Manage-Remote-Software-Team

Top Tips for Managing a Remote Software Development Team

Every corporation, no matter how profitable, always seeks to cut down on operational costs. One of the most effective ways to reach this goal is outsourcing—the practice of seeking external support for non-primary business functions, so it can focus on its core goals, all while saving time and money. 

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The trend of hiring remote employees is a modern business strategy that combines low-cost software development and experts. A poll by Gallup shows that 37% of the respondents said they have dabbled in some form of remote work. Big tech companies like Skype, MYSQL, SeatGeek, and Opera have all employed outsourcing in one way or another.

Whether you choose to get support from a third-party located in your main office’s country (onshore), a neighboring country (nearshore), or an entirely different region (offshore), learning how to properly manage a remote software team is crucial to your project’s success.

 

Managing Remote Software Teams Effectively

  1. Hire the right people and train if necessary

When recruiting your remote staff, the process should be of the same quality as when you’re hiring for the main office. Naturally, you’d want to work with an experienced software team who have the right mindset and attitude and are prepared to work in multinational environments. Experience in remote work is helpful but should not be a necessity.

You’ll have to communicate with your remote developers on a regular basis, so your questions should just be the same as the ones you’d ask any on-site worker. The next logical step is to train them, as it mitigates their shortcomings and weak spots while fostering positive traits. With adequate training, you can also compensate for the cultural differences, most notably communication concerns.

 

  1. Define work procedures

Clearly lay out project guidelines for productivity, teamwork, and accountability to your employees. Explain the project, describe the goals in detail, and review the requirements to make sure you have all the functionality you need. Your remote team can work faster and give a more precise quote if you clearly state the vision of your project.

Your outsourced partner may be highly-experienced with businesses in your industry but remember that they’ve never worked with you before. Focusing on training and orientation remote teams during the onboarding process will reduce the risk of potentially costly mistakes in the long run.

 

  1. Schedule communications to stay on the same page

Working across potentially different time zones is a challenge, so you should strictly maintain scheduled meetings to help all offices align and organize every team’s workflow. When you fail to conduct regular consultations and meetings, there can be gaps in communication, causing delays.

A good practice is to hold regular meetings with your remote team (weekly or monthly). These catch-up sessions can be used to ensure everyone is aligned on priorities, facilitate brainstorming sessions, and educate partners on new projects or products.

 

  1. Utilize collaboration tools and test it regularly

Outsourcing employees are nowadays made easier with reliable collaboration tools like Slack, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. These programs are essential as they can help structure your teams’ work and contribute to productivity. There are also tools available for instant messaging, email, file sharing, project management, productivity, among others. Don’t forget to test their functionalities to figure out the tool that best fits your organizational structure and workflow.

 

  1. Share and work on feedback

Give immediate and extensive feedback on every iteration and sprint, so your remote team knows what to work on. Of course, be prepared to hear the team’s feedback as well. Have a quick chat every now and then to know their perspective on things. A few good questions like what could go wrong with the project, what you could do differently, and if they have all the tools to complete the work should be enough to maintain a clear direction for the partnership.

 

  1. Continuous integration

Continuous integration refers to keeping the source code of the program in a continuously “working state”. Continuous integration is more helpful when teams are in different locations with different working hours as it can help in efficiency and productivity. When teams can’t always communicate in an ad hoc way to diagnose problems, it builds discipline and maintains efficiency.

 

  1. Be prepared with a NDA

The nature of a developer’s work involves a lot of proprietary code, algorithms, and other confidential information. At some point during the project, they may also gain access to your client database, core platform, and the company’s proprietary algorithms. You should always ask them to sign a non-disclosure agreement before getting started for the safety of your sensitive information.

 

  1. Have a face-to-face from time to time

Traveling to your remote staff’s location to meet them helps you personally settle their concerns without being pressed for time. You can also consider flying your remote workers in for a short training opportunity at headquarters. This allows you to establish personal connections and inspire them with your passion and vision for the project. It’s a good investment for long-term productivity.

 

  1. Forget micromanagement

Micromanaging your employees is never an efficient policy; more so when you’re managing outsourced workers. You may especially find it hard if you have a background in software development. So, instead of solving issues with the programming, work on communicating the project goals and concerns.

 

  1. Learn the social aspect of software development

Your team must learn how to rely on your outsourcing partner’s accountability as individuals, and to build trust at an organizational level. Help create an online community with them that aims to share knowledge, and fosters collective code ownership, a culture of learning and accountability, and interaction among team members.

Don’t let projects become siloed. Support your team as they find the most effective way to meet their objectives.

 

Conclusion

With all the advantages you can enjoy from hiring a remote team for your software development, it’s easy to overlook the challenges you may also face. That’s why it’s important to discover for yourself if it’s something critical to your business and if you have the resources to pull it off.

