Engaged and happy remote developers aren’t identified or sustained in a vacuum. Engagement of remote developers starts with practices championed from the top of your organization down. Your leadership needs to embrace the merits of a global, diverse workforce and support efforts that attract and retain remote employees.
Most of the best practices that apply to engaging and managing remote workers in general apply equally to engaging remote developers:
- Foster trust and transparency throughout your organization.
- Encourage collaboration and communication across teams and geographies with the right collaboration and productivity tools.
- Stay approachable and make sure remote employees know they can turn to you for advice.
- Develop projects that support employee engagement and productivity around the clock in different time zones.
- Offer team-building and sharing opportunities that involve remote employees.
Like in-house developers, remote developers want to share their knowledge with peers and customers without having to jump through hoops or layers of technology. They want easy access to tools that help them solve problems. Providing a developer engagement solution that enables them easy access to collaborative spaces and unencumbered knowledge transfer will go a long way towards ensuring their engagement.
Online forums and communities are two of the most effective environments for stimulating collaboration and engagement of remote developers.
Developer forums are a place for developers and other members to come together, ask or answer questions, get support from their peers, and express opinions or concerns. Forums are a great collaboration venue for your development team, wherever they’re located, to interact simply.
An online developer community allows the same collaboration and functionality as a developer forum but with typically a little longer implementation time depending on all the functionality necessary. A developer community offers other features, such as blogs, to keep remote developers engaged and collaboration alive.
An online community that’s open 24/7 and accessible from any device truly caters to developers’ desire for knowledge sharing, and to help solve problems, and learn from their peers. Promote an ongoing dialogue among developers with a knowledge base of questions, answers, solutions, and code snippets. Make sure you eliminate redundant questions and tedious, endless threads.
Be open to feedback from remote developers. Encourage them to take ownership by moderating questions and answers in the areas where they have the most experience and knowledge. And look for knowledge management software that centralizes organic knowledge, and makes it easy for developers to find what they’re looking for.
Also important for keeping knowledge sharing and engagement high: Recognize remote developers for their efforts. Gamification in the community is a great way to recognize engagement by topic experts and ongoing contributors and to incentivize developers to take more responsibility (that is, increase their engagement) in the community.
Lastly, don’t forget the pivotal role developer evangelists can play in keeping developer communities informed and knowledge sharing fresh, along with keeping developers (in-house and remote) involved, engaged, and excited about your product.
Want to learn more about engagement and collaboration? Download our ebook, “From Ideation to Innovation: Setting the Stage for Collaboration.”