Is your dedicated development team working from home (WFH)? How to adapt
Software, IT and other technology teams are or already have done the same. Lockdown is being imposed in many countries. In some cases this is more stringent, which means only key workers are allowed to work from where they usually would.
To keep software development teams safe, and reduce the spread of this virus, WFH is the only option. Any work that relies on the Internet and computers can, generally speaking, be done from anywhere in the world. If you are wondering, “what will this mean for software projects we’ve got underway, and our future plans?”, we put this article together to answer that question.
Can remote software developers successfully work from home (WFH)?
Firstly, it helps to recognize thatcan be done anywhere. Providing a developer has a laptop and Internet access, this work could be done from a beach in Bali, if traveling like that was safe or recommended at present.
When developing software, there are numerous apps, tools, solutions and servers that need to be accessed. Thankfully, all of these are in the cloud. Even if dedicated software development team has been accessing on-site servers and systems, it isn’t difficult for those to be transitioned into being cloud-based too, which means work won’t be interrupted.
The only appreciable difference is that dedicated teams aren’t physically working together in the same office. However, with real-time tools and apps, that’s less of a concern. Developers are used to communicating using a range of apps, even when in the same office, making this less of an adjustment than in some sectors.
Apps such as Slack, Telegram, Microsoft Teams, and project management tools are already part of most developers tech stacks. Now these are being used more robustly to counteract the loss of in-person chats and meetings. Other tools, such as Zoom, are being used either when a whole team needs to communicate on a group call (when talking things through in real-time is more important).
What this means for project management?
Because this isn’t disrupting how remote software developers communicate, it won’t have any negative impact on how projects are managed either. With some allowances for an immediate dip in productivity, for those not used to working from home – especially those now working around partners and children – its business as usual.
Projects are being managed. Software being developed right now is still underway. Project and account managers are staying in regular contact with clients. Providing there are clear, albeit adapted processes and timescales, software projects are still move forward as planned.
Keeping the lines of communication open between remote software developers, managers, and clients, is essential. Now is the time when everyone needs to be on the same page, especially in projects where there are multiple moving parts. When there are inputs needed, clients need to be open about any adjusted timescales. Likewise, developers and the firms delivering the work need to open in a similar way.
When it comes to managing ongoing projects, clear communication is the most effective way to ensue successful outcomes.
What about long-term plans?
Beyond the completion of immediate projects, companies need look ahead to a post-Corona world. Vaccines are being developed. Some of the cities are regions that first caught the virus are returning to normal. This will take time. It depends on the rate it spreads and what individual countries and regions do to slow the spread.
Business will get back to normal. But as we don’t know when that will be, companies need to think of the best way they can serve customers and work with staff digitally. Have a think about the following:
Are there digital gaps in your customer service and experiences?
Are there new products and services customers would benefit from?
Take a fresh perspective. See what gaps could be filled. New products and services that could be useful, especially if your business relied on a certain amount of face-to-face interactions. For companies with a long-term roadmap for digital transformation and other related projects, many if not all are continuing as planned.
As a species, we are going to be feeling the impact of this for years. Many lessons will be learned, and society will experience numerous changes. One is likely to be the ongoing drive towards automation and digital transformation. If human workloads can be refined, then we can do more productive, added-value work, with software and other systems taking care of simpler more mundane tasks.
For companies with dedicated software development teams, whether in-house or external, this pandemic shouldn’t disrupt anything. Software is still being developed. Projects being managed. New software is being tested and made ready for deployment. Working from home doesn’t change any of that.
Stay safe everyone!