More than having the right management strategies, clear communication with the group especially in terms of objectives and deadlines, proper tools and resources to effectively work on the project, and being flexible with their expert perspectives are some of the considerations you should have before hiring a remote software team.

 

To find out how the seasoned experts at Intelligent Bee can help with your business’ software needs, contact us today!


Easiest-Programming-Language

Which Programming Language is the Easiest to Learn?

When you hear the word coding, what comes to mind?

Easiest-Programming-Language

It’s not surprising to hear the answers like “intimidating,” “difficult,” or even “boring.” Even though there are learning communities and an increasing number of resources online, the topic isn’t exactly easy to digest on your own. Add the fact that people say you need to put in a lot of hours, or else you’ll never get the hang of it. Truth be told, it really is like learning a whole new language.

Despite these odds, software engineering is proving to become more popular and relevant today. We’re living in a tech-filled world where companies are constantly creating programs and systems that make our lives easier. The number of self-taught expert developers is rising—69% of programmers in a Stack Overflow survey revealed that they learned how to code on their own.

So, if you’re interested in learning to code, you might be wondering what’s the best foundational coding language to start with. Below are some of the easiest programming languages you can learn and what you can build with it.

 

7 of the Easiest Programming Languages to Learn

 

  1. HTML

Ease of Use: 5/5

13.3% of programmers agree that HTML is the most straightforward programming language to learn if you’re starting (13% may not seem like a huge number but let’s keep in mind that it’s really difficult to get programmers to agree on things). HTML is the backbone language of most modern web pages across any browser, making the knowledge of this program highly relevant in any field. With HTML, it’s easy to view the source code of other web pages. You can use this in conjunction with other languages as well.

 

  1. Python

Ease of Use: 4/5

Python is widely praised for its high readability and simple syntax, with 9% of programmers voting this as the second easiest language to learn after HTML. It’s one of the most widely-used high-level programming languages and has a lot of tutorials published online for self-study. Learning Python is a great stepping stone for learning other object-oriented languages. With this coding language, you can automate and mine data, and do cool things like create a calculator or build a blockchain.

 

  1. C++

Ease of Use: 4/5

Many programmers love C++. Those with less than ten years of experience rate it as the second language they’re most comfortable using, right after HTML. It’s used to code desktop applications, especially those that are performance-intensive. In fact, Microsoft, Oracle, PayPal, and Adobe are written using C++. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that knowledge of this coding language remains in high demand. Some of the things you can create with this are games, operating systems, and desktop programs.

 

  1. JavaScript

Ease of Use: 3.5/5

JavaScript is an open source code that combines C, C++, and Java. According to a survey from WP Engine, 5.4% programmers think that JavaScript allows them to be the most creative with their projects. 5% also agree that it’s versatile language to write in, which is good for increased functionality and compatibility of the code. JavaScript is one of the most popular frameworks, perfect for interactive web components. You can build websites, web apps, presentations, server applications, web servers, games, and smartwatch apps with JavaScript.

 

  1. Ruby

Ease of Use: 3.5/5

At its core, Ruby was designed to be user-friendly—their tagline even reads “a programmer’s best friend.” They have a framework called Ruby on Rails which supports this language fabulously. The ease of use of the script and structure together makes it a natural choice for creating mobile and desktop apps, web apps, database work, web servers, and more.

 

  1. PHP

Ease of Use: 3/5

PHP is an all-purpose scripting language that can be embedded in HTML. According to the TIOBE Index, it’s one of the top 10 most popular programming languages worldwide. However, compared to other languages, the trend for skill in this language seems to be declining. That said, it doesn’t mean that learning PHP is a bad choice, as you can use it for web development, desktop applications rich in graphics, command line scripting, and server-side scripting.

 

  1. Java

Ease of Use: 3/5

Java is a class-based, object-oriented coding language, which makes it capable of creating feature-rich programs. It was designed to be portable, meaning you can find it on various platforms, operating systems, and gadgets. It has an extensive toolset and active editors in its online learning community, who help learners with their questions or coding errors.

Knowledge of Java opens a lot of doors to employment. You can write web apps, develop games, automate cloud computing tasks, develop smart gadgets and incorporate IoT tech in your creations.

 

Final Thoughts

The demand for computer programmers will likely continue to increase over the years. To build interest for the current and future generations, we must strive to create better learning programs and encourage those who show interest in the subject matter.

Learning how to code is never going to be a walk in the park, but with the right tools, learning community, and mentor, it’s definitely not out of reach!

 

Don't have time to learn how to code? Contact Intelligent Bee for all your software development needs!


Software-Deployment-Checklist--Banner

Software Deployment Checklist for Businesses

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Every business wants their new app or software, whether in its first iteration or the form of an update, to launch successfully. In this day and age, many users expect polished, hi-tech platforms accessible at their fingertips. Sorting out all the kinks and bugs on your new software is critical in ensuring all systems and their usability are optimized and performing well.

