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How to Manage Time Zone Differences in the Remote Development Teams

The management of time zones of the remote development team can be a challenging task if not done effectively.

Story Highlights
  • Remote working in software development has gained the utmost attention because it gives high flexibility to companies as well as to employees.
  • The physical presence of a developer is no longer a mandatory obligation, that's why businesses prefer to hire mobile app developers from different countries.
  • The management of time zones of the remote development team can be a challenging task if not done effectively.

In the globally connected world, remote work has become a common thing where businesses or companies access talent from any corner of the world and create cross-nation collaborative teams. Remote working is the backbone of the IT industry in which the tech experts just require a computer and a stable internet connection to work anywhere across the globe.

In the last decade, we have witnessed that remote working in software development has gained the utmost attention because it gives high flexibility to companies as well as to employees. Remote hiring and development don’t seem to cease anytime soon. The COVID-19 pandemic also acted as a catalyst and fueled the growth of remote development services in the IT industry. No one knew that the closure of the offices would lead to a completely new way of working i.e. remote development.

The remote development method has a lot of benefits, but it also poses a particular challenge: management of remote developers which are located in different countries and obviously at different time zones. The management of time zones of the remote development team can be a challenging task if not done effectively. It is a key component in working with remote teams, requiring smart techniques for a streamlined, smooth, and effective collaboration for a successful project.

We explore the different methods and key points for your team to work across different time zones without any difficulty.

Considerable key points to work across different time zones with your remote teams

1. Hire dedicated and professional resources

You must have trust in your remotely hire mobile app developers who are working in various time zones. Each employee would have the competency to work on his own with minimal supervision and effectively manage the time. Not every employee has the capability to work remotely and that’s why you must give special attention while curating your remote development team.

You must invest your time in finding and hiring developers who are reliable, professional, and self-motivated, and can self-manage their time and work. They must be able to collaborate with their team members working in different time zones and get the project done.

At Developerperhour, we make sure during hiring that our developers: :

  • Have good communication skills with fluency in English
  • Possess the required aptitude to work in a distributed environment
  • Manage stressful situations wisely
  • Could work independently
  • Manage multiple priorities effectively
  • Take responsibility for completing deliverables before deadlines

2. Engage in agile methodology

The agile methodology makes the remote working quite smooth and the remote teams also prefer this way of working. Remote developers prefer agile development methodology because it helps in improving the team’s efficiency, and performance, improves the client’s satisfaction, and also increases the versatility of the project.

Agile is a great solution if the developers in the team are located in different time zones. Here’s how agile methodology is helpful:

  • The whole project is divided into tasks which are further divided into sprints
  • Regular meetings are conducted by the scrum manager during development sprints. Some of the common meetings are sprint planning, daily scrum, spring review, and retrospective meetings.
  • At DPH, we also use an agile project management tool like JIRA to manage all the sprints and make sure our deliverables are on time.

3. Consistent and clear communication

Advanced technology offers us various communication channels for professional communication. It doesn’t matter anymore where your teammate is located, either at the other corner of the office or another corner of the world; tools like Zoom and Slack, keep you connected through chats, screen sharing, video calls, and 24×7.

Most companies prefer multiple tools such as Zoom, Slack, Asana, etc. for different purposes of communication.

E.g. in asynchronous communication, we have to know who is working on what, and when. Asynchronous communication is required to ensure the project runs smoothly, mention and address roadblocks, and timely delivery. For this, we prefer Asana, Slack, and any other tool that the client also suggests.

For real-time, synchronous communication, Zoom is a reliable tool. It gives you a plethora of options while doing face-to-face video meetings such as screen sharing, access to others’ screens, etc.

4. Ensure to have overlap time

To start with, you must note down the working hours or the available time of each of the developers of your team. If there is a minor time zone difference, then there will be no such issue, but if the difference is huge, you can always find a couple of hours of overlapping to keep everyone in sync. For instance, if your remote development team is located in Asia, and the other part is in the UK, then there are a few hours when both teams are available. The team in the UK would be available from 12 PM to 2 PM, while the team in India would be available from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. The UK developers will explain their tasks for the day, and the Indian developers will explain what they did during the day.

At DPH, we take a further step toward proper communication, and our developers are available at the client team’s preferred time. However, we always prefer to have overlapping hours, so that all the team members can communicate in their comfortable time.

5. Have a shared calendar

If your team members are working from different countries worldwide, their holidays would be different. For better transparency and synchronization, you must use a shared calendar like Google Calendar. It will help you synchronize the meeting schedules with your daily tasks.

On a shared calendar, every team would be able to put vacations, national holidays, and other important festive holidays on which they wouldn’t be working. As you have the calendar at your disposal, you won’t find it strange why a developer hasn’t given any update in the last two days.

6. Proper planning and regular meetings

Whether it is a water-cooler conversation for team bonding, or you want to schedule a formal meeting, you must try to select the hours that seem sensible for all the team members. It may not be always possible, however, you have to find the right hours for the meeting considering the international schedules. This will make the team members feel included and that their time and schedule are also being respected.

It may be tricky for certain time zones to schedule a meeting. For instance, if you are based in the USA and your remote team is located in Asia, it would be slightly difficult to find a time that fits into everyone’s schedule.

If you have to plan a virtual meeting for people on your team late at night or early in the morning, try to compensate for the inconvenience in some way to demonstrate that you care about your colleagues.

7. Use project management tools

With technological advancement and project management tools, team members are no longer required to be working from the same workplace. There are a plethora of tools available like instant messaging apps, task management software, ticket creators, progress trackers, etc. These tools will keep all the tasks and communication synchronized among your team members.

These tools will not just allow people to work on the same project from different countries or different time zones, they also allow all the team members to stay on the same page regarding the different aspects of the projects.

Benefits of effectively managing remote teams with time zone differences

There are a lot of advantages to hiring remote developers. To enjoy these benefits and leverage the full potential of your development team, overcoming the barrier of time zone differences is a must. The benefits of effectively managing your remote teams would be:

  • Increased productivity

With remote teams working together, they bring their experiences and expertise to the table. Thus, they all bring their understanding of the subject and excellence they can deliver adding to the productivity of the team as a unit.

  • Enhanced communication

With properly organized meetings, there will be a streamlined flow of information which will result in fewer or no misinterpretations, expedite interactions, and avoid unnecessary delays.

  • Better work-life balance

A proper scheduling of tasks and meetings gives a perfect work-life balance to the employees as they don’t have to work in off-timings. They can maintain a good balance between their personal and professional obligations.

  • Positive motivation

With high diversity and inclusion, employees feel motivated for the work and interact with their colleagues despite being located thousands of miles apart.

  • Global expertise

Employing remote workers from several hemispheres allows businesses to tap into a diverse range of global perspectives and skill sets, enabling an inventive and creative workplace.

In conclusion, in today’s time, the physical presence of a developer is no longer a mandatory obligation, that’s why businesses prefer to hire mobile app developers from different countries with high proficiency and low development cost. At DPH, we have a dedicated team of remote developers who have extensive experience working remotely for clients while giving proper updates, finishing tasks within deadlines, and providing a streamlined flow of communication.

The developers are well-versed in working in different time zones and can adjust to your work pattern easily.


Ethan Lewis

Ethan Lewis is a passionate writer who loves to explore new technologies. He has a good amount readership that follows him for his exceptional work in AI, Crypto, Gaming, Fintech, and Cyber Security. He is always excited to pour the technology into his words.
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