A Gartner a survey of 1,500 businesses, found that just 12 percent felt prepared for the COVID-19 crisis. While this is somewhat understandable given a hundred-year event, it also points to disaster recovery plans that are focused on sustaining access to data, not on maintaining access to people. 

Can’t Backup People

The unprepared 88 percent had no or inadequate remote work plans. In some cases, businesses couldn’t initially support remote workers because employees lacked home internet access.

Redundant storage and content delivery networks were supposed to protect us from disasters. You can backup data, but you can’t have backup people, and when people can’t work in an office…well, we see what happens.

Remote Teams a Business Imperative

Managers that were once opposed to remote work are changing their tunes, in part, because their worst fears of employees slacking off have not materialized. As writer Ernest Hemingway said, “The best way to find out if somebody is trustworthy is to trust them.” Most managers forced to trust employees to work hard while out of sight found that the teams passed the test.

Remote teams are becoming a business imperative, not just to enable local employees to work from home but also to build a geographically distributed team so that regional events don’t stop development. This is especially relevant for software teams. Roadmaps need to be met, and products need to be delivered. A distributed engineering team, connected by the cloud that enables real-time collaboration, can provide a crucial piece of the resilience puzzle.

Distributed Software Engineering Staff Augmentation

Distributed staff augmentation for software engineering teams can be a very efficient way to build resiliency quickly. In this model, a third-party firm recruits, vets, hires, onboards, and manages top-flight engineers in regions of the world where talent is abundant, but opportunities are not. The engineers fold into partner organizations and function as full-time employees. The partner business does not have the risk or overhead of full-time hires (nor does it have to navigate the complexities of foreign payroll, taxes, and local compliance). 

Most natural disasters are regional, and even the COVID-19 virus has had different impacts in different areas. Given the unpredictable future of the virus in an unpredictable economy, distributed engineering is proving to be a valuable component of a workforce strategy that can indeed spread risk, optimize cost, and access-needed capabilities. It provides the flexibility that enables teams to scale up, scale back, and switch priorities in a dynamic environment. 

It also helps that the software engineers that work in distributed engineering teams are remote work veterans and can bring best practices for how remote teams can be more productive, accelerate development, and improve product delivery. 

“Business resilience is the term we use collectively for IT disaster recovery and business continuity,” according to Deloitte. It’s safe to say that in the case of the current crisis, most businesses were not prepared to continue with offices shuttered and an abrupt pivot to all remote work. Maintaining distributed development teams can provide a valuable buffer against this type of disruption, helping teams to keep pace with roadmaps and development goals from anywhere.

To learn more about how engineering leaders are handling the transition to all remote work, watch the June 25 recorded webinar, “Why Go Back (to the office)? CTOs Share Lessons Learned and Future Plans,” where Andela CTO David Blair, Wellio CTO Erik Andrejko, and Vibes VP of Engineering Clarke Retzer had a frank “screenside chat” about what’s working, what’s not, and what’s next in their remote work and product development plans. 

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About the Author

Bill Peatman

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June 16, 2020

Preparing for What’s Next: Distributed Engineering Teams for Business Resilience

Bill Peatman

A Gartner a survey of 1,500 businesses, found that just 12 percent felt prepared for the COVID-19 crisis. While this is somewhat understandable given a hundred-year event, it also points to disaster recovery plans that are focused on sustaining access to data, not on maintaining access to people. 

Can’t Backup People

The unprepared 88 percent had no or inadequate remote work plans. In some cases, businesses couldn’t initially support remote workers because employees lacked home internet access.

Redundant storage and content delivery networks were supposed to protect us from disasters. You can backup data, but you can’t have backup people, and when people can’t work in an office…well, we see what happens.

Remote Teams a Business Imperative

Managers that were once opposed to remote work are changing their tunes, in part, because their worst fears of employees slacking off have not materialized. As writer Ernest Hemingway said, “The best way to find out if somebody is trustworthy is to trust them.” Most managers forced to trust employees to work hard while out of sight found that the teams passed the test.

Remote teams are becoming a business imperative, not just to enable local employees to work from home but also to build a geographically distributed team so that regional events don’t stop development. This is especially relevant for software teams. Roadmaps need to be met, and products need to be delivered. A distributed engineering team, connected by the cloud that enables real-time collaboration, can provide a crucial piece of the resilience puzzle.

Distributed Software Engineering Staff Augmentation

Distributed staff augmentation for software engineering teams can be a very efficient way to build resiliency quickly. In this model, a third-party firm recruits, vets, hires, onboards, and manages top-flight engineers in regions of the world where talent is abundant, but opportunities are not. The engineers fold into partner organizations and function as full-time employees. The partner business does not have the risk or overhead of full-time hires (nor does it have to navigate the complexities of foreign payroll, taxes, and local compliance). 

Most natural disasters are regional, and even the COVID-19 virus has had different impacts in different areas. Given the unpredictable future of the virus in an unpredictable economy, distributed engineering is proving to be a valuable component of a workforce strategy that can indeed spread risk, optimize cost, and access-needed capabilities. It provides the flexibility that enables teams to scale up, scale back, and switch priorities in a dynamic environment. 

It also helps that the software engineers that work in distributed engineering teams are remote work veterans and can bring best practices for how remote teams can be more productive, accelerate development, and improve product delivery. 

“Business resilience is the term we use collectively for IT disaster recovery and business continuity,” according to Deloitte. It’s safe to say that in the case of the current crisis, most businesses were not prepared to continue with offices shuttered and an abrupt pivot to all remote work. Maintaining distributed development teams can provide a valuable buffer against this type of disruption, helping teams to keep pace with roadmaps and development goals from anywhere.

To learn more about how engineering leaders are handling the transition to all remote work, watch the June 25 recorded webinar, “Why Go Back (to the office)? CTOs Share Lessons Learned and Future Plans,” where Andela CTO David Blair, Wellio CTO Erik Andrejko, and Vibes VP of Engineering Clarke Retzer had a frank “screenside chat” about what’s working, what’s not, and what’s next in their remote work and product development plans. 

featured_image
About the Author

Bill Peatman

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