Overall, software or web deployment covers installation, configuration, running, testing, and tweaking systems in your product. You want to make sure that nothing less than the best is getting released to the public. It may sound like a daunting task, but with this checklist, you can make sure that you’ll have all your bases covered.

Software deployment testing can be done both in a test environment before deployment or in the live environment after deployment. For this article, we’ll go with live environment testing after deployment.

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Understanding the Deployment Process

 

  • Close the loop between development and operations

Having your development and operations departments on the same page of your deployment schedule is best for everyone in the team. There should be transparency and responsibility to inform both sides about infrastructure changes, timing, and release strategy.

 

  • Develop a rollback plan

If the live version of your software encounters too many problems, it’s wise to have a rollback plan. Revert it to the previous state and ensure that the rollback has no issues, either. Sometimes, this can cause more problems than patch up a problematic software release.

 

  • Notify stakeholders of the release

This is an easily overlooked part of the planning process that can make a huge difference when it comes to successful adoption of the software. Something as simple as informing users and stakeholders about the schedule can save a significant amount of time and prevent unnecessary confusion.

 

  • Develop and finalize your release strategy

The deployment comes in different kinds, so align with your team about which type you want to execute for your software. Will you roll it out completely or by batches? Does it require a reinstall for your users or will the update take effect online? Go for the right kind of operations that matches the nature of your software.

 

  • Keep changes to a minimum

As you near deployment, you should be able to lock all systems in place. If you plan on making any changes, make sure you inform your team and keep them to a minimum. Any alterations should not be significant enough to delay the timeline unless you plan on pushing it back. It’s always better to be sure and prepared.

 

  • Utilize automation tools

Wherever you can remove human error, do so. Automation tools now exist to make deployment possible in a few clicks of a button. This can speed up repetitive tasks and allow you to control how much you want to deploy rather than all at once. Automation is also essential in your rollback strategy—if you automate that process as well, there’s no need for you to redo or lose a lot of changes on your code.

 

  • Consider a continuous deployment process

Continuous deployment, part of the continuous improvement mindset, involves deploying new software updates automatically when developers make a change (it assumes that there will always be bugs in the production version). The upside of incremental rollouts is that they’re systematically quicker and easier to rollback than full-releases. But of course, there are additional costs involved with the high demand for quality assurance testing.

 

  • Keep a close eye for bugs or crashes

Even though deployment is fully automated nowadays, errors can still occur. Standby during the deployment proper and get ready to dive in to fix your codes or scripts should it be needed. This is where your rollback plan can potentially come in handy.

 

  • Test all critical areas of your software

Make sure all systems are greenlit and working as they should. Do several tests such as functionality testing, user experience testing, performance testing, compatibility testing, and security testing, to name a few. These tests will allow you to gather statistical and analytical data on how well your software is performing.

 

  • Systematically report all bugs and errors

Proper categorization of errors makes prioritizing and testing a lot simpler. The most urgent fixes should be first deployed in the test environment for regression testing before being deployed in the live environment. Repeat this testing cycle for all as you move forward in the deployment process.

 

  • Set up performance metrics

How will you know if your deployment was a success? You can create your KPIs for the software surface level, such as page load times and server CPU usage. Or, you can drill down further and come up with custom KPIs. These can measure the efficiency and effectiveness of every aspect of your DevOps’ toolchain.

 

  • Keep an eye on error logs

How are your logs doing? Take note of the volume and make sure that it hasn’t changed drastically. It’s generally bad news if logs stop or if the number drastically increases. Check the records of any new features you’re testing out as well and identify a baseline of when you need to step in if you start receiving error logs.

 

  • Use an error-tracking program

It’s always a good idea to utilize a bug-tracking software like Bugzilla or Airbrake to manage contextual information about the errors your software encounters. Not only will these tools make you quicker to respond to potential issues, you’ll also get a much better idea of the software’s overall health.

 

Flexible Software Deployment

In this day and age, software deployment needs to be flexible and agile. Here’s how you can do that:

  • Having a software deployment checklist can help you get your business in order. If you’re prepared for any scenario, you’ll be able to think on your feet faster.
  • Have the necessary deployment tools in your arsenal so you can automate all the critical parts of your software development and deployment.
  • Keep observing KPIs to detect any problems, should there be any. Be sure to trace the source so you can avoid the same issues from arising next time.
  • Never release an update without a rollback strategy. Sometimes, the best way to fix software issues is to revert to the previous version, so don’t forget to backup.

The best case you can hope for during software deployment is to let it run itself without having to worry too much. With preparedness and having the right tools to support your processes, you can be sure that your next deployment will always go smoother than the last.

