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Tips for Working with Remote Programmers

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When it comes to working with remote developers and programmers, many people are skeptical that they can get what they need from someone who isn’t in the same building as them, let alone the same time zone. Even with the amount of outsourcing that goes into business and technology companies these days, some people are still weary of leaving work to someone they can’t see. As companies continue to evolve and take on more remote workers, there are a number of things that can help make the process easier and more effective overall.

When companies decide to outsource any aspect of their business, they need to get everyone on board, including people in-house and the remote programmers you want to hire. If you have thought about working with remote programmers, or other remote workers in the past and have put it off for fear of not getting what you want, here are some tips to help you get started and get on your way to creating better work, faster.

Meet with your team first

Before you hire any remote workers, including remote programmers, you should meet with your in-house development team to see how they feel about coordinating with a programmer that is not on-site. This level of transparency can go a long way in getting everyone on board with the direction that your company is moving, and will help your existing development team feel like they are part of the growth process, instead of feeling like you just gave their work away to someone else.

It’s important to talk about the value of outsourcing with your in-house team, so that they understand the role of it in your organization. What’s more, they might even have some ideas about how to make the transition smoother, and things to avoid. So including your entire development team, and anyone else who will come into contact with your remote workers, is a great idea and a great way to kick off a remote working relationship without any issues.

Don’t worry about what you don’t know

There’s a reason are you looking to hire a remote worker: maybe it’s because your in-house team is too busy; maybe it’s because your in-house team doesn’t have the skills you need to complete a development project; maybe it’s just because you want to try something new in your company. Whatever the reason is for hiring a remote developer, one piece of advice we can give you is to not worry about the things you don’t know. After all, if you were able to solve your own problems, you wouldn’t be hiring out a remote worker position. You want this person to solve these problems for you, so why waste another minute of your time trying to solve a problem your remote worker can solve. That’s the beauty of outsourcing.

When it comes to working with remote developers, you wouldn’t believe the skill level and talent that is out there. Whatever you need and can imagine, remote developers can do as good a job, if not better in some cases, than your in-house team because of the experiences and exposure they have gotten from all over the world. When you work with a remote developer for a Ruby on Rails project, for example, this gives you tremendous control over your development projects, and it makes it easy for your remote developer to execute on your ideas. Once you are able to tell a remote developer what you need, they can take the reins from there.

Make a wish list

So how do you know what you need? Well, the easiest way to even come close to building the product of your dreams, is to start dreaming. What is it that you want in a remote developer? What do you need them to accomplish? The more you can tell a remote developer about your wishes, the easier their job will be. This is where you want to get your in-house development team involved as much as possible, so the hiring of a remote developer feels like an extension of their department, rather than a replacement or take over.

Trust goes a long way

Of course, it is also easy to get sidetracked worrying about whether or not your remote programmer can actually meet your needs, and you might be tempted to keep a close eye on them. But the truth is that remote developers and programmers are highly skilled at managing their workloads, and once you all agree on what is needed and determine delivery timelines, you should expect to receive that work, in working order, as indicated and agreed upon.

If you are working on a Ruby on Rails project, you want to know that your remote programmer has enough skill and talent to bring your project to life, but you also want to know that they are invested in your project as much as you are. Open and frank discussions about expectations will be the key to success when working with a remote developer, or even a remote development team.

Communication makes the world go round

Hiring any kind of employee can be stressful and time consuming, but it is even more difficult if you aren’t sold on working with a remote employee. When you take the time to communicate with your remote employees, say through daily or weekly meetings, everyone can feel more at ease about the progress that is being made, any issues that arise, and future planning that can move projects forward as well.

Clear communication is especially important when working with remote programmers, so writing a functional specification document can help prevent misunderstandings and ensure that the project is completed successfully.

Be sure to maintain communication with your existing development team, and set aside time to talk to them about their concerns or ideas related to the project as well. Keeping everyone in the loop ensures success in the long run.

Timelines and expectations

If you have ever had a bad experience working with a remote programmer, you know it can be hard to get back in the saddle and try again. The truth is that the majority of remote programmers are great at what they do, but sometimes the project doesn’t get delivered as expected because of a lack of communication or expectation. The easiest way to make a remote development job fail is to assume your developer can read your mind. If you want your job to be successful, you need to provide as much information as possible. And if you find that you are not satisfied with the work that is being done, you need to speak up about that too.

Red flags to watch for when hiring a remote developer

A couple of things to watch out for when you are hiring a remote developer: someone who can start right now is probably not worth hiring because good developers are busy and have to schedule in work as they go. A developer that wants to take a lot of liberties with your project is another red flag to watch out for; while it is great for remote developers to suggest changes or make recommendations, you are ultimately in charge of what happens with your project. If you have a hard time reaching your remote developer, or if you have to wait days to hear back from them about a change order, you might consider finding another developer who can dedicate their time to your project.

Consider the scope of your project as well when hiring a remote developer. While it’s great to give people a chance, when money is involved, you want to know that you are getting what you paid for. Always ask for some kind of reference or portfolio of work that has been completed to make sure the remote worker is a good fit for your expectations, company, and project. Remote developers who won’t participate in team meetings, or who insist on working on their own schedule can be another pain point for those who want to hire them. Remote workers are part of the overall team, and should participate in activities so they can contribute to the overall success of the team.

Finally, get everything in writing. If your remote programmer or development team won’t sign a contract, don’t work with them. You want to know that your investment is going to pay off in product you can use, and a contract is the best way to set expectations and timelines so that everyone gets what they want, on time, and on budget.

Hire the Ruby on Rails Experts at Nopio

If you think you can hire a freelancer or remote programmer on some virtual hiring platform to build your project, you’d be right. You can absolutely do that. But if you want to work with a dedicated and experienced Ruby on Rails team, then you need to work with the experts at Nopio. Don’t confuse expertise in a programming language with time spent programming. In other words, just because a developer is skilled in one programming language, doesn’t mean they are skilled in all of them. Why work with a faceless freelancer who owes you nothing and could disappear from the face of the earth? Nopio isn’t going anywhere. We’ve perfected our coding craft so we can help you perfect your tech projects. With years of experience, we are a team of remote programmers you can trust, call upon, and rely on to get your tech project up and running.

About the author

John Packham

John Packham
Having grown up in a family-owned business, and now working as the Content Director for Karrass – a company specializing in negotiation training for businesses – John is grateful for the many opportunities he’s had to share his passion for business and writing.

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