Introduction

Unable to match the salary offered by GICs and largely funded unicorns, a majority of the startups, product companies, and even IT behemoths are struggling to retain tech talent. 

The result, a higher voluntary attrition rate despite revising salaries and offering incentives. 

This means a shortage of tech talent or digitally skilled manpower. 

Remote working and getting their work developed by a remote team is the ray of hope pulling such organizations out of this tech talent crunch.

Working with remote product development teams is not just a trend or the ‘future of work’. It is the present and persistent reality. The working of any modern workplace, especially in unprecedented times like the present. 

Before the pandemic of 2020, people were having hushed discussions around questions like-

  • Is being physically together, in an office,  essential to work better?
  • Can they not produce the required outcomes by working remotely?
  • Wouldn't it be great if they would work from home?
  • How about working with a location-agnostic team or distributed teams to build products?

The pandemic-induced lockdowns worldwide put an end to all such questions. It proved organizations can survive and thrive with remote working

There was no persistent need for workers to be co-located or be in physical proximity within four walls to work. Individual workers, teams, departments, and entire industries like IT survived and even realized that they can deliver similar or better outcomes when working remotely. 

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A study even instated that big tech companies would come out stronger on the other side of the pandemic. Another State of Remote Working 2021 report by Buffer even stated that 73% of companies they surveyed are working in multiple time zones; leveraging the flexible working and getting 24x7 development. 

This benefited several organizations, especially those looking to build digital products. Being intangible assets, they require no physical location for manufacturing. They need bytes of space on the cloud or the web and can be easily built virtually through teams scattered across the world. 

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Remote product development rapidly gained traction and product companies, entrepreneurs, enterprises, and other SMEs realized the unending benefits that the remote way of getting their digital product out could bring with it.  

If you also have a product idea and you want to nurture it into a full-fledged product that excels on all your expected parameters (quality, budget, performance, time, etc.), bringing together a product development team is indispensable. And with talent scattered across the globe, remote product development is the perfect solution to supercharge your digital product

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However, there is no single way to undertake a remote product development initiative. You can choose any of the following models to build your remote product:

The product is yours and so is the choice. But before making the choice to build a product with remote teams, let’s look further into what remote product development is. 

What Is Remote Product Development?

In layman's terms, remote product development is the process of getting your product developed someplace outside your company’s physical location. 

With remote product development, you outsource your new product and get it done by expert professionals sitting in remote locations. We can always imagine a product development team to be surrounded by sticky notes, indulging in regular whiteboard sessions discussing the product roadmap, and giving presentations to the stakeholders. But it’s not necessary that the setting be your own company’s conference room!

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It could be the office of a company you have outsourced your product’s development (with you present on a video conference) or a video conference of all the team members working from different locations. Digital tools and technologies have made it possible for product owners to get their products developed by the greatest minds sitting oceans apart. And this new approach to remote product development has various benefits. Read on to learn more.

Why Remote Product Development?

We all have heard about getting a product developed from a developer, full product development team, or a product development company in some other region. Most people getting remote product development are:

  • An entrepreneur with limited funding, looking for product developers, or an ultra-powerful product team
  • A product company that is looking to upgrade its existing product and infuse it with the latest technologies. 
  • An enterprise planning to digitize the operations and offerings with a digital product quickly.
  • Or any other business looking to expand to the international market and in need of a product development company in the region to better understand the culture & market. 
  • A startup looking for a technical co-founder or a technology partner to help with the technical aspects of the product. 

Remote product development can offer exceptional advantages and help you gain a competitive edge in the market. Each organization gets its own set of advantages but the bottom line is- remote product development is becoming the current reality.

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However, when it comes to managing remote teams, there are some challenges that might hinder your journey. And one of them is building and managing remote teams. 

So, let's talk further about it. 

Managing Remote Product Team

We know that remote product development can have various benefits. But the question is how do you find the right team that could work on your product. With an in-house team, you can meet them in person and analyze whether they’d fit your company, its work culture, and other things. But when you are gathering a remote team for product development, this might be a challenge. 

So, how do you find a remote development team that would stick with your project to deliver the desired results? 

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Let’s find out. 

1. Adopt A Holistic Approach to Interviews

When hiring a remote team for your product development, you cannot be satisfied with the simple searching, screening, shortlisting, and interview process. You need to adopt a holistic approach. First things first, you need to define the scope of your product development project and the jobs that the project development team would handle. This would help you know what you actually need. 

Once that is done, you need to prepare your interview questions and that needs a holistic approach when the hiring is being made for a remote team. While it is important that you test their qualifications, expertise, technical skills, and familiarity with the development tools, there are many other things that you need to test in your remote product development team. There are many tips on hiring remote teams and having a holistic approach to interviews is one of them. 

