Best Practices

Strategies for Remote Engineering Teams

Remote collaboration is here to stay. Your remote engineering teams can adapt to the new reality without jeopardizing quality, efficiency, or product development timelines if they plan ahead. But first, they have to know what to look for.

Anticipate new challenges in remote collaboration.

Face-to-face, quickly assembled meetings and hallway chats aren’t options anymore. That matters when it’s time to make critical decisions. Suddenly, speed and consensus seem impossible, even though they’re crucial to your product development process.

Tools like Zoom, Slack, and shared docs can only help to a certain extent. They remain important communication tools for remote workers. But they can’t keep up with the communication demands for your virtual engineering teams building complex products.

Maintain alignment in team communication and collaboration.

Successful communication among remote engineering teams requires alignment.  Teams need to be able to define, review, and validate requirements in real-time to ensure the right team has the right information at the right time. Critical functionality of the product they’re working on could depend on it. 

Successful collaboration goes beyond a conversation or a simple text edit. It has to be structured, to:  

  • Focus on the product being built.
  • Include context to inform the conversations and decisions being made. 
  • Provide broad visibility into the development process to manage change. 

Four best practices to help engineering teams adapt to remote work.

All this is easier said than done, especially when remote collaboration wasn’t expected and hadn’t been part of a business’ regular product development process.  But Jama Connect customers who already support remote teams in their daily business shared their insights with us. We’ve collected them here to help you.

1. Establish a common definition of success.
Teams need alignment on what they’re building so they don’t waste time. Clarify expectations up front. What do the terms “define,” “build,” and “test” mean, for instance? What does success look like based on feedback loops such as customer interviews and design reviews?

2. Empower better decision making.
Ensure the whole team clearly understands the “why” at the beginning of a project. You’ll equip everyone with what they need to make better decisions. Good decisions require situational awareness, comprehension of impact, and a way to gather input from others – and these all start with the “why.” Clearly defined responsibilities empower those involved to initiate and resolve follow-up questions and issues.

3. Tighten up your traceability.
Certain industries need to demonstrate compliance with regulations. Traceability analysis proves your system holds up under regulatory demands and meets contractual terms. Coverage analysis tightens this process, and helps teams find gaps and understand positive and negative progress. Extend traceability beyond engineering processes to link development and test activities back to the business rationale. 

4. Collaborate with purpose.
Connect everyone on the team to relevant data that’s tied to the work. Don’t make decisions outside the process, such as in documents or emails. This can help speed the decision process, reduce costly rework, provide proof of critical decisions for compliance and ensure teams hit development timelines. 

Want more best practices and tips? Watch a recording of our webinar, “Ask Jama: Best Practices for Remote Collaboration with Jama Connect.