We’ve been working with/managing remote teams for the past 3 years at 40 Foot, which came with a lot of hands-on experience on how to make all our engagements as smooth as possible. Summarising main pain points under two sections: Different time zones and Communication.
Working with different time zones could be a bit challenging. The first step towards fixing that problem was to make sure that our clients are well aware of the difficulty and work together to make it work smoothly and also even turning it into an advantage.
When starting an engagement with a new client, we make sure our remote team overlaps for the maximum number of hours during the ramp-up period. During this time we start off with doing multiple video calls with the on-shore team where the business is explained clearly and also multiple technical sessions to walk the remote team through the solution and help a fast environment setup. After the above is done, we then agree on a reasonable time, for standup and other agile meetings, that is sustainable for both teams on the different time zones. One example is having twice a week a standup meeting in addition to daily asynchronous slack standup updates.
Now talking about taking advantage of the time zone difference. Let’s take an example of a client having a product used by people in the United States but their main development team is in New Zealand, having a team working in different time zones could be used potentially to have round the clock support.
Communication is considered a main factor that determines the success or failure of working with a remote team. We understand and that is why our 40 Foot interview process does not only focus on finding the best of the best technically, but also we make sure all our hires are fluent in English. After hiring a new off-shore talent to our team, we make sure to do a cultural on-boarding to get our team to understand the kiwi culture for a “sweet as” experience for both our team and our clients.