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5 best practices for remote development teams


Managing software developers through the pandemic

Source:  Illustration: Lightcome/Getty Images

Digital capabilities are in the spotlight as the coronavirus pandemic forces businesses, consumers and governments to operate online full time. Software development teams are rising to the challenge -- albeit from home. The disruption caused by this recent pandemic has made it more difficult than ever to manage software development teams in a way that maintains productivity and best practices around DevOps.

It's true that software development teams already use collaboration tools that are tailored for decentralized DevOps processes. But now that daily collaboration is anything but normal, team managers need to revisit the fundamentals. Ask yourself: Does everyone still get the chance to speak during an incident post-mortem? Are your teams still able to clearly track work in progress while working remotely? And are your developers allowed enough time to step away from the webcam, rest and recharge?

And then there are issues with remote technology itself. For instance, stay-at-home orders have forced developers to work exclusively using residential internet connections -- along with anyone else in the house. Slow internet is your worst teammate, so development team managers need to consider the strategies and tooling they can use to mitigate poor network connections and help keep developers online and working together.

In this photo story, five of our expert contributors explain how they've seen the working lifestyle of developers change due to the recent pandemic -- as well as the practices team leaders should implement to maintain productivity in troubling times. For example, IT consultant Clive Longbottom explains how to instill sensible work practices that not only keep developers on target, but also support their mental health. Dev and test consultant Matt Heusser explains how to revamp workflows and model processes after the examples set by high-performance Scrum organizations. And tech journalist Kerry Doyle rounds up some remote-work friendly options for Kanban boards, CI/CD, bug tracking and team management.

Global work has changed, and companies of all types -- from tech giants to neighborhood mom-and-pop shops -- need leadership to face the new normal. Let's take some time to step back from daily development project management tasks and consider how DevOps practices, workflow management and individual developers can -- and must -- adapt to the foreseeable future.

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