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Putting Virtual Teams to Work: Company vs. Remote Server Environment

We have already dealt with concerns about virtual teams and suggested how getting access to a world-class talent pool allows building efficient IT systems and products, reduce costs, and ultimately boost profits. You might now be asking yourself:

“Is my company server environment adequate to work with software developers remotely?”

The answer to this question largely depends on your needs and desired level of involvement as a client, and whether you are looking to extend your internal development team with remote workers on an ongoing basis, or rather expect to provide instructions to get a project done while focusing on other priorities. Let’s take a look under which context should your company likely consider its server environment over a remote one.

Company Server EnvironmentRemote Server Environment
NeedsTeamwork with existing developersProject-based work
Interaction Client – Remote Developers Client tightly manages the project and remote developers almost become employeesClient works in cooperation with remote developers without actively managing them
  • Client has more control
  • Remote team is exclusive to client
  • Client focuses on other priorities
  • Client relies on external expertise
  • Client can benefit from the remote infrastructure
Using team tools
  • In-person meetings/trainings
  • Videoconferencing
  • Enterprise email address
  • Instant messaging
  • Team collaboration workspaces
  • Videoconferencing
  • Instant messaging
  • Team collaboration workspaces

“Using your company environment makes sense if remote workers must be tightly managed.”

Case Study #1: Large corporation partnering with software development provider

Luke is head of software at a large multinational and is currently leading the development of a new product feature to be released within the next three months. Luke needs additional staff to meet his deadline and to keep improving the product, fixing bugs and deploying new versions. After struggling to hire developers with sufficient expertise locally, he convinced his company to bring remote workers on board by advocating the advantages of virtual team building.

The project is developed using the company’s server, and it will remain so once the remote staff joins. Luke needs to be in the driving seat and will tightly manage this new team. In fact, his intention is to treat them the same as regular employees. Remote developers will be given access to all team communication tools such as file repositories, and will have an enterprise email address and instant messaging account set up to ensure a seamless integration with everyone else. They will also join the weekly company meetings via video conferencing.

“Consider a remote environment if you do not need to be involved in the day-to-day development or lack expertise in the area.”

Case Study #2: Small company focusing on core services by outsourcing sofware development

Sally is the CTO of a geospatial startup that recently secured venture capital funds. With that money, the concept will be moving from initial prototyping to the first market release. Sally decided to break down the products into two interdependent chunks and focus her time on the piece she knows best. However, she is lacking technical expertise for the second part and hired a virtual team to take care of it.

That part of the project will start from scratch, and Sally prefers not to host it on the startup’s server due to the lack of bandwidth infrastructure. Her intention is not to be involved in the day-to-day work, and she thus favors that the remote team handles the development on their local server.

Sally will obviously supervise the project. In fact, she provided a very detailed set of instructions about features and coding languages and scheduled a monthly video conference call to monitor progress.

Whether you are still weighing the benefits of hiring external developers or already considering what is the best environment to work with them, Intetics can help you with all critical decisions at every step of the way. We have mastered the recipe for remote insourcing with ingredients that include trust, expertise, openness to feedback, communicating effectively with the right team tools, and dedication to end-results.

For more information about working with distributed teams, download this white paper.

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