When you are running a business or plan to start one, you always search for a balance between your goals, available resources, and timeline.

You need the best team for your money. However, people you need are often not the people you can easily bring to your office. What do you do?

Try expanding your geography. Hire a remote development team.

One benefit of a custom software development project is that it can be completed remotely.

Anotherd is that project challenges are different. So are team structures. Depending on your requirements, you can choose among the following (or build your own):

  • a remote development team
  • a dedicated team
  • a distributed team
  • an extended team
  • a virtual team

Aren’t they all the same?

Not really. Although terms cross over, they have only one thing in common: none would be working onsite, in your office.

Types of remote development models

The difference lies in team members’ location, team structuring, and project management.

Remote development team is the general term for everyone who does not work directly from head office. It can be one of the company’s teams but located elsewhere, an outsourcing development team, or a team of freelancers living somewhere else in the world.

Depending on geographical distance, this can be an onshore, nearshore or offshore development team.

1) In case of a distributed team, all team members are literally scattered around the world. They meet only online.

2) Virtual team is comprised of members from different teams or departments. They work on the same project, often within the same organization, but report to different managers.

3) Dedicated team acts as a single unit. The team is responsible for one project. Sometimes it works from a different location. But it can also be located at the office of your chosen outsourcing service provider.

4) There is also an option for businesses that already have a development team but seek quick scalability: extended team. This model applies when projects have more scope than a single development team can handle.

Under the extended development model, a business has an in-house development team. It outsources certain activities to a remote development team. Because both teams are responsible for different parts of the same solution (e.g., API maintenance, database, server monitoring, etc.), they communicate regularly.

Below is a table to illustrate these differences:

remote development

Choosing development model

Outsourcing software development helps save overhead costs and/or supplements expertise into a project. However, choosing the wrong cooperation strategy could have dire circumstances.
What kind of team does your project need?

Should you hire a team or a single freelancer?

It depends on:

  • size
  • deadline
  • project timeline (short-term, long-term)
  • managerial strategy

Below are pros and cons associated with different development models. These factors affect the decision for a remote development team the most:

remote development team benefits

How does this work?

Let’s imagine three cases to illustrate the table.

Case oneA startup is a success. It had a big release two months ago. The number of users has kept increasing ever since. The startup wants to release a major feature. However, its small engineering team is bogged down fixing bugs and minor updates.
SuggestionThe startup can opt for an extended team that could help them with the release and reach its short-term goal. When scope remains high, they can hire the same extended team for long-term activities.
Or, knowing that scope of work will not decrease, they can focus on long-term priorities and hire a dedicated team.
In both variants, startups save on hiring, management, and control.
Case twoStartup founder, with outsourcing development background but little-to-no funding, has a big idea. Not having a strict deadline, founder opts to manage the team.
SuggestionIn this case, the startup needs to build a distributed team. A lot of time must be spent managing single tasks and controlling results. This is often a time-consuming activity, but it keeps development costs low. A team is chosen factoring in cultural differences.
Case threeA startup’s idea gets traction. Gets funding. Now, it’s time for an MVP. But they have little experience of custom software development.
SuggestionThe startup needs to invest time into finding a reliable, dedicated team, a team with an established workflow. The startup can focus on long-term strategic planning while the dedicated team is responsible for implementation. The startup saves time on hiring, management, and control on development progress. They spend this time on marketing activities.

Tips on building an effective remote workflow

Is it challenging to manage people who are not working in the same place as you? Yes and no. It’s different.

hire a dedicated teamYou can keep all the same, tried-and-true working methods, work the same business hours, use the same communication tools.
The only difference is that the team is sitting on the other side of the screen, not the other side of the office.

build a distributed teamAny flaws in your workflow become more distinct. If you experienced them in a physical office, you either didn’t notice or solved them by discussing them in person, face to face. Immediate face to face communication is not possible when working remotely.

Hence, you need to invest into your workflow and communication. Below are the main points to help build productive cooperation:

build a distributed teamCompanies vs. freelancersAs above, this depends on scope of work, budget, and deadline. If you have enough scope and budget, we suggest you go with a company. If you do not have much managerial experience, it is also wise to choose a reliable company (this especially goes for offshore software development.) 
Be prepared to spend time on management in both cases.

work as a remote development teamPeople make the differenceWhen you look for a professional, ensure you get the best value you can afford. Do not opt for the cheapest option. Spend some time searching for feedback and testimonials. You need professionals who are known for keeping their promises and getting the job done—on time and within budget.

managing a remote development teamGoals and prioritiesTransparency is key. Ensure your team understands your expectations and you understand theirs. For remote teams and professionals, it is crucial that you articulate all details explicitly—both in writing and when speaking with them. You should check regularly to ensure there is no misunderstanding.

managed remote development teamEstablished workflowAgile doesn’t help if there is no smooth workflow. To establish one, you need regular meetings with your team(s) to ensure you are on the same page. Also, you need online tools. Use of online management systems lets you track all activities and plan scope flexibly. Online collaboration tools you can use include Jira, Figma, Zeplin, Dropbox, Google Drive. They boost communication between team members.

MVP priceKnowledge transferCorrect knowledge transfer is important for in-house teams. But is crucial for remote workflow. Employees can quit at any time and disappear. You need regular updates to your knowledge base ensuring every new team member can start soon with minimum training. 
If you want to keep your secrets safe, ask them to sign an NDA.

Here is the bottom line

Recipe for your success depends on scope of your project, type of your company, and your managerial experience.

You can choose among several options. When you work for a large organization, you can find professionals in the company’s other office(s) and create a virtual team. You can find professionals all over the world and make a distributed team. You can meet an aggressive deadline by adding outsourced expertise to an extended team. Or, you can find a dedicated team for your startup and benefit from technical and managerial competence.

When switching to remote development strategy, you get access to a wider talent pool, rare expertise, and cost effectiveness.

Here are some major benefits of remote development teams.

You can:

  • get the best specialists available for you budget
  • save overhead costs including onboarding, running costs, office rent
  • ensure fast team expansion when your service grows rapidly
  • have flexibility
  • provide 24/7 availability for everyone around the world

Remember: no matter how big your office is, a virtual office is bigger.

Are you looking for a reliable dedicated team? Or, do you want to enrich your current team with missing expertise?
 At IT Craft, you can have both.
Contact us. Together, we will find the best option for your business.