Zoom. It’s the most eligible and popular choice for a reason (and our go-to each and every time), but should your team not agree, keep things simple: have a vote for the online meeting platform of your choice. A word of warning here: make sure everyone knows how to use it! 

Otherwise, keeping meetings to a scheduled day and time daily, weekly, or otherwise will help to keep everyone accountable, happy and motivated. You can read more tips about keeping meetings productive for your remote team here

Keep a regular structure

One of the worst parts of a sudden shift to remote work is the sudden lack of a daily routine, or even work-home-life & home-home-life separation. This can lead to burnout, demotivation, and a LOT of team frustration (especially if everyone’s working different hours during the day, despite being in the same time zone). 

So: the best way around this, is to keep things to as much of a regular structure as possible. That means: 

  • Setting clear team intentions and goals
  • Create an agenda for your meetings
  • Keeping to those sprint reviews and sprint retrospective meetings (you can read more about how to hold a productive and blameless sprint retrospective)
  • Celebrating the wins: we all need praise, and especially nowadays, positivity too. 
  • Set up regular check-ins - this could be over chat, over your chosen meeting platform, or even the old, traditional method of phone calls. 

Your team needs to be engaged, and dedicated to a shared goal. The best way to do that? Keeping everyone (yourself included) to a defined, but semi-flexible, structure. Quickly catch 5 tips to make your development team more productive

Keep the company culture alive

Arguably one of the first things we all noticed about the pandemic was just how strange it was to suddenly be working without our colleagues right there. All of those chance conversations, news-sharing, and even other office-based events (happy hours, shared lunches, etc.) just weren't the same when they were taking place over video chat. 

That’s why an extra effort needs to be made to keep the company culture alive. Pre-pandemic remote-working organizations have known how to do this for decades, citing the following as being highly effective: 

  • Team, chat over Slack, WhatsApp, or otherwise
  • A weekly video happy hour
  • Receiving weekly encouraging emails - after all, if a developer codes when no one’s around, does their code not sparkle? 
  • Setting up a company or personal development activity for team members. 

These are just some of the ways to keep teams positive and motivated while working from home, ‘alone’. 

Remote Work Doesn't Have to be Remotely Bad! 

While we wait for ‘normal’ to return, this range of remote WFH tips should be more than enough to keep your team happy, on-task, and continually motivated for the time being. 

Remember: just because your team is working remotely, it doesn’t have to be a ‘remotely’ bad experience! 

About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

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