  • Check for their communication skills and how well they are able to explain their work experience. 

  • See if they have prior experience of working remotely and independently.

  • Analyze the engagement model. This should be in sync with the level of involvement you seek to have. 

  • Check out their methodology of working.

The best way to work remotely on product development is to work in an agile manner so that your product can be developed in required sprints without any glitch. 

2. Assign A Test Project

Hiring developers based on the content they’ve poured out on their resume is becoming old-school. You need to see how they work on real projects and tackle challenges in the work environment to assess them thoroughly. 

And there is no better way to test the expertise of any product developer than by getting them to work on a project for you. But as that can’t be possible before the actual hiring, you can assign them a test project. 

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You can spare some time to create a small and quick test project that would have challenges similar to the project they might have to work on later. This would not just tell you about their innovative thing but also let you know how well they are with following instructions, understanding the process, resonating with the goal, finding solutions, and working remotely/independently. 

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This way, you can also know how much collaboration would be required and if they would be able to tackle your product development work independently or not.  

3. Check-out The Soft Skills

The next step to building your remote development team is to check-out their soft skills. Everyone looks for the core coding skills of the developers but when you are hiring remote developers, you need to pay heed to their soft skills as well. It is important that you check out the following skills:

  • Communication is the key and they should be able to express themselves confidently and clearly. Whether it is for written communication or video conferencing with you, make sure they are able to express themselves in case of any issue. 

  • The next is empathy as it enables the remote developers to be able to understand what you are trying to tell them and what you expect from them. They should be able to see things from your perspective as well. 

  • It is important for your remote developers to be adaptable. Only that way can they have the willingness to learn new technologies and make your product even more successful. 

Also Read: What Startups Should Know About Outsourcing Product Development

4. Learn About Flexibility of Remote Team

You should be able to know how easy it would be for you to add new developers or replace an existing one or remove a developer as per your product’s requirement or scaling. Scaling and pricing flexibility is one thing you should keep in mind. Another flexibility is time zone flexibility- if they have a working schedule that works for you and overlaps at least a slight bit with your working hours.

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Once you have built your remote product development team, the next step is to manage them efficiently throughout the development process. Keeping in mind the tips above will enable you to build a dream team but also manage them efficiently.  

Managing Remote Product Development Teams

There is a lot of information out there about remote products. Many organizations are now moving forward with this approach to build and launch their products. However, not everyone is sure about how to manage or handle the process when getting a remote product. Here are some things that you need to know about managing remote products. 

#1. The Importance Of A Remote Product Roadmap

When it comes to managing remote product teams, a product roadmap acts as an essential source of truth. It does not just enable the product managers to build their product as per the plans but also ensures that the remote teams are on the right track. There is a lot that you need to know about product roadmap if you want to succeed with remote product development. The first thing is about what goes into an ideal product roadmap. 

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Whether you are creating a sprint plan, a Kanban board, or any other type of product roadmap, there are some essentials that are to be included in the product roadmap. Here is a list of the same:

  • Vision /Strategy: A product roadmap is required to give clarity on the product vision. In addition to that, it should highlight the strategy that one is using or planning to implement along with the product or project goals. 

  • Target Audience: The next thing to be included in the product roadmap is the target audience. One needs to know who their target audience is and even have buyer personas ready to be included in the product roadmap. 

  • Roadmap Format: The next thing to be included in the roadmap is the formatting. One should have a clear format for the roadmap with themes. You can format the roadmap based on the objective timeline, release timeline, features timeline, strategy, portfolio, or theme to get clarity on the same. 

  • Roadmap Tools: There are several tools included during any remote product development. All of these tools should be included in the roadmap. Whether they are using collaboration tools, the tools for creating a roadmap, or communication tools, everything should be listed there. 

  • Product Manager: The next thing to be included in any remote product development and its roadmap is the product manager. Any organization must assign a product manager who handles the development part and also ensures that everything goes as planned. 

  • Product Feature/Functionality: The next thing to be added to the roadmap are the product features or functionalities. You can simply share a detailed view and description of the features and functionalities so that the remote team members know what to take up next. 

  • Metrics: The next important thing to be added to the product roadmap is the metric. The remote team should also be aware of the metrics on which their work would be analyzed. This would give them a clear idea of how to work and what their KPIs would be. 

Why Do You Need A Product Roadmap?

Product roadmap holds immense importance in any product development, especially when it is being done by a remote team. But why do you need a product roadmap when you can simply collaborate with your team to build the product?

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Let’s find out. 

