Gone are the days when tech businesses used to work rigidly on-site in a conventional corporate setting. The present-day IT scenario demands flexibility and convenience over what is common and well-known. This factor has given rise to the tremendous popularity of remote development.
However, for IT businesses that have operated with the on-site model since their establishment, it is impossible to merely shift to the remote development model and not face any challenges in the process. Therefore, in this blog, we will be thoroughly discussing the challenges that businesses face when transitioning from on-site development to remote development. We have also discussed various steps and measures such businesses can take for a smooth and seamless transition.
Let’s begin the blog by discussing why businesses are moving from on-site development to remote development and which of the two models is better for creating an IT product.
Remote Development vs. On-site Development: A Billion Dollar Question
In simple terms, remote development is an off-site work approach where tech businesses hire developers to work remotely. These developers can either be a part of the business’s own in-house team or can be acquired from a development outsourcing agency. This is in contrast to the more common on-site development approach, where tech businesses hire developers to work in their offices.
The concept of remote work itself has gained tremendous popularity in the past few years. Speaking in figures, eight out of ten employees are working either completely or partially remotely.
Today, remote development is becoming a common and much-preferred approach among tech startups and enterprises. This is because of the various benefits that remote development offers, like increased productivity, high cost-efficiency, high flexibility, and more.
However, while being extremely beneficial, the process of adjusting to remote development involves numerous challenges. Moving further, we will take a look at these challenges in detail.
Current Challenges in Remote Development
It is essential to understand and acknowledge the challenges that a business can potentially face while moving from on-site development to remote development. This way, you can prepare your business to face and overcome these challenges without compromising on operational efficiency. Here are eight common challenges that businesses working with the remote development model face.
It cannot be denied that exquisite supervision is essential for project efficiency. When working with the on-site model, it is easy for the developers working on the project to receive supervision and help from their supervisors.
However, in the case of remote development, it is challenging for the supervisors to assist their subordinate programmers on the project. To add to that, this lack of supervision also opens doors for developers to resort to malpractices like using AI-based tools for the development process.
This is one of the most prominent challenges in remote development and often requires businesses to invest additionally in technologies like tracking software, further reducing employee satisfaction and increasing infrastructure costs.
Low Performance Tracking
Optimal performance management is important for businesses to determine whether or not the hired developers are working with adequate productivity. This is easy in the case of the on-site model, where every task done by the recruited programmer is easily trackable and manageable.
However, with remote development, it is difficult for businesses to determine whether or not the appointed development team is providing adequate results. This is because remote development makes it challenging to track the performance of remote developers due to various constraints like a lack of performance tracking mediums and limited accountability of the remote developers.
Efficient communication and exquisite coordination are fundamental for successfully developing a digital product. This is because the process of developing an IT product often involves developers coordinating with other teams like UI/UX designers and QA testers to ensure requirement-focused development and guarantee quality assurance.
In the on-site model, it is easy for the developers working on the project to coordinate with other team members, as all the employees are present at the office during work hours. However, achieving similar results with the remote development approach is highly challenging and often comes with compromised communication efficiency.
There are numerous cases where the developers working on the requirements misunderstand the project’s specifications due to poor communication infrastructure, resulting in deviations between product demands and solutions.
Diluted Employee Integrity
Integrity and uprightness are crucial for every team working on the project. This is because developers are exposed to various sensitive information about the project that forms a critical part of the company’s intellectual property.
In terms of on-site development, it is easy to maintain the integrity of such IP by taking a few control measures. However, in the case of remote development, it is challenging for businesses to ensure that their intellectual property’s integrity is being maintained.
This is primarily because the developers have all the codebases and other sensitive information at their discretion and on their devices with remote work. To add to that, many remote developers also take on freelance projects and work on them simultaneously, further reducing their integrity towards the primary project.
Inadequate Employee Training
Learning and development forms a vital part of every employee’s career development. By providing adequate training to its employees, a business can not only contribute to job satisfaction but also benefit from their upgraded skills and improved productivity.
Conducting training sessions is a seamless task for businesses working with the on-site development model. Such businesses often use approaches like visual learning and group discussions to train their employees on the latest innovations and trends.
However, achieving similar results is challenging in remote development as the only common medium to train employees is group meetings. Moreover, if a business is to integrate innovative learning strategies with the remote model, it will have to invest additionally in creating solutions that facilitate such concepts, which is often unfeasible for most businesses.
Businesses often choose remote development as a mode of cutting down on the infrastructure costs which are otherwise required in on-site development. While it is true that on-site developers have various high-end infrastructure requirements, remote development can turn out to be equally, if not more, capital-intensive in certain cases.
This is because, many times, businesses have to provide additional facilities to remote developers to ensure smooth and hurdle-free development throughout the project. In certain cases, providing such facilities to each member of the development team individually can turn out to be more capital-intensive than on-site development.
