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How to build Remote Teams

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Oct 19, 2020

We live in a world of startups that are trying to make our life better. Innovation is knocking at our door and change as always is becoming inevitable. If every startup has to build their teams from scratch in order to build great software your time to market will be impacted

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Building your remote team — courtesy freepik.com

What does everyone do ?

There are a couple of proven ways to solve this problem, if you are a startup owner and want to get started with your product development on day.

Let me list some key steps related to a software product:

1. Hiring a CTO, a person with reasonable experience working with business stakeholders and defining IT architecture

2. Define and Document your business vision, mission and goals.

3. Outline the scope of MVP and target dates to meet investors

4. CTO defines the base architecture, guidelines and governance around the product

5. CTO will assemble a Tech team to start the work for achieving the MVP product

6. Once the base product or MVP is ready, the founder/CTO will decide the road map for future changes based on how well the MVP is received with investors and what kind of changes are requested by customers/investors

We are going to talk more about step 5 — one of the challenging steps in the journey to build a product

Assembling the Tech Team for MVP

If you are a well funded startup, then forget about the rest of the article.

Assuming you are among the 90% of startups, who want to start small with their own money or with the money from a small group of investors, then please read further.

Option 1 : Hire remote developers from Freelance Platforms

The default and most easy way to get started is to hire remote developers from general freelancing platforms. This includes a wide variety of platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, TopTal, Fiverr etc. depending on the budget and the nature of work at hand.

Pros

1. Abundant pool of talent available

2. Pay on a need only basis, no commitment and no additional overheads to maintain payroll or offer additional employment benefits like 401k or PF or whatever depending on your location

3. Flexible rate cards and resources — you can find a wide variety of choice in rates and in resources

Cons

1. Finding long-term freelancers who work as a team and understand the end vision is very difficult — conversely, it’s tough to find long-term clients.

2. Freelancers can decide to stop work on any arbitrary day without any process around knowledge transfer.

3. Working with freelancers in multiple time zones is very challenging causing you to spend valuable time and energy in order to effectively coordinate the team

TIP: As a general note, treat freelancers as your extended team and not as an outsourced machine. Build the trust and show them a future beyond the freelance contract. While working from remote, probably on the other side of the ocean, show that you care!

Option 2 : Hire remote developers from an Agency

Similar to freelancing platforms, there are tons and tons of agencies available. It is important to understand the capabilities of the people who are running the agency. Factors that are important to consider are:

How long the agency is present in the market?
Do they offer the services we need? Are they the experts in those areas?
What is the ideal agency size you are looking for? Make sure you are not a small client for the agency.
Can you verify testimonials from previous clients? Insist on speaking with an old client to understand how the agency handles the client relationships

Pros

1. One stop shop for all your needs; no need to spend time searching for individuals for each technology that you require

2. Increasing or decreasing the size of the remote team is much simpler

3. Retaining team members is very important especially if you are working on a business critical app with lots of functional complexity. Working with an agency, it may be possible to retain key team members beyond your MVP

4. Transitioning from one team member to another or from one agency to another is possible, ensuring no loss of knowledge

5. Focus on your business rather than wasting time solving problems that you don’t need to

Cons

1. Finding the right agency is definitely a challenge, similar to what we have with freelancers

2. Generally, the cost of agencies is higher compared to the cost of freelancers

3. Getting individual attention from the agencies will not be possible like you have it with a freelancer

Choosing the right team members is one of the critical problems that you need to solve as a startup irrespective of whether you handpick your freelancer or choose an agency.

It all boils down to these two critical factors:

If you want to deal with all the people management and have the time and energy to validate the work done, go for freelancers

If you want to delegate this problem as a business and make the money work for you, then definitely go for agencies

 

Regardless of your choice, as long as your product is innovative or solves a problem in the market, preferably both! you will be successful one way or another.

Good luck and hope you enjoy remote working with awesome remote developers and agencies !

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WRITTEN BY

Abinaya G

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