  • Track Progress

    The first benefit of having a product roadmap is that it allows you to track the progress of the remote teams. The product roadmap has everything that you need to track what the teams are doing and if they are at the right place. Be it tasks, milestones, or any other task-level work, a roadmap would help you track its progress.  

  • Assess Task Timelines & Milestones Information

    A major setback for most remote product development teams is the inefficient access to information regarding the timelines, goals, milestones, etc. A product roadmap allows remote product developers as well as the product owner to have any type of information they might need at one place without having to go to different people. 

  • Prioritize Task-Level Work

    With a product roadmap in place, the product manager, as well as the remote teams, know exactly what’s on their plate next. Moreover, one can update the timelines and prioritize task-level work. They can know what to take up first based on the priorities set in the roadmap. 

  • Avoid Conflicts In Goals

    There can be a lot of confusion in tasks assigned to remote teams, especially if you have a distributed team sitting across different locations. There can be conflicts in goals and confusion around the same. A roadmap categorizes tasks and assigns goals to each team and member. This helps avoid any type of conflict in teams regarding their respective goals.

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  • Provide A Single Source Of Truth

    Different team members might require access to different information about the strategy, tasks, and other things in the development process. A product roadmap consists of all the information that one might need, acting as a single source of truth for all the members. 

  • Introduce Agility In Project

    The next benefit that comes with product development is that it lets you introduce agility into the product development methodology. It enables the teams to become agile and work in a sprint-based approach without forcing the product managers to micromanage the teams. 

Having a product roadmap is essential for any successful remote product development or managing the team. This not only keeps the teams on track but also makes it easier for the product owner or manager to track progress. 

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However, just having a product roadmap isn’t enough to successfully manage your remote development. There are some other things that will help you manage your remote teams seamlessly. 

#2. The Need For Transparency

Distance with the development team has the potential to create miscommunication, misalignment, and misunderstandings. This is why it is imperative that everyone from the product manager to the developers have a clear picture of each step and progress in the development process. 

Transparency is at the crux of any successful remote product development and its management. You not only need to have proper tools in place but also need to encourage collaboration to boost transparency. 

Everyone should be on the same page and know what all went into the planning, consideration, and even development of the product. Igloo’s 2020 State of the Digital Workplace report states that nearly 60% of remote workers complain about missing out on important information as it was communicated between two people. This makes communication to be lost in a bubble and might even lead to scope creep.

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Here are some quick tips that will help you imbibe transparency with the remote teams:

  • Ensure Transparency In Workflows: Make sure that your workflows are well-audited and you know each step, each link in the process. This will help you map your workflow first. Now, you need to know the operation or tasks handled by each process participant and make it clear to everyone. Make sure you have already highlighted the parts of the workflow where information might get lost and have already optimized that. 

  • Inculcate Transparency As Culture & Value: When you are working with a remote team, there can be clashes in terms of the values and culture they follow. However, you can make sure that transparency is a value that both your internal as well as remote team is possessing. 

  • Communicate: Leave No Scope For Assumptions: There can be no limit to how much you communicate with remote teams. The distance can heighten gaps and lead to assumptions in processes. It is imperative that you communicate each thing. 

  • Share Problems & Solutions: Never come to a remote team with a problem alone unless you want their insights on something. Make sure you always approach remote teams with a vague solution to any problem. 

  • Share Daily Work Reports: Another great way to ensure there is transparency in your remote development process is to encourage them to share daily and weekly reports. This will not only help you keep a track of what everyone is doing but also boost transparency. 

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  • Explain The Process: Before initiating any remote product development, make sure that you have explained the complete process to the team, what workflow you are following, and if there are any bottlenecks that they might face. 

  • Share Approved & Disapproved Plan: There is a great need for product owners to not only share the features they are planning for the foreseeable future but also make sure that you share plans that did not get approved and why. 

These are some of the common ways in which you can boost transparency among your remote teams. These tips can help you ensure the remote development team is on the same page as you. This would promote visibility in the development when remote teams are involved and prevent any hiccups in the process. 

#3. Promote Regular Meetings

Now that we have talked about transparency and product roadmap in remote product development, it is time we talk about regular virtual meetings with the teams.Another great way to improve management with your remote product development team is to promote regular meetings. This not only adds transparency in the process but also makes sure that everyone is on the same page in the development process. 

Here are some of the important meetings that one should have with remote teams without fail. 

  • Product Pitch Meeting

    The meeting starts with a product pitch meeting. This is where the product owner discusses the pitch of their product with the remote team. Before the project kicks off, this product pitch meeting will help the team and the stakeholders understand the product better. You should also share your estimates, requirements, and other things with the remote product team. 

