Proven Tips for Remote Engineering Teams

How Communication, Trust & Autonomy Improve Innovation in Your Remote Engineering Team

June 15, 2024
3 mins

I'm not going to talk about the benefits that a company will get from a remote engineering team here. With the experience forming multiple successful remote teams in Sri Lanka over the last 5 years, I will be listing the action items both the companies and the vendors should look for in remote teams to foster innovation. In this article, I will focus on a few aspects - Communication, Trust, and Autonomy.

By default, you get access to Globally-Diverse Skill Sets 🌍

Since you are onboarding an off-shore team, most probably the members will be from different countries, different languages, and different cultures. How they feel about a product will be different. That enables us different perspectives, new ideas, and innovation off the shelf.

But, Are remote engineers, mostly "Do only what you ask" type? 😣

This is one of the key complaints claimed by most of the companies who are engaged in off-shoring in general. Engineers are not proactive, and they tend to do only what they are assigned to do. High-quality engineering will need proactive engineers and designers. Let's explore how we can reach the maximum innovation with the remote teams.

Clear Goals and Communication 🎯💬

Sometimes, companies focus only on the engineering part with the off-shore engineering team and they might miss sharing other valuable information and updates about the product. (Or at least, they think those are not valuable to the engineering team)

It's no harm talking about how investor pitching is going on, new user acquisition strategies, how users are complaining about the pricing, etc with the engineering team. This enables the engineers to think as a whole and come up with new perspectives on the company or product.

Exazyme is one of the Berlin-based bio-engineering AI startups that grew from zero to millions in value within the last two years with the help of our remote engineering teams. One of the key features we saw in this collaboration was the level of communication by the founder.

He shared all the stories starting from investment pitches to private family problems, which made the engineers think like the founder and come up with innovative solutions for the betterment of the product.

Build Trust and Autonomy 🤝🔓

Even though you can't do it on day one, you should start trusting the remote team. When they feel they are not given the proper autonomy, their innovation levels may not come to the optimum level.

We have seen some companies that show reluctance in providing higher responsibilities to remote engineering teams, which might have a different reasoning. However, when engineers are given the autonomy to work, there is a high chance of innovation and leadership. At the same time, this process inherits certain risks. But we all know, we need to take calculated risks to grow faster.

This is an interesting story from one of our existing remote teams. The management team was away for a few weeks during the vacation, providing autonomy to our remote engineers and they were surprised with the level of quality work when they were back.

In Conclusion, I think, having a remote team will have its ingredients of becoming innovative while having its reasons to become non-innovative too. It's up to us, the company management and vendors to identify the correct approach and foster a good culture that promotes creative engineering.

Good Luck!

By Buddhishan Manamperi

Co-CEO, Co-Founder, Fcode Labs