Coding together but staying apart: a guide to adapting the software development process

software developing process

For most of the software developers, remote work is nothing new. Most of them have done it in the last years and are used to working from the comfort of their homes.

What has changed due to the Coronavirus lockdown is the fact that the entire software development organization is working remotely. It’s not just one person or one team that works remotely but everybody who works at home these days! And now, you have to work remotely for the foreseeable future, not just a day here and there. This brings a series of changes in the dynamic of the teams and the software development process. A new environment for everyone influences the software development model.

Here are some tips for adapting your software development process to remote work in the Coronavirus reality:

1. Keep the teams together

Managing a team remotely can be challenging even for an experienced team leader or manager. Having in mind that all the physical communication options like meetings, whiteboard sessions or presentations are gone, you will need to change the way how you communicate with your team.

It’s true that technology is helping us to stay close to our team, especially when we work from home. We have E-mails, Teams, Zoom, Skype, and other tools that help us stay in touch. But staying in touch and staying together are two different things. As a team leader or manager, you need to make sure that you choose the right communication channels to keep your team informed, productive but also close.

Allow time in your video meetings for informal communication or connect with your team through informal messaging. This helps you maintain good and close contact even in a remote environment, so that no one feels isolated.

You can have a video call in the morning and check up with your team while drinking your coffee or tea. This will be a great opportunity to start your day together as a team even if you are miles apart.

2. Collaboration not just communication

There is a big difference between communication and collaboration, especially when it comes to remote software development work. As a team leader or manager, you need to spread knowledge effectively but also have to make sure that all your team members are working towards the same goal.

Remote working eliminates many of the little interactive scenarios in which team members can discuss ideas and clarify details. Having a clear flow of information across the whole team is important. Structures and processes need to be put in place to ensure the smooth handover of information between team members.

3. Ask for and accept feedback

Software development teams need to think of their new remote work environment in terms of collaboration as much as communication. Feedback plays a very important role in this context.

Ask for feedback from your team members and be open to new ideas. As a team, you need to be on the same page in order to be productive and produce the results.

4. Use online tools

There are so many online tools that can help you stay on track. Use chats, project management tools, Google docs, and calendars to make sure you keep track of your personal work but also your team’s work.

5. Use agile methodologies

The value of agile methodology is bigger than ever and software development companies have used it for quite some time now. Usually, agile teams were meant to work together in close proximity to the most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team. But that is not the case these days.

Virtual whiteboards, instant chat, and videoconferencing tools can help your team in sustaining an agile culture, and recalibrating some processes to support agile objectives can also foster the overall idea of agile while working remotely.

The internet has shaped agile development and it seems that the Coronavirus outbreak will shape the way we work remotely. Companies need employees who are motivated to do their work whether or not they’re getting regular supervision, with strong bonds between team members reinforced through regular communication and collaboration. With the right processes and tools, it can be as smooth as working with a team that sits in one room.

We live in interesting times. Don’t just go with the flow, take part in creating the “new normal” way to work, and deliver great projects.

Happy coding!

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