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  • Roadmap Updates

    While roadmap updates should be recorded and updated in real-time to the product roadmap, it is also essential to hold meetings for the same. Holding meetings with remote developers would help them understand their roles and responsibilities around the product. 

  • Product Demo

    Another type of meeting that takes place in remote product development is the product demo. This could be at the start of any project when you share a demo of your MVP or initial version of the product to the remote team. Another demo meeting is when the remote project manager and lead devs hold meetings to discuss the progress and show a demo of how far they’ve reached with the development work. 

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  • Weekly Check-ins

    Whether it is at the start of the week or the end of a week, weekly check-ins should also be practiced when working with remote teams. One can debrief on what’s on their plate or what they finished in the past week. This will bring everyone together on the same tab and inform them of what the others are doing and where to go if they get stuck somewhere. 

  • Daily Scrums

    When working with the remote product development team, holding daily scrums can help you make up for the physical distance. These would ensure that everyone’s on the same page and any issue arising in the development can be easily resolved without any backlog. 

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Despite knowing how to build and manage remote teams, there are a number of challenges that product companies, entrepreneurs, and others undertaking this method face. Let's discuss about some of those challenges along with solutions.  

Remote Development Challenges

When you are thinking about getting remote product development, there are many challenges and opportunities that you might face. In this section, we will throw light on some of the challenges you might face when working with a remote team for your product development work. So, let’s dive into knowing the challenges of remote working and how to tackle them.

1. Improper Understanding Of Product Vision

The first issue that most of the companies face when they start with remote product development is understanding of product vision. Onsite teams are more likely to cultivate empathy towards your product and understand the product vision. On the contrary, remote teams might only get to know the surface of the development task without a proper understanding of what you actually wish to achieve with the product.

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Solution: Share your initial views and ideas of the product you have in mind with each team member. Set-up monthly or weekly roadmap reviews with the complete remote team to ensure they are in sync with the product progress. They know where they are headed with the product and can even offer their inputs.

2. No In-Person Meet 

Many companies feel- how can they work with a team they haven’t met in person? There is a feeling of doubt that success would be a far fetched dream if they haven’t met their developers and other members of the development team. 

How will we share the requirements? How will we know how they are working? How will we share our feedback? These are just a few questions that product owners have when they are advised to hire remote developers for product development. 

Without meeting personally, there can be a gap in communication. The remote developers might face issues with virtual/digital communication- frozen screen, microphone not working, slow internet, and much more. Thus, loss of meeting agenda and a frustrated remote team. 

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Solution: It is important you ensure that your product team has the right set of digital tools to communicate seamlessly. The stakeholders should also ensure stable internet connectivity, tools, and other digital channels beforehand. Choose one platform where all the remote team members can come together. Apart from having regular team meetings and discussions, also ensure you are getting to know each member individually. This would bring you closer and eliminate the challenge. 3

3. Barrier In Knowledge Transfer

There are moments of isolation and disconnect that remote team members might feel when they aren’t in close contact with you. They might have some idea or you might want to convey some important things but not be available at that time. 

Silos might be formed that might lead to missing out on information about the product. Transferring or sharing knowledge might also pose a challenge while managing remote product development. Their creative eureka moments might pass and the great idea might fade away. 

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Solution: It is important to hold meetings with the team members regularly and foster an environment of sharing and collaboration. Use cloud environments and Google drive to share documents. You can even have repositories to put in permanent stuff on Basecamp where each member can access it.

4. Obstacles In Collaboration 

A very common challenge in remote product development is around collaboration with each other. They might feel some gap in communication that the communication they do is fragmented. It is very important to have platforms and digital tools that can avoid this problem. Especially when you are bringing together a remote team with your in-house team, the collaboration of the two might be challenging. 

Solution: We have already provided a solution to this problem- use extremely nice collaboration tools. BaseCamp and Jira for project management, Slack for communication, and much more.

5. Time Management

Whether it is about having an overlap time when you can actually work with the remote team or ensuring they are making the most of the available time, managing time can be a big challenge in remote working. Your remote team members might even find it difficult to manage time and might get overworked on different occasions to meet deadlines. It is important to manage time but this is too challenging. 

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Solution: When you are choosing a remote product development team, you should be sure about their time-zone flexibility. The best way to do is to find a product development company that can be within a difference of 8-9 hours from your time zone. This will give you at least some time to meet and discuss things. Also, encourage your teams to manage time and unplug at the end of the day to avoid getting overworked.

These are some of the common challenges that one might face when going for remote product development. However, if you follow the solutions that we have listed with each, you can easily overcome these challenges. And that's not all. There are various benefits of remote product development and some tips that can help you succeed with it.