Reduced Quality of Work
Earlier, we discussed how lack of supervision and compromised performance tracking can hamper the overall efficiency of the development process. Let us tell you that apart from these factors, there are many other aspects that can tremendously contribute to reduced quality of work, especially in remote settings.
Simply put, working on a project remotely comes at the expense of various distractions that employees face in non-office settings. While this might not be the case with all the employees, it is still a prevalent problem that many businesses resorting to off-site development have faced.
This is especially common among developers who are not used to working in such settings and strictly require a dedicated office space to deliver the desired quality of work.
High Chances of Burnout
Studies conducted on remote employees have shown over and over again that when working remotely, employees tend to overwork themself and stretch their working hours beyond the regular office timings.
While this factor might be beneficial for the organization hiring the employees, it can lead to great problems in the future, like employee burnout. In cases of burnout, not only will an employee lose their motivation, but they will be unable to deliver the desired results, further reducing productivity.
This also comes with various other psychological effects that burnout can have on employees. We recommend you consider this factor and others seriously before moving to the remote development model.
These were the common challenges that businesses face when moving to remote development for their project. Moving further, we will take a look at some time-tested tips and strategies that can help you seamlessly shift from the on-site development model to the remote development model.
6 Tips to Flawlessly Integrate Remote Development
In the previous section, we discussed the top challenges that tech businesses face while developing a digital product remotely. However, let us tell you that these challenges are not absolute and do not necessarily mean that remote development is an unfit approach.
There are certain steps and measures you can take to seamlessly overcome these challenges and leverage the benefits of remote development. Without any delay, let’s take a look at what are steps are in detail.
Establish Communication Protocols
Efficient, clear, and transparent communication forms the foundation for each project’s success. This is particularly important in the case of remote development, where the entire efficiency of the development relies upon communication.
Therefore, it is safe to say that without having a robust communication strategy in action, it is challenging for businesses to fully benefit from remote development.
We highly recommend you clearly lay down communication protocols and put into action best-in-class communication strategies to get the best results from remote development.
This includes holding Scrum meetings and going for an agile development approach. Here, the entire project is broken down into smaller milestones, and the entire development team is required to communicate and coordinate after the completion of each milestone.
Additionally, you can further enrich communication by using different communication channels and modes. This will ensure seamless and hurdle-free communication and contribute to exquisite development efficiency.
Start with the Hybrid Model
Businesses that are transitioning from the on-site development model to the remote development model are often left wondering whether or not the remote development plan will work for their organization.
It is true that in many cases, tech companies find remote development to be an unsuitable model for their requirements. However, this is only after putting the model into action and testing it on their organization. Of course, this requires the developers to frequently shift between on-site and off-site work.
Our recommendation is to not shift directly from the on-site development model to the off-site development model altogether. You must start with the hybrid model, which is a mix of on-site and off-site development.
This approach will enable you to seamlessly determine which of the two models is a better fit for your organization and will enable you to seamlessly transition from one model to the other.
Clearly Define Availability Hours
Avoiding developers from overworking on the project and ensuring a proper work-life balance is essential to achieving development efficiency. You can achieve this objective by clearly defining and coordinating availability hours with the developers.
This way, the developers will know when they are to be contacted and can flexibly work on the project at their convenience. This is a time-tested approach to aiding productivity, avoiding burnout, and improving efficiency among remote developers.
Use Remote Work Management Software
There is a plethora of tools and software available in the market especially curated to nurture hurdle-free management of remote work. A few of the most common tools used by businesses operating with the remote work model are activity-tracking software, video conferencing software, and remote communication tools, among others.
By using these tools, you will be able to effortlessly manage the remote development team’s activity. However, this might lead to a sense of distrust among the employees and can cause repercussions. Therefore, you must give serious consideration to this recommendation before implementing it in your business.
Provide Adequate Infrastructure
We understand that most of the problems that tech businesses, as well as developers, face with the remote development model can be largely avoided by providing the development team with an optimal infrastructure.
This includes a world-class tech infrastructure and tools that enrich the developer’s skills, contribute towards their growth, and aid development efficiency. While it is true that doing so will require you to invest additionally, let us tell you that this investment is worth it in the long run.
Focus on Employee Engagement
It is important for tech businesses operating with the remote development model to focus on employee engagement, as this is the only way to keep the development team engaged in the organization.
Doing so will enable you to promote teamwork, improve collaboration, and boost employee satisfaction. These factors directly contribute to improved development efficiency and, in the end, are beneficial for your organization.
These were a few ways in which you can seamlessly transition from on-site development to remote development.
The increasing popularity and exquisite potential of remote development make it an excellent option for tech businesses. By following this approach, these businesses can not only develop a digital product efficiently but also benefit in various other aspects.
However, it cannot be denied that remote development comes with its own challenges and limitations that every business considering the option must thoroughly look into. By carefully analyzing the common challenges mentioned in this blog and considering the given solutions, you will be able to optimally leverage remote development and implement a world-class strategy for your business.