 

Conclusion

The success of a software deployment doesn’t just rely on the performance, scalability, and excellent user experience of your software—it should also be able to reflect in your business success goals. If your number of users, conversations, and usage are increasing, that means that the new software has made a significant impact on your business operations as well.

Software development is a meticulous process. If you choose to seek external support, be sure to avoid common mistakes when outsourcing software development. The more careful you execute this, the more it will save you from future headaches on possible bugs, crashes, or any other failures you don’t want your software to have.


How-Mobile-Apps-Help-Grow-Businesses

10 Ways Mobile Apps Help Grow Businesses

How often do you browse Amazon listings via their mobile app or place an order through the McDonalds app? As the digital era goes mobile, companies get into the groove of building their own mobile apps that enable customers to stay connected and get things done with just a few taps on their devices.

How-Mobile-Apps-Help-Grow-Businesses

Your business doesn’t have to be as big as Starbucks or Nike for apps to be considered valuable to your growth. If your company has yet to start milking the flow of opportunities that mobile offers, then there’s no time to waste. A look at the following mobile device usage statistics show how mobile app development can benefit your business:

  • 80% of smartphone users are more inclined to purchase from companies with mobile apps or sites that help them answer their inquiries quickly. (Google)
  • 90% of users’ time on their mobile phones is spent on apps. (Flurry)
  • Smartphone users are more likely to purchase from brands whose mobile apps or sites tailor information to their location. (Google)
  • Compared to mobile sites, customers view 4.2x more products per session on apps. (JMango360)

 

Questions to Ask Before Building a Business App

The temptation is reasonable. But before you take the plunge, it’s helpful to check if your vision aligns with your mobile app’s purpose. Here are a few questions to ask before you push through with your mobile app development.

  • Do your competitors have apps? What features do they have?
  • How will it help your customers? What problems will the app solve?
  • Do you want to enhance the experience of your existing customers or bring new ones in?
  • Will you offer a customer loyalty program?
  • Will it simplify processes for your internal team or your customers?

If you have solid answers to all these, then it’s time to start building your mobile app!

 

How Mobile Apps Can Support Your Business

 

  1. Boost brand image

Mobile apps provide awareness through branded communication with consumers. Without one, your brand might come across as outdated. As with distributing stickers or calendars with your brand image, your logo and brand name are constantly plastered on your customers’ device home screens. Your customer’s regular interaction with your app also fosters trust, which conditions them to commit to your brand.

 

  1. Enhance customer service

Customer service and support has evolved from person-to-person interactions to digital channels. Having the ability to access your products and services 24/7 without having to wait for regular business hours is a great advantage for customers. Plus, points for your brand if your app includes a messaging feature where they can reach you directly without leaving the app.

 

  1. Personalized marketing channel

Mobile apps offer various ways where you can diversify personalized marketing campaigns, such as push notifications. You can use them to advertise new products, discounts, special events, promotions, and much more. You can also use it to remind existing customers how long they haven’t shopped with you or when their waitlisted item gets restocked.

 

  1. Make consumers feel more valued

Business is all about give and take. As much as you want to increase your sales, you also want to show how much you value your customers. One way to encourage more conversions is through a loyalty program built into the app.

The more frequent they avail of your products or service, the more points they get, which they can use to claim rewards—exclusive to app subscribers. Seeing how many points they’ve earned and what rewards are on offer without going to your website will entice them to follow through then and there.  

 

  1. Get on that word-of-mouth marketing

One of the most powerful effects of the mobile age is its strong facilitation of word-of-mouth marketing. You can feature a referral program within the app and reward customers who share the app or your content to a friend.

 

  1. Quick access to data anytime, anywhere

With every mobile app comes an array of data analytics features. Like a website, you’ll have access to all the behavioral and transactional data collected by your mobile app. This information can help your brand build insights on your target audience and improve future campaigns.

 

  1. Better productivity

With automation lifting a heavy weight off employees’ shoulders, they can focus on more on their primary function: providing a great product/service. Corporate apps can make jobs more convenient and help produce more quality work. The use of a cloud service can additionally help make decision-making faster and more efficient.

 

  1. Automation of processes

One of the primary reasons why businesses are jumping on enterprise mobility is because of automation. Being able to automate and streamline various tasks with minimal human intervention can save you precious time at work and reduce the risk of error.

 

Summing it up

We live in a fast-paced digital era, and it’s never been more obvious that smartphones and mobile apps have marked their territory in people’s lives. It’s up to businesses to adapt if they want to ride the trends and embrace this digital transformation, which is an excellent way to connect with customers, improve branding, or scale business processes more efficiently.

 

You don’t have to be a tech company to have a mobile app. Every brand deserves to have its own “big idea” when it comes to mobile apps. So, what’s yours?