Check them out in the next chapter. 

Success Tips

Getting your product developed remotely comes with a number of benefits. With companies struggling to retain talent despite revising compensation and providing incentives, getting remote development seems like a viable option.

Remote development empowers entrepreneurs to get the development by experts without expanding their budget.  Even product companies can get the development of complex products or hand over client products to be developed by external teams. This would enable them to focus on core business or bigger projects at hand.   

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If you still have doubts, here are some reasons why most companies are opting for remote product development and so should you. 

  • Expanded Capacity & Capability: There may be some types of projects that require rapid staff scaling but for short-term assignments. You can either get end-to-end product development or hire developers for some hours to work on your product. Either way, you are getting specialists for your project who can instantly enhance your capabilities. You have the full capacity of the developer or designer for that particular time which infuses your product with better ideas and expertise. 

  • Multidisciplinary Perspective: Getting outside intel on your product can help you improve your product’s outcome. Whether it is a simple product idea or a complex project, remote development offers a new perspective on your product. Even fitting a remote developer with your office team can bring a fresh perspective. They can come up with some out-of-the-box ideas that might turn your product into a successful venture. All you need to do is have an open approach and embrace the ideas with an open mind. 

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  • Shorter Time To Market: From conceptualization and ideation to development and launch, a single outsourcing partner can take care of end-to-end needs for speedy development. It eliminates the need to set up different teams for your product as a single outsourcing company can handle all the tasks. They bring technical expertise, IT infrastructure, software, hardware, and other things with them to kickstart product development. This ensures faster development of your product and a faster time to market to entice the target audience.  

  • Capitalize On Latest Tech: Another great benefit you get when you opt for remote product development is access to the latest technology stack. We know how important technology selection is for product development and with a remote team, you can make sure to never compromise on the technology. You have the entire world at your disposal and you can choose the remote developers from any corner while ensuring their grasp on the disruptive tech.

  • Controlled Cost: By outsourcing product development, you can always manage your development cost more efficiently. You can set the project cost in the contract beforehand and ensure that the resources are allocated accordingly.

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    Accounting for the spent on resources with an in-house team could be difficult but with remote teams, you can have better control of the expenses. Whether it is the opportunity cost, fixed cost, or variable cost, getting a product developed by remote teams can help you control the finance allocation.

These are some of the reasons why startups, product companies, entrepreneurs, and enterprises are opting to work with remote teams or remote developers to build their products.

Success Tips For Remote Product Development

When it comes to remote product development, there is not much effort that you need to put in to succeed. Just some basic tips and you will see wonderful results. In this section, you will find some simple yet effective tips that can help you succeed with remote product development. 

1. Document Everything

Documentation is the key to having a smooth and frictionless remote development process. It is imperative that you document everything. Whether it is to keep the focus of your product development team intact or to ensure all tasks are prioritized in the right manner for the success of the product development, documentation is everything. With a document in place, your development team would know if it’s going in the right direction or not. 

Here are the things to include:

  • Defined requirements 

  • Means of communication 

  • Knowledge transfer for all the information

  • The timeline along with the sprints

  • Expectations from each deliverable

2. Have A Visual Outline

Product development is a long and complex process with a number of steps and each step having different tasks. If you are working with an in-house team, it is very simple to get to them with any change and get real-time implementation. However, if you are working with a remote team, this is not so easy. 

But worry not! There is a simple way to get to the work done. And that is by taking the visual route. 

You are always recommended to have a visual outline of product development. You can start by jotting down a visual outline of all the components that are to be built for your product development along with the capabilities, problems they’ll solve, and their connection with each other.

Make changes in the outline with each new component added or finished development. This is an essential diagram that will keep the product life cycle intact and the team aligned with it even after all the iterations. A video of the same can be even more effective in explaining the requirements seamlessly. 

3. Divide Development Into Sprints

There is no simpler way to tell it than being very truthful- agile is the best way for remote product development. It ensures that your product is developed in sprints so that you have a particular work that is completed in a given set of time. Once you’ve accepted that, then only does the work move further. Otherwise, the remote team can work on many implementations. 

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This ensures that you get the desired product in the end which is developed with your full collaboration and feedback instead of getting a surprise package at the end. 

When your development is broken down into smaller sprints, each deliverable attains more value and your overall product turns out to be great. 

4. Create Detailed Specs

Details are very crucial when you are working with remote teams. You cannot simply miss out on anything. No detail could be too much. Make sure that everything you want in your outsourcing contract with each detail specifically mentioned. Leave no room for assumptions. Mention all the things you might want, even if it seems too obvious. 

