The trend of remote work was already gaining momentum when the pandemic moved it into full throttle and revealed the full potential it. Three years after the pandemic first started, hybrid and remote work environments are hitting the big time, with the software industry being one of the most eager adopters of the new structure. The reason is a no-brainer. The single advantage of profiting from the availability of a sophisticated on-demand market already has several top players in the industry making the switch to flexible work. What’s more? Top talent in the whole world is now accessible for a specific project or time duration.
Career site Ladders, in its new study, found that 25% of professional jobs in North America will become remote by the end of 2022 and this number is further projected to only increase this year. Another report by Stack Overflow found that 64% of software developers in North America work remotely at least part of the time, up from 48% in 2019. The report also reported that 84% of developers experience no dip in their productivity if not considerably soars when working remotely. Flexjobs found in another survey in 2021 that 82% of technology professionals trust that remote work is the way ahead now. Another report by Buffer and AngelList in 2021 found that 98% of respondents want to work remotely for at least some time, up from 80% in 2019.
Physical separation at work can create a sense of autonomy and productivity, but at the same time, there’s a higher possibility of misunderstandings, alienation, and greater stress and tension. Ergo, it becomes all the more essential to minimize these problems so that you can make the most of modern working methods.
Now, as we promised in the headline, we are here to help you mitigate this tension when you’re creating the right workflow for your software developers. But before that let’s go through a few pointers you need to bear in mind before we discuss the workflow in detail:
Communicate with as much detail as you can, every step along the way, whether it’s your first meeting with potential candidates or when you delegate the work. The best advantage of communication is that it allows your developers to evaluate whether they have the needed skills for the job. Likewise, also ensure that you know as much as possible before the job begins: find out from your team what they need, the level of work, and the minimum sophistication of technology required. Try to understand the level of work required: from tiny code touch-ups to foundational changes.
This might look like a painstaking effort, but we promise you that it does pay off. For starters, you can always be rest assured that you have the necessary data points to go on if anything were to go wrong. And it is this certainty that the strongest systems are made up of.
Dedicate due attention while drafting the onboarding process: It becomes even more crucial when you are hiring on-demand freelance developers. This is the step where you can create a breathing space between the project and evaluating the skills of your developers. This is where you offer them support, explain the details of the project, and gauge their competencies for the project. Again while this may not seem like much, it pays in due course of time in the quality of work and morale of those involved.
Set Expectations Beforehand
Try to make sure that you clearly agree on work boundaries and prioritization of the tasks involved. As mentioned earlier, communicate as much as you can, ideally before the work begins so that you are on the same page on issues and non-issues that might come up as you work together. Something as simple as miscommunication of work on weekends can become a huge problem going forward. So ensure that you and your new hires are on the same page on expectations and deliverables before you hit the ground running. If time allows, also discuss conflict resolution tactics as well. Invite solutions from them as well if you’re feeling generous.
Avoid the Temptations of Shoehorning
As tempting as it might be, do not fall into the trap of wedging your resources into other off-the-cuff projects that come up without careful evaluation and conversation. Sometimes you’d want to hire certain developers even when you have prior knowledge that they actually might be a terrible fit for the specific context. This doesn’t help anybody. As capable as someone might seem, you need to find people who can deliver in ways you require them to.
The biggest pitfall here is overestimating their adapting abilities and motivation. You need to be cognizant of the fact that change requires huge motivation and time. It’s better to hire an average developer who can deliver on your project than someone brilliant with no understanding of your particular context.
If you just keep track of the above, you’ll be able to avoid a series of bottlenecks in your software development workflow. Some of these might look like this:
- Lack of supervision
- Incohesion because of working in different time zones
- Working on the same files/ folders
- Ensuring goals remain the same and consistent
- Quick Modifications in products/ features
Now as we promised, we are going to take you through an exhaustive guide to create a software development workflow for freelance hires.
Andiamo then, shall we?
Elements of a Software Development Workflow(SDW)
We will now discuss essential elements of a comprehensive workflow and ways to constantly optimize the workflow you create.
Planning the Flow
System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) also known as Software Development Workflow (SDW) is a process for planning, building, testing, and deploying a software application. Planning is one of the most important steps in the process because you also assign roles at this stage.
To successfully plan your workflow, first, you need to take stock of the following:
- Product requirements or scope: It always pays to have an overarching view of the requirements and scope of the project. Check if there are any guidelines you need to stick by.
- Alignment: How does the project connect to the overall mission and vision of your business?
- Schedule: When does the project begin and the related deadlines? Also, check if you have enough bandwidth pertaining to the said deadlines.
- Resource availability and allocation: Are you technically sound to see the project till the end?
- Cost estimation: Try to be as detailed as possible with your estimated costs early on this stage.
- Requirements: Do you have technical wherewithal for the project in terms of software development, workflow tools, platforms, APIs, and so on?
After a fair analysis of the above elements, you can now start designing the flow of the project and decide what the team looks like based on the design. Once you have the broad strokes of the team structure, it’s time to begin hiring freelance software developers for the project.
Hiring the Right Software Developers
It’s imperative that you constantly refine your hiring process. Try and find out the best HR practices in the industry. We’d recommend you start enhancing your hiring process to the last detail. Include a series of assessments and interviews to screen the process and then further get referrals just to be sure. We cannot stress how important hiring the right people is for the success of any project you undertake.
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Create the Right Environment
Simply put, this is where you deploy appropriate tools and design the right environment to allow all your resources to function at their highest capacity. The contents of the environment differ from the project, but the following are the necessary components of a well-functioning software development environment (SDE):
Code Editor and Compiler: This is where your developers write, edit, and save code for the project. Sublime, Atom, and Visual Studio among others are popular code editors and compilers used by several companies.
Command-line Interface (CLI): CLIs are ways your developers interact with a computer program to configure systems, automate tasks, and troubleshoot. Git Bash, TEXTREME, and Powershell are the most commonly used CLIs.
Version Control System: These tools empower developers to manage changes to the source code of their projects. This helps them keep track of the changes made to the source code and collaborate with other developers. Git, Subversion (SVN), and Mercurial are some popular control systems.
Review and Maintenance
Now that your team has created the product, it’s time for beta testing where the product is released to a small group of people to test, track, and fix bugs. It can be time-consuming to detect all the bugs in the product at this stage, especially if your product is complex but it’s vital that you do your due diligence here because it shapes the performance of the product, and the reputation of your business when it’s finally released in the market.
Once you’re confident about your product, you release your software to real users. Most tech giants automate this step by using Application Release Automation (ARA) tools or a continuous deployment model. Following the release of the product, you monitor the product for as long as is required to ensure the bugs are gone and it’s performing well.
Also, don’t forget to…
Establish Security and Payment Procedures
While you’re engaged in product development, ensuring little details of payment and security can seem like a hassle. It’s always prudent to sort out these details before you design your requirements for the project. Establish access controls and install encryption tools to control access to sensitive data. While you’re at it, don’t forget to create a simple but effective payment system for freelance developers. The use of platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, or Paypal is on the rise if you’re looking for suggestions.
Collect Feedback (At the Right Time)
Use the end of the project to garner honest feedback from the developers you have worked with so that you can continue to trim the edges in your software development workflow. Exit interviews are your chance to get the most honest, firsthand feedback from the people who participated in building your project.
The biggest barrier you can avoid while drafting a workflow is to avoid inefficiency. While remote work allows you the benefit of having global, diverse, and kickass talent at your fingertips, it also comes with the challenges of physical separation. But you can overcome these obstructions easily with meticulous planning and effective communication.
We hope that the above guide helps you get started with writing a software development flow unique and fit for your business.