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5. Open Up To Constructive Criticism

While criticizing everything the remote developer can discourage them, constructive criticism can act as a motivational booster for the remote teams. You should allow your teammates to be able to open up about anything they feel can be changed so that they appreciate when you are opening about any feature developed. 

Make sure that you do not give baseless opinions and unreasonably criticize their development. This may distance the remote team further from your product. However, giving them your opinions with valid reasons in a rather friendly manner can ensure that you get the best product the remote team could develop. 

6. Establish Clear Protocols

It is easy to walk up to your developer and ask them to change certain things in the development process when they are working in your proximity and within your time zone. But when you have a team working in a remote location and in a different or flexible time zone, establishing clear protocols in the very beginning can be super helpful. 

Some remote team members might have worked in a different environment while others might’ve had a hierarchical structure in the past, you need to be clear as to how you want them to work with your product.

  • Let them know each other, the people they should contact in case of any suggestion or problem, and how they can collaborate with each other seamlessly.
  • Let them know about when you need deliverables, what type of reporting you expect, and how often you would meet for discussions, and much more upfront to avoid any confusion. 

Establishing such clear protocols can add to the transparency in the working and help you add transparency in the entire process.  

7. Cultivate Product Excitement

Not your customers but it should be the product development team that should buy the idea of your product first to make it successful. And working with remote teams means this is even more important. 

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You need to ensure that your remote product development team feels connected with the product. They should be excited about what the product is bound to offer. They can be given some survey results or even be encouraged to attend some conferences with your target audience so they can share the excitement for your product. 

 

8. Set Realistic Expectations 

The next thing you need to know in order to make your remote product development a successful endeavor is the expectations you put. One of the reasons why outsourcing initiatives fail is because they set unrealistic expectations that are hard to achieve. You need to understand your product and its requirements before setting goals. 

Give the team some time to breathe. Even though they are not working under your direct watch, trust them, and do not bombard them with unrealistic goals for each day, week, months, or sprints. Also, be clear in stating your expectations and this is the part where most of the product owners fail when working with remote product development teams. 

9. Choose Right Tools For Collaboration

When it comes to remote working, there is no better way to collaborate than leveraging the right tools. The world is becoming a global village and it is the digital tools and technologies that are bringing everyone together. You can also feel in close contact with your remote development team with the help of some great remote working tools.

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Here are some tools you can use:

  • Jira & Basecamp for project management & collaboration

  • Zoho for onboarding and other HR activities

  • Slack for communication, document sharing, and instant messaging

  • Google Drive for keeping everything at one place

  • GitHub for bringing developers together for code creation and reviews

  • Trello for organizing teamwork in a visual manner

  • Zoom for virtual meetings and daily standups

  • WebWork Tracker or TimeDoctor for monitoring the productivity of the employees 

10. Encourage Independence

For all remote teams, it is extremely important that you encourage independence among the members.

Let them work in their own space and showcase their talent in their realm. 

Independent working is one of the core skills you look for in a remote development team and it is as indispensable to let them wave their magic independently. While you would want them to work as a team, make sure to not stifle their individual creativity. This would make them feel more satisfied with their work and deliver better results. 

Getting Started

Now that you know why remote product development is the way to go and how you can find the ideal remote team, let’s get to the main picture. 

How to get started with remote product development!

Remote development is not rocket science. The process is very similar to a product development taking place in your own office; just the setting is remote. 

However, there can be two different approaches you take for remote product development. These are:

  • End-to-end Product Development 
  • Onboarding Into Existing Project

So, let’s talk about both these approaches individually to offer you a guided approach to building your next product remotely. 

End To End Product Development

The first step is when you are starting out from the scratch. You have a product idea in mind and are looking to get an end-to-end product development. In such a case, you join hands with a software outsourcing company and get the complete product managed. Here is a gist of the complete development approach that follows when you hand over your product for complete development from the scratch. 

 

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#Step 1

Ideation & Analysis

The first step to any product development is to understand the product idea and analyze them before kick-starting the project. Once you have discussed the product idea with your remote team, they brainstorm together to club expertise. The product owner, developers, QA teams, UI/UX experts, technology experts, and other members of the team come together to generate fresh ideas and add innovation to the product. 

01-Ideation-&-Analysis

You can get some out-of-the-box ideas for your product that can increase the innovation potential of your product. Set up virtual meets and have them pass on all the ideas on a virtual sharing board to brainstorm better. 

#Step 2

Market Research

The entire remote product team also analyzes the market demand, the competition, and the latest trends in the market to make your product more market-fit. It also allows the identification of opportunities and to think differently about the product to foster creativity and innovation. An astute product development team would start with establishing the needs of your product in the target market and finding new opportunities. It can tell you what new features can be added to your product as per the needs of your buyer personas.

02-Market-Research 

The proper market research gives validation to your ideas through the feedback from the target audience. It helps you gain an edge over the competitors with your latest product development. 

#Step 3

Creating A Product Roadmap

The next step in your product development is the creation of a roadmap. This tells the strategic direction in which the product development work would flow. This would tell everything from the reason you are building the product to what you wish to accomplish and how it would help others. This is more like a visual summary for your product development process. It will help you stay on track with the process, which might get overwhelming at times. 

03-Creating-A-Product-RoadMap

The remote product development team would create a roadmap with the stories, themes, epics, features, and timelines, and other important things. It could have the planned, in-progress, and completed section along with work assigned for each member in different colors to stay clear. Reference image

#Step 4

Selecting the Best Technology Stack

The next step taken by any remote product development team is to select the best technology. With so many new technologies, frameworks, and versions of existing technologies rolling out each day, it might be overwhelming for you to find which one would be right for the kind of product you have in mind. There are different things that the team assesses to find the right technology. 

04-Selecting-the-Best-Technology-Stack

  • They go through the product requirements, features, and implementations that might be needed

  • Cost of the developer for that technology

  • Time to find technology resource 

#Step 5

MVP Development 

Instead of exhausting your entire budget and resources on a product without affirmation from the customers, you can get product-market validation from a prototype. An MVP or minimum viable product is the bare mining of your product with the core features that are required for it to tell your business model. Many startups like Uber, Airbnb, Spotify, Facebook, etc., get their MVP developed first and these rise to become market dominants.

05-MVP-Development 

With an MVP or product prototype, you get to launch a product faster with much less of the budget and test it on the early adopters. As per their insights and feedback, you can implement newer changes as you scale or pivot your business model to suit the market requirements better. It lets you experiment better with the product and move on with a product that has market validation.

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#Step 6

Final Product Development

This is the step when your product prototype gets developed into a full-fledged product that is ready to engage, delight, and sell. 

The remote team dedicatedly works on the prototype, adds new features, integrates it with the latest functionalities, and makes it more user-friendly. The UI-UX teams, programmers, project managers, technical writers, and other architects and engineers come together to build your remote product that lives up to your expectations. It is imperative that the team implements agile product development practice to deliver a product that has undergone multiple iterations as per the sprints.

06-Final-Product-Development

Whatever new feature is to be added to the product, APIs are to be added, everything is done in this phase. There are different sprints involved in the product development. Each sprint has different goals and objectives which need to be completed by the end of the time period (usually 2 weeks). This development phase calls for collaboration with the remote product development team on a daily basis or after each sprint (as per the level of involvement you want). 

Not just iterations as per your feedback, the product is also tested rigorously by the QA and testing engineers of the remote product development team to ensure quality and performance. 

#Step 7

Delivery & Promotions

Many people feel that the hard work is all over once you have developed the product. But the truth is far from this thought. You cannot expect a product to succeed until it is not properly launched and marketed among your target audience. Whether you have created a product for your internal operations or will target an external user base for it, the right form of delivery is what makes the product a success. 

07-Delivery-&-Promotions

You can either get your marketing & sales stakeholders in collaboration with the remote product development team or handle this work also to some remote marketers. Many companies even offer the marketing team to promote your product even before it is launched. This gives you a stronger start as these teams can align together to know about your product and market it better and more effectively. 

Onboarding Onto An Existing Project

Now, there are many companies that have already started with their product development. However, in the middle of their project, they need a team of experts to complete the development. It could be either to scale the product, develop full-fledged product from MVP,  or any other requirement. Joining hands with an outsourcing product development company can help you skyrocket your product and build a successful product faster. 

#Step 1

Define What What You Want

The first step to getting your product developed from an outsourcing product development company is to discuss around the product. You need to define what you really want from the remote team before jumping the bandwagon. Everyone should be on the same page once the development starts or everything could turn haphazard. 

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  • Have a clearly defined scope
  • Brief them about the business objectives
  • Clearly tell them the requirements
  • Share the expected outcome from the project

It is important to have a clearly defined scope so that both the parties are clear about the services. Have a written proposal and get a clear outsourcing contract formed to avoid any miscommunication. You can go through your product development roadmap and state them the step you are on so that transferring the project to the outsourcing vendor.  

#Step 2

Knowledge Transfer

 The company you join hands with needs to get accustomed to your project and the progress it has made so far. Knowledge transfer is an important step when you are onboarding a new team for your product development. Define the people who would transfer the knowledge and receive the knowledge. The existing CTO, project manager, or scrum master might be required to transfer the knowledge of the project.   

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  • You could have done some research around the product or even have an MVP up and running in the market. Let them know everything around the research you have done or the data that you have collected.

  • Some important things to share would be Deployment guidelines, workflow for software development, tools, techniques, roadmap, user stories, test cases, and all other things.

  • There could be technical documents, you might need to hold QA sessions, live demos of the existing MVP, or even need one-on-one meetings. 

#Step 3

Project Continuation

The first two steps are the most important when you are onboarding a remote product development company for your product. Once you have defined your expectations clearly and have transferred the knowledge with the team, you can get the product development work started.  

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They can take over the product development from where you have defined in the roadmap and help you take your idea to fruition. Sprints can be created and the development work can initiate. 

You can expect the remote development company to bring expertise to the table and put in their best foot front to transform your idea into a full-fledged product.  Product delivery, launch, promotion, and marketing would follow similar to the steps stated above in end-to-end product development. 

Once the product is successfully launched, the remote product development team also maps the user behavior and collects feedback from the user so that the development team could continue to improve the product and add new features as your users expect.

Finding Partner

We have reached the most crucial part of this remote product development guide. This will help you identify the right partner for building your product remotely. Once you have chosen to get remote product development, it is imperative that you look for the idea product development or software development partner to build the same. 

This company would take care of all your product needs like:

  •  End-to-end remote product development
  • Filling technology gaps with tech experts
  • Offering dedicated product development teams
  • Taking on an existing product development project 

But the crux of it all lies in finding the right partner for your product. So, how do you find one? 

evaluating software development partner

Here are some things that you can check in order to ensure you have found the right company. This includes their tech stack, team capacity, history, track record, support, size, types of products, and much more. So, let's discuss those.

  • Company Size & Team Capacity 

    The first thing that anyone needs to know about the company that they are planning to partner with for their upcoming remote product partnership is the company's size and their team capacity. This will help you understand if they have the required members to build your remote product or team for product development. Make sure to know how many techies they have onboard before signing any contract. 

  • Technology Stack

    The next important thing to check is their technology stack. Know if they are only working on legacy technologies or also incorporating the new digital tech. You need to see what frameworks and libraries they have experts in and the new technologies that they can infuse your project with. This becomes imperative when you want specific tech in your project or want to plug a technology gap. 

    software development frameworks

  • Track Record

    You need to know that the company you join hands with has worked with similar product companies and satisfied them with its services. Check for the success stories, reviews, testimonials, references, etc., to see their track record. You can also ask for their client retention rate and the repeat businesses that they are getting. This will show if clients are satisfied with their business or dissatisfied. 

  • Product/Project History & Portfolio

    The next important thing to keep in mind when choosing a software partner for your remote product development is their project history or the product portfolio. This will help you analyze the type of products they have worked on before. Their experience can not just make the process smoother but also faster. A company that has worked on similar products would know the processes, scalability issues, and has a team to build the same. 

  • Maintenance & Support

    The company that you choose for your remote product development should also offer maintenance and support for the product after development. Check for reviews where clients have mentioned ongoing support after product launch and how satisfied they are.  

  • Project Delivery Process

    The next is the process that the company undertakes. This is where you should talk more about the company's development process and its project management. You can know more about the same by discussing the project scope, what their engagement is, the time, cost, and other estimations, reporting, and other things. 

  • Development Methodologies 

    It is essential that your product development methodologies match the development methodologies of the company that you partner with. Any discrepancy in the same might lead to severe confusion, missed deadlines, unmet expectations, and much more. Whether you follow the waterfall, agile software development, Kanban, or any other working methodology, make sure it is aligned with the vendor company.   

    Process-Practices

These are some of the pointers to check before you choose to partner with a remote product development company. Checking all these things can help you not just find the right partner but also ensure transparency while choosing to outsource. 

Choose Classic Informatics

Remote working has become the new norm and companies are looking for remote partners to fulfill their product development requirements.

Classic Informatics is a digital agency and a global web development company that has delivered products for startups, enterprises, SMEs, and product companies across industries like healthcare, government, travel, sports, fintech, and much more. We have the expertise of product developers and the experience of project managers working in an agile manner to deliver par excellence products that are loved by our clients. Many organizations outsource product development to us to get a fully functional product within a stipulated time. 

We can be your remote product development partners! You can get end-to-end product development from us, hire single developer or designer for your product or build your own dream team for the product, including developers, designers, project managers, testers, technical writers, etc.

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Written by Swati Sharma

Swati Sharma, a writer by day and an avid reader by night, works with Classic Informatics, a leading web development company in India. Owing to her passion for her profession, she loves to stay updated about the current & emerging trends in the IT industry.